June 18, 2019
How to optimize your video content
Does your marketing strategy consist of TV or YouTube advertising? Then you’ll definitely want to pay attention to the latest study by Analytics Partners, a global marketing consulting firm. Keen to understand the content viewing patterns of today’s customers, researchers interviewed Australian viewers under and over 40.
The study found significant differences in where and how younger Australian audiences consume video content compared to their over-40 counterparts. Generally, over-40 viewers preferred free-to-air content and their viewing patterns were linear and more ingrained thanks to decades of regular viewing patterns. In contrast, the study found that those under 40 were less fixed in their viewing habits. In fact, their viewing patterns adapted as technology evolved — and what we’re seeing right now is a shift from traditionally linear viewing patterns and reliance on TV to short-form, user-generated content on various devices.
In this article, we discuss the top 3 insights that are most relevant to marketers who rely on TV advertising or online video platforms such as YouTube to reach their audiences.
Viewing patterns are not always linear
For those in the over-40 segment, TV programming schedules played a crucial part in how they would structure their days — and they were likely to plan their activities based on what was scheduled to air that day. For example, they were likely to stay in if their favorite reality TV show was airing that evening; in the mornings, they may put a show like ABC’s News Breakfast on in the background while they get ready for work — and when the show reached a certain point, they knew it was their cue to leave the house.
Meanwhile, TV schedules did not play a significant role in shaping the days of our under-40 audience. Instead, this segment preferred to watch what they wanted, when they wanted it, and how they wanted it. Consequently, they spend less time watching free-to-air TV, preferring to stream content using video on demand (VOD) platforms such as Netflix and YouTube. VOD has not only allowed this segment to choose the content they want to watch whenever they want, but it has also introduced unstructured and spontaneous viewing occasions. For example, an under-40 user may stream video content on their phones while on the bus or train — and casually check their Facebook feed in between videos. So, rather than throwing all your resources on TV advertising, you can better target your under-40 audience by using Facebook ads to nurture new leads.
Personalized content has never been so important
Not everyone watches content for the same reason — and this was apparent in the study. It was found that viewers in the over-40 group watched TV primarily for comfort and nostalgia. They sat down to watch long-running programs that they grew up watching such as Home and Away, rather than browse the latest new releases on Netflix.
In comparison, the under-40 viewers prefer to search for diverse content that was more customized, more authentic, and more aligned to their value set. Subsequently, they preferred to watch on-demand shows on subscription-based platforms such as Netflix as they believed they were getting a more personalized experience. For this reason, ad campaigns should be tailored accordingly.
Viewers are engaging with content in different ways
Finally, what drives the moments of highest engagement for these two segments?
For the over-40 group, moments of high engagement include long-form, high-production content on the big screen. It’s a different story for the under-40 group; the length of content they were watching the size of the screen they were watching on did not affect their engagement rate. Instead, they were happy to watch content on small screens such as their laptops or hand-held devices — and in fact, their cell phones were commonly used to view content during moments such as the commute to and from work.
Additionally, the study found that the under-40 group exhibited the following viewing behaviors:
- Stitching content: Watching multiple short-form videos one after the other, essentially creating their own long-form viewing moment (for example, watching 15 short YouTube clips back to back);
- Pausing: Instead of watching a long video in one session, watching it over several sessions to fit their schedule and moods; and
- Skipping and speeding: Frequently hitting the fast forward but they come across a scene they find boring or watching large sections of the video in 2X speed.
As you can see, the lines between long and short-form content are blurring for younger audiences. What does this mean for producers and advertisers targeting the younger generation? Attracting and maintaining their attention will involve focusing on the quality of the content and the storyline, rather than the actual length of the video or the size of the screen.
Give the ‘one size fits all’ video strategy a flick
We now know that under-40 and over-40 audiences are consuming video content in very different ways — and your marketing strategy must reflect that. This means ditching single-video campaigns and turning your attention towards a multi-channel approach comprising a mix of online and offline marketing tactics. And with YouTube reaching 90% of 18-to-39-year old Australians, we suggest running free-to-air commercial TV and YouTube ads at the same time so you can reach Aussie viewers of all ages more effectively.