The Best Baby Monitor — Nanit vs. Owlet

If you’re a parent, you probably remember those early days when your child just doesn’t want to sleep soundly in their crib. They’re waking up in the middle of the night crying, and your first instinct may be that something has to be wrong. 

Is the baby hurt? Or are they just a restless sleeper? 

Thankfully, we have baby monitors to cut out a lot of parent anxiety when it comes to sleeping children, and there are so many options to choose from. But for a parent who wants the best for both their children and themselves, which is the best baby monitor brand? What is the best tool to keep your baby safe and sound while also giving you peace of mind?

On this episode of Products Worth Talking About, we’re talking about the business of babies. Wait… That sounded wrong! More like the business of baby tech. 

The Nanit Plus and Owlet Smart Sock 2 baby monitors square off as we put the two leaders of the baby monitor world against each other. We break down their social media strategies, product designs, and give our thoughts on who reigns supreme in the baby tech world. Hold onto your diapers cause this is gonna get good! 

The Nanit Plus Overview 

The Nanit Plus is a sleek baby monitor that contains a camera, wall mount, and corresponding app for your phone. RT uses this product in his son’s room — using the wall mount, he attached the camera to the wall a little above the crib to give him a bird’s eye view of his son while he sleeps. One thing that RT likes about the Nanit Plus is that you can have the audio playing on your phone (even as you open other apps or browse the web). That way, you don’t have to constantly be checking the app to make sure your child is safe — you can just have the audio play softly, and if he or she starts crying, you’ll know instantly! 

Another cool thing about the Nanit Plus is that it will alert you if your child moves significantly in the crib. You’ll get a notification on your phone letting you know, and you can then check the camera feed to make sure your baby isn’t awake or in trouble. Basically, the app and monitor do everything for you, and all you have to do is keep your phone nearby!

And if you’re looking for additional safety and security for your child, check out Nanit’s breathing vest! You’ll need to have the Nanit Plus in order to use the vest, but basically, the camera analyzes the pixel patterns on the vest to tell if the child is breathing or not. If the camera picks up non-movement in the vest, it alerts your phone immediately. As a new parent, there are so many stressors, but with the Nanit Plus and Nanit vest, you don’t have to worry!

On Amazon, you can buy the Nanit Plus for $270.99, and you can buy a three-pack of Nanit breathing vests on Amazon for just $49.99! 

Now, let’s talk a little bit about Nanit as a company — they started in 2015, so they’re fairly new, and they didn’t ship their first product until 2016. The business was founded by three different guys — Tor Ivry, Andrew Berman and Dr. Assaf Glazer — and they’re located in New York City. They received funding via Crunchbase and raised about $28 million to support their company. On LinkedIn, they have 63 listed employees. In 2019, they were named “the Most Innovative Company” in their category by Fast Company. While they are still a relatively new company, Nanit is producing disruptive products in their space, and we were both impressed! 

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Overview

Now, the Nanit Plus may seem like an outlier in the baby tech space, and it is, but we also have to talk about the Owlet Smart Sock 2. We both have personal experience using the Owlet, but Tyler says it honestly changed his life. His baby would not sleep unless he was on his stomach, and in any other position, he was miserable. One night, Tyler and his wife did some research on the best baby monitors, and before they knew it, they were at Target purchasing the Owlet Smart Sock 2 and camera. So what’s so special about this monitor? 

Well, first of all, it goes on the baby’s foot! There’s a wrap you can fasten to make sure that the sock doesn’t come off, and as they grow, you can transition to the bigger sock(s). There are two sensors on the sock which monitor the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels, and this information is available on your phone via the Owlet app

The camera is similar to Nanit’s in that you mount it on the wall over the baby’s crib, and you can use the app to monitor both audio and video. The app will notify you if your baby’s heart rate or oxygen levels are out of the “safe zone” so that you’ll know you need to check on your baby ASAP. 

On Amazon, you can buy the Smart Sock 2 for $249.99, and you can buy the camera for $149.00 — or you can buy the bundle for $349.00!  

Now let’s talk about company specs. Similar to Nanit, Owlet is a fairly new company that started in 2013, with their first product shipped in 2015. They have four founders total who are dads themselves — Kurt Workman, Jordan Monroe, Zack Bomsta, and Jacob Colvin. They have a greater number of employees than Nanit, averaging around 134 employees on LinkedIn. They’ve gone through around five rounds of funding, raising 48 million total. Techstars also invested in Owlet to help them get off the ground, and now, they’re doing better than ever. 

Now, It’s Time for the Scorecards…

Now that we’ve reviewed both Nanit and Owlet’s baby tech products, it’s time to evaluate them and determine which one is better! Here’s a little insight into how we evaluate products and companies…

#1: Social Media Scorecard 

First, we look at their social media scorecards — we run through Instagram, Facebook, and so forth, and examine their social media presence and advertising methods. After all, tons of people base their buying/investing decisions on what’s on their Instagram rather than the reviews or information they read online! Let’s start with Nanit…

  • Nanit has around 31,000 followers on Instagram and gets about 2,300 new followers each month. Unfortunately, Nanit has a low engagement rate of 0.99%. This may be because the consumer is only investing in this product for a limited amount of time (until their baby grows up). After a year or so, parents stop engaging with the brand because they don’t really need the product anymore, so that’s a possible reason for the low engagement. Nanit’s primary marketing strategy looks to be advertising; however, we both agree that some more lifestyle images or pictures of cute babies may boost their presence. Also, another idea is testimonials — both Nanit and Owlet have testimonials on their websites, and they should use these for social media content as well! 
  • On the other hand, Owlet has a much, MUCH greater amount of Instagram followers, averaging out at 220,000. However, their engagement rate is also surprisingly low at 0.19%. About 70% of their Instagram content is advertisements that include discounts, but they do have a few educational, lifestyle, and humor-based content pieces because, after all, kids are funny, right?! If you’re interested in an example of “humor marketing,” definitely check out our men’s bar soap episode!

In summary, we gave both of these brands a B- on social media presence. To be honest, a lot of the advertisements that we saw weren’t very engaging. But there are so many opportunities for growth for each of them, and we estimate that in the coming years, they will continue to gain momentum if they try new marketing strategies.

#2: Sales Scorecard 

Secondly, we look at the sales scorecard — we examine the backend of their website data and estimate some sales numbers, using software such as JungleScout and SpyFu

  • Starting with Nanit, we saw that they get about 140,000 visits a month on their website, which largely come from Google searches. On Amazon, their average sales number looks to be about $950,000 per month, and we estimated that their website sales are anywhere from $900,000 to one million. However, we agreed that their website needs some work — they don’t do a great job explaining their products. And when selling something that is in the hundreds of dollars price range, it’s important to make sure you clearly communicate the value your product offers to convince the consumer that it’s worth the purchase. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get too much data on Nanit because it’s a pretty new company, so let’s transition over to Owlet…
  • Owlet receives about 200,000 visits per month on their website, primarily from searches and email campaigns. They also have tons of PR with reputable publications that quote pediatricians, which definitely adds to the credibility of the brand. Their Amazon monthly sales average out at $1,340,000 million a month, and their website sales are around one million per month. We both agreed that their website is spectacular. It’s not confusing or cluttered, and it gives clear explanations of what each of their products offers to both parents and babies alike.

The Beer Scorecard 

After taking all of these statistics and our subjective opinions into account, we give our final score — the Beer Score (AKA which founder we want to find and have a beer with). 

  • Trust Factor

We trust both of these companies since we’ve used their products firsthand, but we had to give Owlet a higher score based on how clean their website and Amazon page are. They also have a little more humor in their marketing, which helps you connect more with their brand on a personal level, making you more likely to trust them. 

  • Website 

Both brands have good websites, but we both agreed that Owlet’s website stood out as the winner. They tell the story of the product (why it was made, what it does, etc.), which is extremely important for a techy product that could confuse some people.

  • Marketing/Advertising

Looking at their website as well as their Instagram, we both decided that Owlet also gets the nod for this one. They’ve got a bit more variety in their advertising, and they’ve done a great job with PR and drawing traffic to their site. 

  • User Experience

While Tyler scored Owlet higher on user experience, RT was partial to Nanit. He’s used the Nanit Plus for two years now, and he especially loves the background audio feature of the app. And with Nanit, you don’t have to put the sock on, which can be hard when your baby is moving around, and the Nanit vests add an extra swaddling factor. 

  • Social 

We’ve already touched on this a little bit, but we both agree that Owlet is doing a better job with social media. Advertisements are more like “paid traffic,” and they’re less genuine to the consumer. It’s important to have more on your social media account than advertisements, and while Owlet still has some work to do, it scored higher than Nanit. 

  • Product Design and Packaging

These scored very close to one another! Let’s talk about Owlet first — everything about Owlet’s packaging is beautiful. The camera doesn’t even look like a camera, and it has a magnet feature that easily lets you mount it on the wall. The only downside to Owlet is that the sock sometimes becomes loose, but overall, the product design is amazing. Nanit has a very sleek product design as well, and the floor stand gives the mounted camera a bit more stability (although it is harder to set up). Both companies’ apps are absolutely phenomenal too. In the end, RT decided to go with Nanit as the winner, and Tyler went with Owlet.

  • Disruptive Appeal 

Lastly, we scored each brand based on their disruptive appeal — how they stand out from other brands and catch our attention. As far as disruptive goes, Tyler viewed Owlet as the most disruptive product — who thinks to make a vitals-monitoring sock? It’s genius! While RT was partial to Nanit’s vest, he agreed that Owlet is making a huge impact in the baby tech arena.

After tallying up our scores, we were finally able to determine which brand was best…

And the Winner of Best Baby Monitor Is…

After hearing our individual beer scores, you’ve probably guessed who the winner is by now — yup, it’s Owlet! Both brands are great, and at the end of the day, you can’t go wrong buying either one. They’ve both seen a problem in the marketplace, created a solution (one that goes beyond just camera monitoring), and presented it in an effective way to the consumer. However, according to the analytics and our personal opinions, we decided Owlet as the winner.

Both companies’ missions are to help both parents and babies sleep better, and at the end of the day, they’ve both executed that mission very well. We were both really impressed by both of them, and they reminded us that very successful businesses are solving a problem. If you’re looking to start your own business, ask yourself, “What problem am I trying to solve? Who is my audience? And what is the best way to market my solution?” When you get clear on those answers, you’re one step closer to launching the business of your dreams.

If you learned something today, we would love to hear from you. Take a screenshot of the episode and share your greatest takeaways with us on Instagram, @productsworthtalkingabout. Let us know what baby monitors you love and which one you decided to go for! And if you love the show, make sure to subscribe on YouTube so that you can get new content delivered to you directly.

Thanks for reading! Until next time—

RT and Tyler 

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