Viewing habits of millennials

Posted on  |   by Tilly Marsden

In my last blog I discussed the preferred subject matter when targeting millennials. In light of this theme, I have now decided to investigate the viewing habits of this generation across platforms. A recent infographic by programmatic video advertising platform, Videology, explains that today’s millennial spends more time on digital than any other platform, with 34% admitting to tuning into more online video than broadcasted shows. This does not suggest that we should undermine the influence of television on millennials; however, marketers must recognise the exponential reach and impact of digital.

Adjust Your Set, a highly innovative content agency, has a deep understanding of today’s millennial. The agency has shared this knowledge in their book: Millennials: The connected generation. They acknowledge that ‘the term “tech savvy” is a redundant term for millennials- it’s the natural state of play.’ Thus, television marketers need to consider how their campaigns interact with the realm of digital. Multi-screening is the norm for 18-35 year olds, and Videology found that 41% of this age-cohort has used a mobile device to browse for a product after seeing it in a show or ad.

Companies have recognised the shopping habits of millennials, and how this has caused a ‘generational bleed,’ as consumers from different age-cohorts follow suit. Adjust Your Set are a step ahead in digital production, enabling brands to provide both viewing and shopping functions from the same device when consuming content. For example, the agency worked with Marks and Spencer, to create an online TV channel that enables users to watch videos; whilst providing links alongside the content so that viewers can purchase the featured products.

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Videology found that 50% of millennials visit social media whilst watching television. Adjust Your Set highlight that social media ‘creates an expectation that [millennials] constantly need to give an opinion, and be “always on.” Twitter is a platform that many millennials use to express their views whilst watching TV shows, and The Telegraph reports that 40% of tweets are about what’s on television. For example, Made In Chelsea is a show largely popular amongst UK millennials, with plenty of ‘drama’ and unusual quips that offset online commentary. The nature of Twitter allows the show’s fans to easily join in the conversations of others in real time, enabling the incorporation of a social element to their viewing experience.

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According to HUB Research, 61% of millennials prefer watching timeshifted programmes over live content. Netflix and digital subscription TV companies are the two big channels competing for this audience. HUB Research found that 58% of millennials favoured timeshifted viewing as they are able to watch TV programmes at their own convenience. Skipping ads and saving time were less of a concern, as these were cited as a preference for less than a quarter of 18-35 year olds. The popularity of on-demand content can also be attributed to the fact that these programmes can be watched across many devices. Forrester Research found that the average westernised millennial owns 4.0 connected devices on average, in comparison to an average of 3.3 among all adults. As millennials now watch content across multiple devices, marketers must ensure that they account for the different interfaces when creating campaigns.

Millennials are a generation of consumers that are constantly plugged into technology, which is considered to be an essential aspect of life. Therefore, it is important for brands to recognise the differing channels that these consumers engage with, and their reasons for using them. By carefully monitoring millennials viewing habits in accordance with their KPIs, brands can learn how to build strong and long-lasting relationships with these consumers.

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