Multiscreen millennials are driving digital video habits

How can brands ensure they resonate with millennials and recapture their attention? Owen Hanks shares his top tips for marketers

Today’s digital landscape is the natural habitat of millennial consumers, whose insatiable appetite for video and digital content has created a culture of multiscreening as they flit between channels seeking information or entertainment. This sizeable group provides marketers with a vast new audience of first-generation digital natives reaching prime purchasing age. 

The plethora of new digital channels, across which millennials are consuming content, appears to present endless possibilities for advertising, but this propensity for digital consumption is a double-edged sword. As well as creating opportunities to reach this group, it also makes them perennially distracted. Millennials have grown up expecting access to content whenever and wherever they want it – across multiple platforms – resulting in them having the shortest attention span of any consumer group and a uniquely fragmented approach to content consumption. What’s more, an explosion in digital content supply risks overwhelming consumers with choice. It’s a unique predicament for the industry – the audience is more connected than ever before, but capturing and retaining their attention is increasingly challenging. 

So what do marketers need to do to keep pace, and ensure their messages are resonating with this highly lucrative group?

To engage the millennial audience, marketers must understand evolving content consumption habits and shift focus away from more traditional forms of advertising, towards new and emerging channels. Millennials are driving the industry towards the next wave of engaging, technologically advanced consumer-focused advertising, and there are three key tactics marketers should employ to engage them: 

Understand the value of video

Millennials are the most prolific viewers of all types of video content and consumption of online TV and video has doubled in the last decade – making this an ideal channel for engagement. Despite their short attention span, millennials love all types of digital video and by 2018, it is estimated mobile video will drive more than 60% of data traffic. Brands that fail to embrace video advertising will miss out on a prime opportunity to engage the millennial audience. To make the most of video, brands must ensure their ads are of the highest quality, creatively captivating and visually appealing, as millennials quickly click away from video ads that deliver a poor experience. 

Make it mobile

 Creating mobile-friendly advertising is essential in engaging millennials. A study from the Office of National Statistics found 96% of millennials use mobile to access the internet, with mobile overtaking laptop as the preferred product research tool for more than four-fifths of this generation. Video advertising on smartphone increases brand perception among this age group – millennials see brands as modern and ‘on their way up’ when they advertise on smartphones – so mobile is a crucial focus for engaging this demographic. 

Be seen on multiple screens

But it’s not just about mobile. With multi-screening now the norm, advertising across all channels and devices is essential. A UK consumer report from Microsoft concluded 86% of Brits now multiscreen when watching TV – with millennials revealing the strongest selective attention due to their familiarity with digital technology and multiscreening. Brands must be able to recognise the device or platform consumers are using to access content and serve the appropriate creative.  Responsive design is now a top priority for marketers looking to ensure the optimum experience for consumers, whatever their screen of choice. The success of the industry now depends on ads translating seamlessly across different platforms and devices. 

Challenging to engage and prone to distraction, the millennial generation are powerful buyers that marketers simply can’t ignore. To tap into this lucrative audience, advertisers must tailor campaigns to suit their device usage, content consumption habits, and format preferences.