Is social stressing moms out?

Many millennial women are feeling pressure to be perfect, plus other insights from a new study.

As much as brands may be capturing Canadian moms’ attention on social media, they may also be stressing them out.

In a new study from BabyCenter, 68% of Canadian moms say that social media causes additional stress in their lives, up from only 43% last year. Concerns about being the “perfect mom” are rising, the study says, with 71% saying they feel pressured to have a successful career and an “ideal family.”

That might be prompting millennial moms, in particular, to take a break from Facebook. Total minutes spent on the site dropped 18% this year, or a total of 1.5 million minutes lost, according to BabyCenter, which used survey results from 1,117 mothers with young children, expectant mothers and women trying to conceive (including one-on-one interviews), along with third-party statistics. However, total minutes on Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn were all up year-over-year, so moms aren’t disconnecting from social entirely.

The study, aptly called “Perception vs. Reality: Exploring the Disconnect Between Moms and Marketers,” suggests that 60% of moms say they want brands to portray them realistically but only 15% think that’s already the case. In addition, 80% say it’s important for brands to accurately reflect parenting today.

Most moms would like to see their self-described realities portrayed more by advertisers. While 69% describe themselves as busy, only 38% believe brands portray them that way. Meanwhile, 45% think of themselves as emotional, but only 21% think ads portray them that way. Other self-described traits not represented in ads include being anxious (28% self-described vs. 13% brand portrayal); confident (36% self-described vs. 54% brand portrayal); beautiful (26% self-described vs. 61% brand portrayal); and fit (11% self-described vs. 40% brand portrayal).

Despite the negativity associated with social, Canadian moms still rely on crowd-sourced opinions online, according to the study. A majority (92%) say that online product reviews are “somewhat” or “very influential” on buying decisions, up from 88% last year. Smartphone use while shopping is also up, with 84% saying they’ve done so this year, compared with 74% last year. Those who used their phones searched for or read product reviews (49%, up from 34%); searched for better prices elsewhere (48%, up from 33%); searched for or downloaded mobile coupons (38%, up from 28%); or made online purchases of products seen in store (20%, up from 8%).

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