Digital Dads: Targeting Fathers in the Online Space

Dads on Social

With Father’s Day right around the corner, many brands are busy launching dad-specific digital promotions. Pinterest is helping brands promote products through Father’s Day wish lists and on Facebook we’ve spotted many brands supporting gift-related content with ad dollars. Of course, these promotions are all geared toward gift givers, not dads. But that brings up an important point.

Between mommy bloggers, mobile moms and Facebook fanatics, mothers seem to get all of the attention in the online space. So where does that leave dads and the online relationships that brands foster with them? To get a better idea of what dads are doing digitally, we went both quantitative and qualitative. First, we dove into the data to check out dads’ roles at home and online. We also talked to with blogger and father Fred Goodall to get his thoughts on what brands are doing to build these relationships.

The Stats: Dads in the Online Space

Before we get to the social media component, it’s important to note that the father’s role within the family is changing. Overall, fathers are participating more in childcare and household chores, and with those tasks come something that every brand cares about: purchasing power. As noted in the study below form Walker Communications, these days fathers evenly share the grocery shopping responsibilities within the home.

143746 A recent study from Edelman and the Parenting group looks at what dads are doing on social networks. The most popular activity seems to be posting family-related status updates, which 27% of online dads do daily. They’re also sharing visual content fairly regularly – 43.5% post family-related photos at least weekly, and 25.3% post family-related videos at least weekly.

Social Media Dads

What Do Dads Want from Brands Online?

Given the data, we know that dads are using social networks to share family-related content, and that they are responsible for a growing percentage of household purchasing decisions. There’s a big opportunity to connect with this audience through social media, but thanks to a few dad ad flubs, we know that this needs to be executed carefully. To get an idea of what dads want from brands on social media, we talked with Fred Goodall, owner and blogger at Mocha Dad, a website that discusses parenting from a father’s perspective.

KL: Are there any brands out there that you think are doing an especially good job of reaching dads in the online space?

FG: Brands are starting to do a better job of marketing to dads. They’re starting to realize that dads are involved in household affairs, raising children, and purchasing decisions. I’ve seen positive ads from Tide, Dove Men + Care, and a few car brands. However, brands still have a lot of work to do in their marketing efforts to maintain this traction.

KL: What’s your favorite social network and why?

FG: My favorite social network is Twitter. I enjoy the engagement and I’ve made many strong connections. Twitter is a place where I can have real conversations and learn from other people. It is one of my main sources for news. I also like Instagram because I’m a visual person and photography is one of my passions.

KL: As a blogger, I’m sure you get a lot of pitches. What makes you consider a pitch?

FG: The pitch has to be a good fit for my blog. I receive many pitches that are totally wrong. It’s obvious that the sender has never read my blog and doesn’t understand my point of view. I can’t count the times the I’ve received pitches with the salutation: Dear Mommy Blogger. I immediately deleted these pitches or I have a little fun with the sender. I’ll consider a pitch if it suits my lifestyle, appeals to my audience, and has other tangible benefits.

KL: I put together a Help A Report Out Request asking about targeting dads online and someone responded, “Men are too busy getting things done to be interested in the female world of social networking. It’s a lost cause to target them. They’re not there.” How would you respond?

FG: While I agree that social networking skews towards females, I disagree that it’s a lost cause to target men on social media. I’m on social networking sites several times throughout the day and I interact with many of my male friends and colleagues. If companies want to engage to men on social media, they have to have an appealing value proposition. Brands have to figure out how to cut through the noise and make a genuine connection. Offering a coupon or discount code is not sufficient. They have to make the message relevant to men’s lifestyles.


You can follow Fred Goodall on Twitter at @mochadad. While you’re there, let us know: which brands have you seen targeting dads online? What’s working?