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Microsoft Research: Target Young Men Online, But Know Their (Changing) Habits

Microsoft builds a strong case for advertisers to target young fathers and “pre-family men” (bachelors). MS revealed some commissioned research at—of all places—the iMedia iMoms Summit. “Why present research about men at a moms’ conference?” wrote Microsoft’s Natasha Hritzuk. Because men’s buying and online habits are on the rise, catching up with those of women and exceeding them in a few categories.

Microsoft’s Stacy Elliott presented a three -part study about men that the company commissioned through Ipsos Media CT. The study is called “Pre-Family Men and Young Dads: Their Priorities, Media Experience and Purchasing Power,” and sets out to discover the actual (versus stereotypical) behavior of young men, including:

  • “Young Dads,” which MS classified as “25 to 40 year-old men who have children under the age of six”
  • “Pre-Family Men,” who are 18 to 34-year-olds who are “just dipping their toes into adulthood”

The research reveals that young fathers spend $400 a month on media–$100 more than young moms. They share advice with friends and family about CPG products (54%) and 81% share advice about tech products. And they use social networking to communicate with others (73%), over Facebook and voice-over-internet (VoIP) like Skype.

These findings are is strongly in line with findings by Edelman and The Parenting Group, reported earlier this month by eMarketer.The study showed that 42% of new American fathers on socieal networks write family-related status updates daily, and 56% post family photos a few times a week, while 21% post family-related videos. And interestingly, 70% identify themselves as the parent who grocery shops and makes household purchasing decisions.

Their pre-family counterparts spend $350 per month on media–$60 more than pre-family women. About 72% give advice to their friends and family about tech products, and 50% claim to be influenced by online advertising, and another 44% by online search results. Finally, they spend 10+ hours a day multitasking between their PCs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. Four places to reach them (which practically demands a multichannel, cross-media approach).

As Hritzuk summarizes, “[The] American man is planning his future and his career: he’s saving, he’s getting married and if he doesn’t already have children, he is likely considering them. He’s grocery shopping, co-parenting, changing diapers and cooking his share of family meals.”

The short story is that young men are a largely untapped market for CPG and financial services (on top of the usual sure bets of automobiles, gaming and beer).

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