MTV Networks’ three-year-old parent-aimed social network ParentsConnect.com reached a traffic zenith in June, reaching 1.8 million unique users, per comScore, an increase of 53 percent versus last year.
Executives from Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group, which manages ParentsConnect, attributes the traffic surge to a recently launched editorial series of ‘bootcamps’--which have been attracting new users and advertisers.
On Aug. 3, the site rolled out its latest bootcamp, which are typically month-long service-oriented guides centered around particular tasks or goals. This month ParentsConnect.com is featuring a Brain Builder bootcamp, centered on helping kids keep their minds sharp during the non-school summer months. That bootcamp is being sponsored by General Mills' Toaster Strudel, while recent bootcamps have been sponsored by Huggies® Pull-Ups and SunnyD.
The bootcamp concept is the brain child of Tanya Van Court, ParentsConnect’s senior vp and general manager. Last October Van Court enrolled in a local fitness bootcamp to lose post-pregnancy weight. “I thought, this is so fantastic, I need this in every aspect of my life,” she said. The site began testing the bootcamp concept the following month before rolling it out monthly starting in April of this year. “For parents that are struggling with other aspects of their lives, these bootcamps make total sense for us with who they are as moms.”
According to Nelson Boyce, senior vp of online ad sales, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group, advertisers are drawn to the ParentsConnect bootcamps because they allow them to tap into user-generated content that is structured and monitored (expert ‘trainers’ assist users who sign up for various bootcamps. “Because its ‘led-UGC,’ it works for brands,” he said. “It’s really around a specific task, which keeps its fresh. There is a reason to come back and tell other people about the content. Outside of the home page its the site’s largest source of traffic.”
Next month, ParentsConnect is planning to launch makeover-themed bootcamp. That one will be focused less on child care and more on mom, an audience the site is looking to serve more personally going forward.
According to Van Court, that new focus is already visible in the site’s just launched back-to-school content, which is being sponsored by apparel company H&M. “As parents we all know our own happiness is really important,” she said. “And once your kids go back to school the question often becomes, ‘how do I get myself together?’ Parents concerns often get lost.”
Some of those concerns are addressed in the site’s new back to school section, which also features an H&M sweepstakes. Later this year, ParentsConnect will introduce more parent-specific fare, said Van Cort such as sections covering health, beauty and travel.