ReelSEO recently published a post that looks into the popularity of YouTube among teens and millennials. The post highlights a study conducted by The Intelligence Group, which found that millennials ranging from 14-18 and 19-24 both reporting they now use YouTube as or more frequently than Facebook.
Marketing departments that have spent the past 5 years dedicating resources towards reaching young consumers on Facebook cannot ignore this report. But why is the shift happening? ReelSEO’s post contains a quote from Luke Mitchell, head of youth-insights group Voxburner, stating that “YouTube has come out on top again because of the broad utility it has in young people’s lives every day.” As the resident millennial here at SSV, I’ve been tasked with explaining that utility for people of my generation.
#1 YouTube is Entertaining
YouTube has essentially evolved from a video sharing service to a portable and extremely personalized TV. YouTube allows me to curate my very own entertainment rather than having it chosen for me. YouTube is the second largest search engine for a reason: the ability for millennials to search and build their own playlists based on how they’re feeling that very moment (or how they will be feeling Friday night) means that always have the content they want on hand when they want it.
The success of Beyonce’s latest visual album shows just how obsessed millennials are with YouTube as an entertainment destination. The Queen did absolutely no marketing and was able to easily surpass over 200 million views in two months (80% of those may have come from me but that’s besides the point). Now, Beyonce is a global icon, but a variety of artists have become increasingly daring with their YouTube video strategy and millennials can’t get enough of it – eagerly replaying, sharing, and commenting (more on this in a bit) on the latest hits.
Of course, there is also nothing more entertaining than a funny video on a Friday afternoon, and YouTube is where they live.
#2 YouTube is Instantaneous
Millennials live in a world with an 8 second attention span, and that means there’s no time to be waiting for content. The eCommerce Times recently attributed Netflix’s incredible subscriber growth over the past two years to the increasing consumer demand for not only online video but also quick streaming video. The same thing applies to the increased use of YouTube amongst millennials. These videos are available to us at any time of the day, without having to wait for 3 minutes of commercials or for the video to finish downloading.
#3 YouTube is Shareable
If there’s one thing the millennial generation loves more than watching YouTube videos, it’s sharing them with our friends and social circles. Our generation places almost as much importance on sharing our thoughts and feelings on what we find entertaining as consuming the content itself. We want to be the first ones posting the funniest cat videos and latest Jimmy Fallon lip sync battles amongst our friends and YouTube lets us do this with one simple click.
#4 YouTube is Informative
There is currently a debate raging as to whether or not millennials read newspapers (for the record, I don’t). According to a recent study by The New York Times, however, we do know that millennials prefer online video to broadcast TV for news, with as much as 30% saying they do not watch broadcast TV at all. The same Times study stated that news and current events is the fourth most watched online content topic after Beyonce music videos, film trailers, and funny cat clips.
Millennials have also become increasingly dependent on YouTube as a go-to resource for visual “how-to” videos, the fifth most watched online content according to the New York Times study. The world’s second largest search engine has single handedly helped me change a flat tire, properly cook quinoa and move my iTunes music from my PC to my Mac without missing a single song… Hallelujah!
#5 YouTube is Portable
The millennial generation is also a mobile generation. At Dx3 Canada this year we learned that 55% percent of all time spent with digital media happens on a mobile device, and YouTube is no exception. Over 6 billion hours of video is watched on YouTube every month, and 40% of that view time comes from mobile devices, demonstrating that YouTube’s portability is not lost on millennials.
The marketing teams that take the time to understand the reasons behind YouTube’s broad appeal with millennials will be best positioned to use it to capture their attention. Post a comment and let us know how your company is using YouTube to reach your customers.