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Targeting Dads Online

  |  April 16, 2009   |  Comments

Move over mommies; the dads have something to say, and there's a whole world of consumers out there eager to hear it.

It's a good time to be targeting Moms online. Not only are communities like UrbanBaby.com and Facebook's Circle of Moms making it easy for advertisers to connect with mothers through social media, but also mommy bloggers -- and the engaging and popular site content they produce -- are the toast of the Web.

Both "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Today Show" recently featured mommy bloggers, among them the writer of Dooce. It's one of the Web's most popular personal and mommy blogs with almost five million monthly page views. Meanwhile, advertisers like State Farm, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Wal-Mart have all shown an interest in mommy blogger content in an effort to connect with mothers and give their brands a "real voice."

But what of all of the fathers out there who have their own parenting stories to share, and the advertisers who want to reach this educated, tech-savvy, and financially-sound consumer set? They're out there. Welcome to the world of daddy bloggers.

The traditional approach to targeting male consumers online goes something like this: financial sites for older males, gaming sites for the younger ones. Video has emerged as another channel to connect with male consumers through sites like Break.com, which last year launched the Break Men's Ad Network. Daddy blogs offer a little of everything, typically covering parenting, the economy, politics, technology, and gadgets.

For an example of a daddy blog done right, just visit Dad Gone Mad, named Best Daddy Blog in the 2006 Best of Blogs awards. Author Danny Evans is funny and endearing, as proven by his 70,000 monthly page views. Advertising on Dad Gone Mad is sold by Federated Media Publishing, which also represents DadCentric, featuring posts from numerous blogging dads about gaming and gear, sports, music, and the occasional Kid Stuff, and Laid-Off Dad, which shares amusing anecdotes on such subjects as going gray and the virtues of a "good steam" at the gym.

Despite its name, blog advertising network BlogHer has its share of daddy blogs to offer advertisers as well, including Rice Daddies -- manned by over a dozen different male bloggers of Asian decent - and Rebel Dad -- with its biting bite-sized posts on things like how fathers are portrayed in the media and stay-at-home-dads. These blogs maintain more of a parental focus and are contextually well suited to advertisers with kid-oriented products to sell; if DadGear did an ad campaign, this is where it might place ads for its manly diaper totes.

Not to be overlooked, Blogads has some daddy bloggers of its own and has even honored them with their own mini ad network. Dad Ads: The Dad Blog Network is currently comprised of three sites: Thingamababy, the content which is more practical than poetic, delivering not musings on parenthood but reviews of products for babies and kids; Daddy Drama, the hip dad's look at cool products and baby gear; and Daddy Types, which dispenses hilarious advice for new dads and shares experiences like an encounter with a port-a-potty changing station during the White House Easter Egg Roll. Traffic varies dramatically from site to site, but each has something unique and valuable to offer advertisers who want to connect with active and engaged dads on the Web.

Just in case media buyers for tech brands are concerned about posts straying too far off their desired topic, there are also blogs like GeekDad, part of "Wired" magazine. The content here ranges from tactical Internet pants to robots and LEGO, with contributions from a handful of dads (and even a couple of moms).

Rubbing shoulders with such brands as Canon, Comcast, Boden, The Land of Nod, and Zappos, you'll be in good company with a daddy blogger advertising campaign that incorporates any of these sites. Move over mommies; the dads have something to say, and there's a whole world of consumers out there eager to hear it.


Tessa Wegert

Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.

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