Dec 8, 2016

Small-Screen Content: Why is YouTube so important among younger audiences?

written by Richard Lindsay

Rise of the YouTube Generation

Regular TV watching is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and this trend is most evident among younger audiences. Young people are deserting living room television in favour of YouTube and other digital outlets. According to a study conducted by digital media company Defy Media, people aged between 13-24 spend 11.3 hours weekly watching free online video compared with 8.3 hours of regular TV . It’s clear that younger viewers connect more strongly with YouTube and other digital platforms, and studies have also found that young people find YouTube more relevant to their lives and simply more enjoyable to watch.

Growing up in a digital world, young audiences today will have dim memories of life before YouTube, and its influence over young people is rapidly growing. They are now more likely to idealise a YouTube personality than a traditional celebrity, which we associate with regular television. This also extends to purchasing influences as Defy Media have found that 63% of young people would rather try a product or brand recommended by a YouTube personality. TV has always garnered the attention of young people, but in today’s age, millennials are turning to YouTube. But we must question why YouTube is so important among younger audiences, and what millennials can tell us about the future of online video.

Importance of YouTube among younger audiences

One of the key reasons YouTube is so important among younger audiences, is because it’s instantaneous. Young people generally have a very short attention span, so that means there’s no time to be waiting for content. YouTube videos are so accessible and always available at any time of the day, and you don’t have to sit through several commercials, or wait for the video to download.

If there’s one thing young people love more than watching videos, is sharing them with friends on social media. Sharing entertaining and funny YouTube videos has become habitual among millennials. We live in a “sharing” culture where we all want to be the first ones to post the latest Jimmy Fallon lip sync battle, or the newest music videos. However, YouTube is much more than an online hub for videos, it’s a source for entertainment and news. Young people have become dependent on YouTube for information, as well as people of other age groups, so it’s no surprise that YouTube is the second largest search engine.

YouTube has firmly situated itself into everyday life of young people. With the recent introduction of YouTube Kids, it’s clear how YouTube is redefining television for millennials, as it’s becoming the first choice for children’s entertainment. It’s YouTube’s level of engagement and entertainment that young people regard so highly. Also, YouTube is so important among young audiences because of the opportunity discover new content, which is very easy to do, thanks to auto play and video suggestions features. Regular TV doesn’t provide the same level of efficiency to discover new content. Whereas the older generation are accustomed to traditional TV watching, younger audiences prefer online video because of its efficiency. According to Google, young people consider YouTube, “the best place to learn about products or services that interests them.”

Marketers and advertisers should be harnessing the power of YouTube and other digital networks to reach younger audiences. How young people engage with digital video today provides great implications for the future of video. It’s evident that video is increasingly more likely to meet consumer’s needs, and as marketers continue to shift their budget to online video, YouTube will continue to have a profound importance in the lives of younger audiences.