The Data Digest: Profiling Digital Dads

One of the responsibilities of my role includes analyzing data in complex ways to help our clients understand how their target groups behave and if there are more relevant ways to segment them based on the results. However, sometimes it just makes sense to take a step back and look at some basic demographic profiles as a starting point for further analysis. We developed a new deliverable that we call Demographic Overview, and we kicked off the series with digital dads, followed by digital moms, and these will soon be complemented with digital natives and digital Seniors.

So why is it important for companies to look at dads? Forrester’s Technographics® data shows that s lightly more than one-third of US online men ages 18 to 50 are parents of a child younger than 18 living with them. Companies need to understand how the digital profile of dads differs from non-dads, as their behaviors influence the tech behaviors of their kids.

Some of our findings include that in general, dads are more likely to use the Internet as a resource, while non-dads are more active in entertainment-focused activities such as social networking. But dads know how to use social media to get their point across: 72% of dads who regularly engage in social activities have posted a review of a product or service on Twitter in the past 12 months, as compared with only 57% of non-dads.

Marketers should target dads for youth-related technology products like game consoles, mobiles, or tablets. The iPad is a great example: With its wide range of children’s apps and children’s books, it has become a true family device, not just a personal device.


Potentially Misleading Infographic

Having recently read a Pew Research report on Twitter usage ( I couldn't help but notice the eye-popping 72% figure in the infographic. Upon quick glance, it seems hard to believe. In fact, with Pew Internet showing that just 13% of U.S. adults use Twitter, a headline of "72% of dads have posted a review of a product on Twitter" seems hard to stomach. I see, though, that the figure doesn't, in fact, refer to all dads, as the headline subtley suggests; rather, it refers only to the 20% of dads (587 out of 2.917) who engage in any online social activities. Rebased, the "true" finding is that 14.5% of dads post product reviews on Twitter, much more in keeping with the overall population estimate of Twitter users from Pew. I just think that the headline, while provocative from a publicity standpoint, can lead certain readers astray if they are not paying keen attention to the details of how you derived the statistic.

The devil is in the detail

thanks for your response. You are absolutely right. This graphic was taken from a larger graphic, and without the introduction by other information people could misunderstand the context. I hoped that people would get this nuance by adding the base to the graphic. I also now made it more clear in the text.

This actually leads to another interesting discussion that we had on this blog and in our community about infographics and if/how they can help tell a story:

Thanks again for your response, I'll take your comment to heart and be more specific in the future.
Best regards,

Interesting Study

Coming from a household of an older generation, it was a shocker to see the Twitter statistic about dads tweeting their reviews. Only because my dad personally although orders online, wouldn't have a clue what Twitter is. For someone who works with a company that relies on the internet as its main purchasing platform, this is great news to see that dad's make many of the purchasing decisions on the fly, without waiting for the funds to be available. However I do see this relates mainly to just digital gadgets for their family rather than a broad range of products and services. It would be interesting to know the purchasing statistics for things like luxury health services, household needs, and travel products and services. Thanks for the useful marketing information though.