By Paul Collier
Bright by Text reaches over 100,000 parents and caregivers across the United States - individuals who reflect the diversity of our country as a whole. And from the start, we’ve worked to make Bright by Text accessible to and inclusive of all families with young children, especially those that face the greatest barriers to accessing high-quality parenting advice and resources.
This began with the very idea of Bright by Text - text messages are one of the most reliable ways to communicate with individuals, and in the United States texting is pervasive across cultural, generational, and socioeconomic lines. From the beginning, we knew that it was important to make all BBT content available in both Spanish and English, given that many parents speak Spanish as their first language.
Over the last several years we have further worked to make our platform inclusive by:
Using diverse imagery on our landing pages and advertising
Writing all tips at a 6th-grade reading level
Running targeted subscriber acquisition campaigns in majority-Black and Hispanic communities
Partnering with media outlets that serve non-white audiences (like VME Kids) and nonprofit organizations that support lower-income families (including United Ways across the country)
Leveraging trusted content from sources that serve racially and economically diverse audiences
Regularly monitoring user satisfaction and suggestions on specific pieces of content and our platform in general
There is more we can do to make Bright by Text inclusive and accessible to all. Nonetheless, it’s we want to know if we are in fact meeting the needs of our Black, Hispanic, and lower-income subscribers.
About our data
Beginning in early 2021, we gave our subscribers the opportunity to provide us with demographic information related to their income, race, location, education, and household composition through our 30-day subscriber survey. We asked all of our subscribers similar questions in the summer of 2022, garnering us additional demographic data.
The data that follows comes from several thousand survey responses froma diverse array of active Bright by Text subscribers. That being said, we receive survey responses come from less than ten percent of our active user-base. We do not claim these responses are statistically representative of all Bright by Text families. We do believe they are positive indicators of our impact that we should research using more rigorous methods in the future.Reaching diverse audiences
First, we found that we are indeed reaching a large number of lower-income and non-white families. Just over 31% of the subscribers who responded to our surveys have a household income of less than $50,000 per year, compared with 38% of all households nationally. In addition, 36% of the subscribers that responded to our surveys identify themselves as non-white, compared with 41% of all individuals, nationally.
High platform satisfaction
Second, we found that these lower-income and non-white families tend to be at least as satisfied with their Bright by Text experience as our white subscribers. We use Net Promoter Score, a commonly used customer satisfaction measure, as an indicator of our Subscriber satisfaction. Non-white BBT subscribers reported a 60% higher Net Promoter Score than white subscribers. Similarly, lower-income BBT subscribers reported a higher Net Promoter Score than higher-income BBT subscribers.
Encouraging short-term outcomes
Third, we found that lower-income and non-white families tend to report at least as strong if not stronger outcomes from using Bright by Text. We looked at three short-term outcomes - Engagement in positive parenting behaviors, perceived child bond, and perceived confidence:
Behavior Engagement: To measure this, we asked subscribers whether they had engaged in at least one positive parenting behavior (from a list provided) due to Bright by Text. Some of the examples included reading with or telling stories to your child, finding fun ways to put learning into everyday activities like cooking or shopping, and several others.
Lower-income and non-white subscribers demonstrated a greater likelihood to engage in at least one positive parenting behavior as a result of BBT than their higher-income and white counterparts. The differences between these groups were statistically significant.
Child Bond: To measure this, we asked subscribers if they believe they have a stronger bond with their child as a result of Bright by Text.
Lower-income and non-white subscribers demonstrated a greater likelihood to report that BBT improved their bond with their child than their higher-income and white counterparts. The differences between these groups were statistically significant.
Confidence: To measure this, we asked subscribers whether they believe they have a better understanding of what their child should be learning and doing at their current age as a result of Bright by Text.
Lower-income and non-white subscribers demonstrated a greater likelihood to report that BBT helped them know what their child should be learning and doing at their current age than their higher-income and white counterparts. The difference between higher-income and lower-income groups was statistically significant.
Similar results & limitations
We’ve found similar results from other data collected by Bright by Text. For example, in Spring 2022 we worked with a partner, Cooking Matters, to pilot an opt-in series of text messages that provided a number of recipes and cooking tips to make nutritious, low-cost meals. Data from this pilot revelated that non-white participants were more likely to try these recipes and recommend a friend to subscribe to these messages than white participants.
We recognize that there are many limitations to this data, and our ability to make generalizations from it. Response rates to our surveys range from 4-7% depending on the survey and time of year. We also understand that lower-income and non-white individuals in the US tend to agree to survey questions at a higher rate, across many types of research. It’s possible that our relatively positive results are due to this acquiescence bias and not due to actual differences in satisfaction in or use of Bright by Text. Nonetheless, the results we’ve seen from thousands of BBT subscribers give us some confidence that we’re on the right track to making Bright by Text accessible to and inclusive of all families, including those that face significant barriers to accessing high-quality parenting advice and resources.
We need your help
We’ve learned that while Bright by Text is valued by many lower-income and non-white families, we need to be doing even more to reach these families. Here’s where you come in.
If you’re a parent: Please spread the word about Bright by Text, particularly with any new parents in your network. They can simply text the word BRIGHT to 274 448 to join our parenting village.
If you’re a community-based organization: If you aren’t already, consider becoming a Bright by Text partner.