Social Media Video More Influential than Television

We’d suspected it for years but now it’s official. A recent study found that among the younger generations, particularly Generation Z (roughly 13-25 year old group), social media video is the most important visual medium for advertising. It’s a fundamental change that began with the tech-savvy Generation Y, but those who follow in their footsteps are taking it one step further. It’s a generation brought up on the internet from a much earlier age than Gen Y and certainly more than Gen X. Their habits are forging the future for video marketing.

The Findings

The first and most critical finding is that Generation Z watches more YouTube than television content. This means that YouTube celebrities are more household names to this generation than TV and movie celebrities.It is easy to assume that this generation seeks more entertainment than information, but that assumption is wrong. They are using YouTube to keep informed about the world.

Cable, satellite and broadcast still rides high for this generation, but comes in third place. The top five outlets are YouTube (85% use this service), Netflix (66%), cable / satellite TV (at 62%), Facebook (53% of users in this generation) and Instagram (37%). Reasons cited for social media, particularly when it relates to people they do not personally know, is that these figures are more relatable and trustworthy compared to those on traditional media.

Attitudes Regarding Advertising

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Generation Y and Z are just as turned off by hard selling and pushy advertising as their older counterparts. If they feel they are being over-sold (typically too much advertising) they are turned off watching the content. However, this generation is more savvy about how advertising works and how much it is needed to reach an audience and produce high quality content. They will, however, watch advertising for the entertainment factor – amusing video commercials are a strong selling point. User engagement is more important to this generation than any previous.

Unsurprisingly, advertising agencies across the US agree with these findings. In 2015, a survey of some of the top agencies reported that engagement with social media video increased by 88%. That is a staggering increase.

What These Findings Mean For You

If you are not already producing digital media for your customer base, then you should certainly consider making it a priority. If you already produce this sort of content, then it would be advisable to make it a bigger part of your marketing strategy than it already is.

Secondly, in selling your brand you could put a human face on your product or service. The younger generations are mistrusting of “faceless corporations”. In all this technology consumption, the human face and human connection remains a vital part of engaging with this audience. The cynicism towards “faceless corporations” is vital in understanding that your message must come across as authentic.

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