In the world of Facebook marketing, dads are often forgotten. This may be due to the fact that women are the dominant users when it comes to Facebook. According to the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of moms use Facebook, while 66 percent of dads are on the platform. While there are fewer dads on Facebook, with the right technique, it can be an effective platform for marketing to dads.
How dads use Facebook
When marketing to any demographic, it is important to do your research. According to a study conducted by the State of the American Mom: Marketing to Moms Coalition, when dads use Facebook, they generally visit the site only once or twice per day. Research shows that the predominant purpose for these site visits is to update about family life, but they are also somewhat inclined to re-post jokes or topics of interest.
Dads are just as likely as moms to pose a parenting question to their online networks, with 31 percent of parents reporting that they have done so in the last 30 days. However, when it comes to receiving social or emotional support from their online networks about a parenting issue, only 28 percent of fathers report receiving the support compared to 50 percent of women.
The modern dad
It is important to note that as parents balance work and family, the modern roles of mothers and fathers are converging. It is now becoming more and more common to see fathers taking on more of the housework and child care role, and more mothers are working outside of the home. A study by Yahoo found that of 2,400 U.S. men ages 18 to 64 surveyed, more than half now identify themselves as the primary grocery shoppers in their households. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of fathers who are at home with their children for any reason has nearly doubled since 1989, when 1.1 million were in this category. It reached its highest point—2.2 million—in 2010, just after the official end of the recession. The times are changing and marketing must follow.
A cautionary tale: Huggies made the mistake of stereotyping dads as childcare numbskulls. They built a Facebook campaign around women testing out Huggies with their incompetent husbands for 5 days and sharing their stories. Needless to say, after one year of social media controversy and backlash from fathers, Huggies has finally come from labeling dads as incompetent to presenting them as extremely qualified parents.
How to Use Facebook to Target Parents
Facebook-promoted posts makes getting your message in front of moms and dads pretty simple, based on their broad category targeting application for parents. The focus of your promoted posts should be on the content. Consider what content you’ve created that would resonate best with dads on Facebook. Because at the end of the day, if your content isn’t interesting or relevant to parents on Facebook, it doesn’t matter what targeting you include -- they won’t be compelled to click on your post.
Interest targeting is a great way to make sure that you are marketing your product to the right consumers. If you have bought an ad on Facebook before you are familiar with precise interests ability, simply type in an interest related to your product or service, and out comes audience size based on interested parties.
Another method to consider when targeting parents on Facebook is through behavioral targeting. This segment of targeting captures an audience that is taking an action that identifies them as a parent. This could be through the purchase of kid products, baby products, children’s apparel or toys. Another option is to layer on Household composition targeting to new parents who recently had a child, or if they have young adults living in the home. The targeting for "all parents" can be broken down to a much more granular level, segmenting it out to age of child in the household to expectant parents.
Marketing to moms has even more detailed targeting options, with marketers having the ability to target different types of moms, e.g., fit moms, big-city moms, moms of grade school kids, etc.
There you have it -- when marketing to dads on Facebook, make sure to research their interests and maybe crack a few jokes. Ask yourself: if you were a father, why would you use Facebook? Then take your ideas and run with them.