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Apr 26, 2004

New Study Data: Moms Spend 13.2 Hours Per Week Online (vs 7.6 Watching TV)

SUMMARY: Whoa -- according to a research study funded by Disney Online, moms who use the Internet now spend almost 74% more time online in a typical week than they do watching TV.

That's 13.2 online hours per week (including email) versus 7.6 hours watching TV. So if you're trying to reach America's mothers, the conclusion is obvious.

Here's some more data from Disney's study, including what types of creative work the best:
"What Moms want [online] is information," says Ken Goldstein, EVP and Managing Director of Disney Online.

Give them the information they're looking for and you're tapping into an enormous market: there are 31 million moms online, and they're spending more time online than they are watching TV (13.2 hours/week vs. 7.6 hours/week).

Goldstein gave us more Mom statistics, and shared what he has learned from a quantitative study conducted through a nationwide KidzEyes panel from C&R Research (1,823 mothers of one or more kids ages 2 - 14 years, from heavy Internet users to non-techie Moms) in July and October 2003.

He also talked to us about what he's learned from Disney's own marketing to Moms online.

More online mom US stats

--Average age of online moms: 38
--Median income: $55,000
--Married: 83%
--Working: 61%
--College educated: 70%

84% of Moms surveyed said the Internet was the form of media they would miss most if they had to give one up. The next closest was TV at 74%.

90% of Moms surveyed want to simplify their lives and the Internet helps them do that.

93% of Moms said the Internet provides up-to-date information.

87% see the Internet as a time-saving device.

Top categories of sites to visit:
--Food and cooking

Top categories of purchases online:
--Books and magazines
--Clothing and apparel
--Gift items
--Health related items

Eliminate hype and ultra-creative ads

Moms don't want to see how clever you are, Goldstein says. "It's not Superbowl advertising. It's clear messages, features and benefits, and more about information than entertainment."

But no fluff doesn't mean you have to be boring. Language should be informative, fun and creative (but not condescending).

For example, content currently on the site reads: "Hosting an egg hunt or decorating party? Find everything you need for an egg-cellent party."

"We always have to try to be witty because you have to break through the noise, but if you spend all your time trying to do that, you're losing your message," Goldstein says.

To be sure he's hitting the right chord, he hires lots of Moms to work on the Disney sites and newsletters, including the Director of Product Development for, the Editor in Chief for, and many of the producers and editors.

"There's a built-in filter," he says. They can look at the content and say, "We wouldn't want to get this, so why would we be sending this?"

Market in conjunction with holidays

Moms respond well to "magic times of year," particularly Halloween, Valentine's Day, and April Fool's Day.

"It's a special time, a time to be silly. We like to say that April Fools is the FamilyFun Superbowl," Goldstein says. (For men, he says, the magic time is the Superbowl and March Madness.)

Goldstein makes sure he uses the words April Fools in the subject line of his email newsletters that go out just before April 1. Two examples:

--The FamilyFun Weekender
Sent on Thursdays to mothers "terrified of the weekend ahead with their kids" and offering fun crafts and activities they can do using things around the house, the subject line this year read: April Fools' Dinner, Fluffy Lamb Craft & More Weekend Fun!

--FamilyFunRecipe News
Sent Tuesdays, offering "fun things they can do with what's in the refrigerator that kids can help with," this year's subject line read: April Fools' Tricks & Treats
(link to sample newsletters below)

Tips on email subject lines

"Your customer is smart enough to know that if you communicate frequently you have things to sell," Goldstein says.

If you put your sales pitch front and center, your open rate will go down -- and unsubs will go up. Goldstein's team crafts subject lines with the understanding that headline writing is an art, putting time into it instead of "slapping it on at the end."

"The difference between a great direct marketer and a bad direct marketer is the marketer who understands that," he says.

Goldstein carefully monitors open rates to ensure that his subject lines are as effective as possible. "If I don't see an open rate of 20% I go down to the marketing department and say, Did you guys actually think about this? And if I see an open rate of more than 35% I say, Wow, you guys are good."

His newsletters have seen open rates as high as 50%, and consistently gets over 20% (pretty significant, considering the mailing list is in the seven figures).

Useful link related to this article:

Here are some samples of Disney newsletters:
See Also:

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