Social pundits will tell you that you need to invest more time and money into creating social videos for millennials, but what does your millennial audience actually want? ClearVoice decided to do an informal survey of nearly 150 millennials — mostly between the ages of 18-24 — to find out their opinions about online videos. Many of the results were to be expected, but some of the ways millennials engage with social videos may surprise you.
Here’s what we learned.
First, a question to set the stage:
No surprise here. Virtually every respondent is using social media multiple times per day. According to a MediaKix survey, the average person spends nearly two hours per day on social media. On average, those same survey respondents spent 40 minutes per day on YouTube; 35 minutes on Facebook; 25 minutes on Snapchat; and 15 minutes on Instagram.
Next, millennials’ social video consumption habits:
For sure, some great content that is more than a couple of minutes long pops up on news feeds, but if all things are even, it looks like the sweet spot for reaching millennials is between 30-60 seconds. Another way to look at this might be to say that 9 out of every 10 millennials responded that the optimal length for a social video is two minutes or less.
When a video is available along with an article or blog post and the information is identical, nearly four times as many millennials said they would prefer to watch the video rather than read the article. About 1 in 5 respondents said they would invest the time to both read the article and watch the video.
Of course, if you are promoting a product, keep in mind this tidbit from an Animoto Survey: Four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
Perhaps the number of videos that millennials are seeing on social hasn’t quite reached saturation level — but we may be close to that point. More than 2/3 of respondents said that they want to see about as many videos in their social feed as they currently see, whereas only about 14 percent said they wanted to see more videos than they currently see.
Conventional wisdom says that you will get more engagement by creating videos, but when everybody is creating videos, perhaps opting for other non-video methods to communicate your messages from time to time might also be valuable.
Surprisingly, all three of these options were selected by a significant number of people. If anything is to be learned, perhaps it is that videos from brands can be just as effective as videos from friends and influencers. It is important, however, to pay special attention to this key detail:
Respondents are referring to a brand that they already engage with. One should only assume that your branded video content is going to be as effective at reaching millennials as videos from friends, family members or influencers, if these millennials are already engaging with your content on a regular basis.
Is it possible that the demise of Facebook among millennial audiences is greatly exaggerated? Perhaps. Nearly half of respondents claimed that they prefer to watch videos on Facebook. With the time and resources Facebook is putting into its Watch feed, one would assume they have research to suggest that millennial audiences will use it.
Though Instagram and Snapchat are both popular channels among millennials (59 percent of U.S. millennials actively use Instagram; more than 40 percent of U.S. millennials use Snapchat on a daily basis), only 17 percent of our respondents say they prefer to watch videos on Instagram and 8 percent say they prefer to watch videos on Snapchat. One potential conclusion to this result might be that millennials may prefer to watch polished videos that they might be more likely to see on Facebook and YouTube rather than low-fidelity videos that they may see on Snapchat or Instagram.
Lastly, social video creation habits for millennials:
In early 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that 1 in every 5 videos published on Facebook was a live video. Though live videos coming from our millennials may not be as prevalent as expected, about 1 in 3 of our survey respondents have published a live video to a social channel.
Not only have most the millennials we surveyed not published live videos — but those who have published live videos don’t publish them very often. Of the 33 percent of respondents who said they have published a live video, only 14 percent of those respondents said they publish live videos more often than once per month.
Though our millennials may still be a little camera shy when it comes to publishing their own live videos, they are considerably more outgoing when it comes to sharing video direct messages. More than 1 in 4 of our respondents said they send direct messages with video multiple times per week and nearly two-thirds of respondents have sent a video direct message at some point.
We don’t suggest you use any of these numbers from our informal survey as your only source, but we do invite you to consider what these results might mean for your brand and encourage you to delve deeper on the video responses that you find most intriguing.