Nielsen defines Millennials as those born between 1977 and 1995. This group makes up 24% of the U.S. population and according to Barkley, represents over $200 billion in annual purchasing power. Obviously, brands and marketers are looking to reach and engage this target market, and one way to do so is through online video contests. comScore reports that Millennials spend 48% more time watching online videos than the average Internet user, so brands that create video contests for YouTube, Vine, Instagram Video etc., typically see increased engagement and participation.

To begin, we’ll start with YouTube. Sprite 6 Mix, a limited-time beverage co-developed with NBA star LeBron James, is running a video contest on YouTube for Millennials who are “changing the game” through music, visual arts, entrepreneurship or community involvement. People ages 18 to 30 can upload their videos (90 to 180 seconds long) to YouTube, post a tweet that includes their videos’ URLs, and tag them with #ChangeTheGame by June 1 for a chance to win $50,000.

Sprite Contest Game Changing

Four finalists will also receive relevant “learning experiences”: a mentoring session with a civic leader for the community involvement finalist; a meet-and-greet with a record label executive or an opportunity to attend a performance for the music finalist; a mentoring session with a business executive for the entrepreneurial finalist; and the opportunity to display his/her work on and on a custom Sprite item for the visual arts finalist.

Millennials and self-expression go hand-in-hand. The contest allows contestants to highlight individual talents and incentivizes participation with impressive prizes. Sprite should see a good number of entries and engagement with the brand as Millennials seek to advance in their desired fields.

Brands have also been looking to reach Millennials through Vine: a 6-second video sharing app. Dunkin Donuts hosted a Vine contest in May of last year to celebrate its Vine debut. Over the course of a week, Dunkin Donuts encouraged fans via Twitter to “Create a Vine on how DD Iced Coffee puts a spring in your step.” The grand prize: free coffee for a year.

The company was one of the first to run a Vine contest, and it received some pretty creative entries like the one below:

As one of the first brands to host a Vine contest, Dunkin Donuts positioned itself as an early tech adopter willing to cater to Millennial behavior.

After Vine’s popularity exploded, Instagram followed suit with its own video capabilities: Instagram Video. Precision-cut crystal maker Swarovski jumped right in and launched a contest in which it asked its followers to capture a sparkling light reflection through Instagram’s new video feature. Instagram users were encouraged to use the hashtag #InstaSparkle for a chance to win Swarovski Nirvana jewelry.

The company also accepted photo entries, of which there were 4,000 within the first day. With its contest, Swarovski was successfully able to capitalize on the popularity of Instagram and the buzz surrounding its video feature.

“Video is proving to be a strong marketing mechanism, with higher engagement levels than static text or images, and is a great way to get consumers to interact with the brand and the brand promise, ‘the sparkling world of Swarovski,’” said Kelly Cooper, marketing manager at ShopIgniter.

Video contests are an excellent way to increase awareness and engagement with your brand, especially among Millennials. Whether it’s on YouTube, Vine, Instagram Video or another video sharing site, video contests will not only add a human element to your brand, but they will also help to strengthen valuable consumer-brand relationships.

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