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How Different Generations Use Video (and What That Means for You)

If you're developing a video marketing strategy, you MUST consider your buyer personas to make sure you don't waste time and effort creating videos that go unwatched. A huge part of this is your target audience's demographics (age, location/timezone, etc.).

While there are plenty of Internet-savvy folks in older generations and plenty in younger generations that couldn't care less about new YouTube trends, the swaths of user data reported from sites like YouTube and Facebook prove that there's a great deal we can infer from video consumer demographics. A given generational audience may strongly prefer a certain sharing platform as opposed to others, and certain age groups strongly prefer certain types of videos over others, compared to their older or younger counterparts.

These are valuable figures that you can use to refine your business's video marketing strategy and help you better connect with your target audiences, or buyer personas.

If the generation windows seem to blend a bit for you, here's an easy breakdown (ages based as of 2017):

  • Generation Z: born on/after 1998 (age 19 or younger)
  • Millennials: born 1981–1997 (age 20 - 36)
  • Generation X: born 1965–1980 (age 37 - 52)
  • Baby Boomers: born 1946–1964 (age 53 - 71)
  • Silent Generation: born on/before 1945 (age 72 or older)

For the purposes of this blog and to provide better insights for our B2B and B2C readers, we're going to focus specifically on how Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers access and share video content—and by extension, what that means for businesses using video in their marketing strategy.

Different Generations and Device Types

Millennials are a mobile generation, so their mobile video consumption is a great deal higher than any other age group.

It's not a big surprise that viewers in one age group may use certain devices to consume video content more so than others. For example, Millennials are a mobile generation, so their mobile video consumption is a great deal higher than any other age group (a whopping 42% of Millennial consumers use mobile devices to access new content in-home).

Among Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers, television is still the most popular device used to view video content (69% and 76%, respectively), followed by desktop and laptop computers at 52% for both age groups (Nielsen). In comparison, computers are the Millennials' primary device for consuming video content, with 60% of those surveyed reporting regular use.

The following is a summary of Nielsen's survey on regular device use, between generations, for consuming video:

Millennials:

  • Computers: 60% (60% of Millennials report using this device to view video content)
  • Smartphones: 42%
  • Television: 55%

Gen X:

  • Computers: 52%
  • Smartphones: 30%
  • Television: 29%

Baby Boomers:

  • Computers: 52%
  • Smartphones: 18%
  • Television: 79%

Note: The statistics above are related to video consumption in-home. Outside of the home, mobile devices account for the vast majority of video consumption.

Preferred Video Platforms

Your target audience's preferred platform (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) can have a big impact in your video strategy.What video platform works best for targeting new users in specific demographics? Are video sites like YouTube and Vimeo the way to go, or do most audiences prefer consuming video content on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn)? The preferred video content platform for your target audience may also depend on which generational age bracket they fall under.

Across the board, Facebook is the most common platform that Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers use to share content, and particularly video. Following Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are the go-to mediums for video sharing by Gen X-ers and Millennials (Gen X-ers more so than Millennials). Baby Boomers, who also use YouTube as their second preferred sharing medium, prefer Google+ to Twitter by a wide margin.

Video is the most shared form of content by Baby Boomers, despite their lower use of platforms like YouTube and Twitter in comparison to other age groups. 27% of Baby Boomers regularly consume video content, making it the most popular form of content for their generational bracket—more so than blogs, infographics or even images.

The overall point: for videos hosted on your business's website, we advise a dedicated hosting platform like Wistia, which can be branded to suit your company and integrated with your current CRM. Beyond that, you should:

  • Upload all videos to Facebook and YouTube, as they're the most popular platforms for the three major generational groups.
  • Upload to Twitter, or at least cross-publish videos on Twitter, to reach Gen X and Millennial audiences.
  • Upload to Google+ and LinkedIn to connect with the Baby Boomer generation and some Gen X-ers.
  • Consider researching best practices for marketing with Instagram and video hacks for YouTube if your goal is to expand to Millennial or Gen Z audiences.

Content: What Users in Certain Age Groups are Watching

Across all generations, product review videos are viewed by a large percentage of YouTube's user base, regardless of age or location.

In addition to device type and preferred platform, the actual content consumpsion across users in various age groups can vasty differ.

For instance, 71% of Gen X-ers regularly use YouTube to watch How-To videos, while 52% of Millennials use the platform for product unboxing videos. From Millennials to Baby Boomers, product review videos are viewed by a significant percentage of each user base, regardless of demographics. For more information, AdWeek has a great infographic on YouTube content consumption here.

3 Most-Viewed Content Genres for Millennials:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Technology
  3. Sports

3 Most-Viewed Content Genres for Gen X:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Healthy Living
  3. World News

3 Most-Viewed Content Genres for Baby Boomers:

  1. Entertainment
  2. World News
  3. Politics

It's not really surprising that Entertainment tops the list for most-viewed video content genre across the board. What is surprising, however, is how much more a given age bracket consumes certain content over other brackets. Millennials consume 70.5% more technology content than Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers, conversely, access world news content 94.7% more than Millennials (Moz.com).

This kind of data can be used to refine your business's video marketing strategy. If you're in the tech space, you should create content that meets the expectations of your biggest audience base: the Millennials. If your products concern health & lifestyle, your largest audience is by-far Gen X-ers. Pair that kind of information with device type and preferred video platform (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), and you've got yourself the foundation for a high view and high engagement video marketing plan.

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Alex Dunn

Alex Dunn

Alex is a University of South Florida mass communications graduate and Video/Media Specialist at Bluleadz. He is a big movie nerd, loves (possibly dangerous) concerts and enjoys taunting co-workers with a camera. He's probably seen The Royal Tenenbaums 14 times by now.