Report: YouTube passions run deep and wider for parents, millennials, Gen X

Research details how and why three key demographics spend time on the on-demand video platform

YouTube viewers come in many forms and to the platform for many different reasons, according to new Australian audience research that analyses the ‘how and why’ of user engagement across three key demographics: Parents, millennials and Gen X.  

While the majority of parents turn to YouTube for parenting guidance (59 per cent), or to find ways to connect with their kids (49 per cent), the millennials engage with YouTube to connect with the world around them (79 per cent), or for self-development and gain a new skill (73 per cent).

Gen Xers, on the other hand, use YouTube to solve an immediate problem (74 per cent), to follow a passion (64 per cent), or rediscover their memories and relive parts of their childhood (47 per cent).

This is the first time Google has commissioned research of this kind in Australia, and employed surveys and ethnography to understand the role YouTube plays in the lives of Australians. It engaged Flamingo, Ipsos & TNS to conduct the 2500+ surveys and 35 in-depth interviews, of which 16 were in-home ethnographies, across Australia.

“This research reinforced that every Australian has their own journey on YouTube but there are some broad themes. We looked at why audiences come to YouTube and found they primarily use the platform to be entertained, inspired and educated,” Google Australian head of brand advertising, Caroline Oates, said.

Google was inspired to go digging for insights by advertisers who wanted to better understand how and why people spend time on YouTube, Oates said.

Specifically, advertisers wanted “more meaning and insight” around how users are engaging with YouTube and also why users are giving it so much attention. What YouTube hopes is that marketers will now be able to tailor their approach to more effectively reach the specific audiences they care about on its on-demand video platform.

Overall, findings revealed all users are coming to YouTube with “strong intent” and looking for very “personalised experiences”, Oates said.

“One of the things that was interesting, not so much surprising, is the fact that we know everyone comes for a personalised experience and they define what matters to them, and it’s that relevance that’s really important,” she continued.  

Three clear reasons emerged for why people engaged with YouTube: To be entertained, inspired and educated. The research suggests the engagement is quite a social experience.

“When you look at parents, a large reason for why they were coming, was actually as a way for them to facilitate bonding time with their kids,” Oates said, explaining arts and crafts and science experiments, such as those with Coke and Mentos, are prime examples.

Millennials, unlike past generations, define success by the experiences they have, rather than their material possessions, Oates said. “It is a bit of a generational shift. They see YouTube as a key facilitator in helping them professionally and in advancing their careers. They are using it as an educational source, and also how they can learn new skills.”

Gen Xers, on the other hand, remember a time before the Internet and as a group have evolved to be very adept at technology. “They have really embraced the how-to videos on YouTube and feel empowered by the way it lets them to do things they previously weren’t able to do,” Oates said.  

This group, in particular, is reaching out to YouTube as a key source of nostalgic content, looking for old songs, TV shows, and even old cricket matches, or engaging with YouTube to solve an immediate problem.

Asked what findings were unique to the Australian market, Oates noted a strong local desire to connect to the rest of the world. That finding was particularly strong with millennials who are using YouTube as a news source and to stay informed and engaged with the world.

In addition to being connected globally, Australians are also fascinated with local content. Music is a prime example.

“We have a real deep pride of local successes on a global level given the small size of the nation… Learning more about this and those local angles, as a platform, is incredibly interesting for us, and our advertisers who’re looking to reach audiences,” Oates said.

A personalised, connected experience resonated loud and clear with all audiences, she added, explaining personalisation could involve either mainstream content or niche and watched on a mobile phone or TV screen.

“The study overall reinforced for us that every Australian has their own journey on YouTube. You are very unlikely to have watched a video the person sitting next to you is laughing at. Everyone is using it in a different way, and it’s very interesting to see these broad themes,” Oates concluded.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu   

 

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