EasyPeasy's Digital Awareness Campaigns: Connecting with Millennial Parents

Read time: 6 mins
Creating a nurturing learning environment for young children is crucial, and as an early years professional, you understand its significance. However, supporting parents and carers can be challenging due to various barriers they face, including limited time, transportation, awareness, or confidence. With each family having unique lifestyles and routines, accessing services and support becomes even more complex. Additionally, as the next generation becomes parents, their information-seeking and support-seeking methods evolve. Research has long revealed that millennial parents are more easily reached through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, over traditional off-line channels.

‍EasyPeasy: A Brief Overview
For those unfamiliar, EasyPeasy is an app-based parenting programme designed specifically for parents and carers of children aged birth to five. It offers activity ideas and guidance from a diverse and inclusive community of experts and peers.

Over the years, EasyPeasy has collaborated with over 30 local authorities and hundreds of thousands of families nationwide to enhance the Home Learning Environment (HLE) and close the gap in children's school readiness. Digital interventions have increasingly gained recognition as valuable complements to face-to-face support in professional settings. However, despite the clear benefits of a local digital service, our local partners still encounter barriers in raising awareness and encouraging uptake among harder-to-reach families on the ground. At EasyPeasy, we have been focusing on addressing this challenge by actively listening to parents, carers, and practitioners within our community and co-designing new solutions.

A lady in a yellow top and black jean is drinking a cup of tea and looking at her mobile phone while sitting on her sofa.

Reaching Families Beyond Traditional Channels
Over the past year, we have conducted experiments using digital campaigns on Facebook and Instagram with the goal being to raise awareness of the free local EasyPeasy offers provided by Local Authorities to their communities. These experiments involved geographical and audience targeting to specifically reach those families that are harder to engage.

As new generations enter parenthood, their information consumption and advice-seeking behaviours change. Our research and experiments have shown that millennial parents are often more likely to discover EasyPeasy via social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, rather than physically visiting children's centres or being referred to EasyPeasy directly by early years staff. By adapting and creating digital awareness campaigns, we are successfully reaching and benefiting more parents and children.

A young black family is pictured with the mother holding a baby and staring loving at the child, the father on the left of the image is looking at them both everyone has a smile on their face

Promoting Inclusivity and Engagement
Our digital campaigns include a direct call-to-action, inviting parents to sign up for the full, free, localised EasyPeasy offer made possible by their Local Authority. In addition, we ensure that our campaigns are inclusive through featuring images of a diverse range of family forms from single parents, to LGBTQ families, and families from different ethnic backgrounds. This approach allows us to connect with families from all walks of life as well as giving us the opportunity to highlight the diversity of the EasyPeasy peer-to-peer community that they will find through the app.

Introducing the Awareness & Reach Support Package
After collaborating with the DFE and Foundation partners on pilot projects last year, we are delighted to have developed a new tool, the Awareness & Reach Support package, to support our Local Authority partners to reach the widest range of families in their communities. By designing and running geographically targeted digital campaigns managed by our dedicated EasyPeasy account managers, we can connect with families on a local level, reaching out to those who may not have sought support otherwise. In each of our LA partnerships, we can work together at the local level to focus on different user groups - for example, fathers, young parents, parents with children with SEND - and tailor our strategies accordingly.

Discovering EasyPeasy: Local Cohort Insights
Let's take a closer look at two local cohorts and explore how parents discovered EasyPeasy. In one partnership, the data indicates that a significant amount of awareness and registration activities originated from "Nursery/primary schools" and "Children centres." Practitioners used physical resource packs that we provide, including banners, posters, and flyers, and distributed them within their settings. They also incorporated EasyPeasy activities into lesson planning and stay-and-play sessions while actively engaging with parents. "Facebook/Instagram" ranked third in terms of digital campaign impact. Other channels reflect referrals to EasyPeasy through additional avenues, such as midwifery and health visiting teams during home visits.

This show a horizontal bar chart showing where people have hear about EasyPeasy from, the top 3 responses were Children's centre, Nursery/primary School and Facebook/ Instagram as

Establishing a Strong Foundation for Early Success
In another local EasyPeasy cohort from a different partnership, the data highlights a significantly higher proportion of parents discovering EasyPeasy through digital Facebook and Instagram campaigns compared to on-the-ground awareness efforts. This underscores the importance of reaching families through multiple channels to optimise uptake. We recognise that in some of our local partnerships, practitioner groups face significant time constraints due to training requirements, Ofsted inspections, or other demands on workforce capacity. This limits their ability to drive awareness and encourage uptake of EasyPeasy. These scenarios are where digital awareness-raising tools prove invaluable.

This is another bar graph showing the imoact of running a an impact and reach campaing with EasyPeasy, the installs from Facebook/Instgram ad is now over 50% of all registrations  4 times more than any other route.

By actively listening and responding to our users, including both parents and early years professionals, we are working towards integrating digital and offline strategies for comprehensive awareness-raising. Our aim is to maximise our collective impact in improving the Home Learning Environment and early years development for all families, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Through continued collaboration and dedication, we can foster a sense of community actively involved in supporting and enhancing the development of young children. By combining the power of digital campaigns with on-the-ground initiatives, we can create a holistic approach that caters to the diverse needs of families. EasyPeasy remains committed to bridging the gap and ensuring that all families have access to the resources, guidance, and support they need to create nurturing environments for their children's early years.

Find out more about EasyPeasy for Local Authorities