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Do Millennials Watch Online Videos Differently?

Younger viewers have less video ad recall than their older counterparts

Are millennials online video viewing habits substantially different than those of older viewers? Data from a November 2013 survey of online adults in the US conducted by YuMe and IPG Media Lab seems to indicate the answer is “yes.”

The survey found that millennials, defined in the survey as those ages 18 to 34, were more likely to watch digital videos in almost all content categories than their older counterparts. While 37% of millennials watched TV shows online frequently, only 26% of Generation Xers (those ages 35 to 54) and a mere 16% of baby boomers (those age 55 or older) did the same. The gap in watching user-generated content was also dramatic, coming in at 33% for millennials, 21% for Gen Xers and 15% for baby boomers. The only content category for which millennials did not lead other age demographics was online news.

Video apps emerged as a popular means of watching digital videos across all age demographics. But millennials used video apps on smartphones and tablets in slightly greater numbers than Gen Xers, and substantially higher numbers than baby boomers. Gen Xers were the most likely to stream video from a webpage on a tablet, while baby boomers used websites to watch videos on smartphones more than the other two age groups.

While using online video to target millennials seems to be a no-brainer at first glance, the study concluded that this group was also more likely to be distracted while watching content. In fact, 49% of millennials admitted to multitasking on a web-enabled device when watching videos on TVs, PCs, smartphones or tablets. That figure dropped to 36% for Gen Xers, and fell even further to 26% for baby boomers.

These distractions seem to result in digital video advertisements leaving less of an impact on millennials. The survey found that millennial video viewers recalled ads with less frequency than did Gen Xers, no matter what device was being used to watch content.

The gap was especially pronounced when viewers watched content on a PC.

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