The New Baby Boom

Surf the Web’s gossip columns, pick up the lifestyle section of a national newspaper, or switch on the entertainment news, and you’ll see there’s a new trend underway: pregnancy. This year more than perhaps any other, being “with child” is all the rage, in large part due to a slew of high-profile celebrities who have recently given — or are about to give — birth.

According to recent research, there are currently about 482 births per hour in the United States. BabyZone reported in 2005 the birth rate was higher than it had been in 30 years. The opportunity to target pregnant women and new moms has always existed through women’s portals and ad network channels offering pregnancy and parenting content. Recently, though, these opportunities seem to have, well, reproduced.

As I’m expecting a child of my own this summer, I’ve been acutely aware of just how prominent the topic of pregnancy and parenthood has become online. In blogs, message forums, and online magazines, women (and men) are busily generating content based on their experiences and consuming those of experts and their peers.

Pregnancy, Parenting, and Blogs

Blogads, an ad network specializing in blogs, boasts over 60 blogs covering pregnancy- and parenting-related subjects in its “Baby and Parenting” channel. Much of these sites’ appeal to media buyers is rooted in the propensity of moms and moms-to-be to influence others.

A Blogads survey of blog-reading moms conducted in March found a third of this audience shares its thoughts about baby-related subjects with one to three others in an average week. Friends rely on them to make recommendations on just about everything, including parenting, movies, food, and music.

The survey also provides further insight into the nature of the average mom blog reader, as well as the popularity of this blog type. She’s 29, has an annual household income of $70,000, and reads five blogs a day for four hours each week. Nearly half of all these moms have their own blogs, and 57 percent leave comments on blogs they read.

“We’re seeing lots of parenting blogs apply to join Blogads, so this time next year my bet is we’ll have 150 blogs doing 5 million impressions a month,” says Blogads founder Henry Copeland.

A Network of New Moms

Scheduled to launch on June 15 is new social networking site NewBaby.com. It will focus specifically on the “attitude, energy and change associated with motherhood” and offer numerous advertising opportunities, including placements on its community entry pages and message boards. Category sponsorships will be up for grabs in such site sections as Consumer Goods and Travel, and additional marketing opportunities are slated to comprise coupons and sampling, and customized reader surveys.

“Our marketing opportunities, specifically surrounding our channel sponsorships, will allow marketers to hyper-segment their messages by targeting specific interests of the moms, exact life stage, and age of the baby,” adds NewBaby CEO Bob Sullivan. Given the current interest in this subject matter, I expect the site will grow quite quickly.

What About Dads?

Let’s not overlook this closely related demographic, equally appealing for many marketers of products designed to improve this phase of life. Plenty of opportunities to target active and engaged dads exist online as well. Next month, Blogads will add to its roster a network of blogs written by dads that will include DaddyTypes.com, “the weblog for new dads.” The blog is rife with humorous and informative quips about everything from pregnancy to birth and baby gear (something I’ve learned many dads take as seriously as the purchase of a new car).

Given the renewed excitement surrounding pregnancy and parenthood, those interested in targeting new and expecting moms and dads would be wise to look to media placements on some of these highly interactive and influential properties. To those of you who are expecting new arrivals of your own, enjoy yourselves. Unlike the gestation period of the other variety, there’s no telling how long this trend will last.

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