A 2015 market research industry paper reports a 52% increase in online communities, a tool that smart marketers will leverage when engaging with moms. Traditional research tools that my team uses every day, such as focus groups and surveys, have value and will continue to play a role in keeping a finger on the pulse of opinions and trends. However, the increase in online communities resonates with the hottest consumer segment today — millennial moms.

Millennial moms spend an average of four hours on their phones each day (rarely using it to talk) and 81% form an opinion of a brand based on social media presence. Their constant use and reliance on social media means that brands that implement and cultivate an active online community are gaining valuable resources for research and information while cultivating loyal relationships with their very influential mom consumers.

It’s a win-win for moms and brands for these five reasons:

1. Cost/Savings: Compared to traditional research tools, online communities are a cost effective way to reach consumers. In the days before online groups, research through focus groups, for instance, was either limited to local/regional groups or required extensive travel costs and time. Online communities save time and money.

2. Immediate Feedback: In this digital age of instant access to information, this fact is a marketer’s dream. Product research and development can be cut in half and consumer insights and opinions are a quick post away.

3. 24/7 Engagement: Moms check their phones anytime and anywhere, from the dinner table or during a midnight feeding. Most millennial moms aren’t constrained by the idea of brands posting during “business hours.” Online hours offer flexibility for both parties; brands post any time and moms can respond any time.

4. Long-term Relationships With Your Best Advocates: Marketers who tap in to the moms who are already talking about their brand on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (to name a few) are capitalizing on their love of communication and engagement with a brand. Online groups build brand loyalty with these moms.

5. Consumer-Generated Content and Ideas: Social listening is critical for any brand, and online communities are an excellent source of information. Organic conversations that develop in a group can offer important feedback, positive and negative. Conversations can also evolve in to an idea that comes from, in my opinion, the best source of solutions: moms.

In my recent experience, the best example of online mom communities comes from ambassador groups. These groups hit on all five points above, validating moms’ expectations of the brand, while the brand leverages relationships with moms to gauge opinions on new products, test package designs, rebranding strategies and much more.