If You Want Millennials to Watch Your Online Video, You Better Know These 3 Things!

Blog Post created by jthibeault on Dec 23, 2015

If you are publishing online video, you might be thinking, “all I need is really good content and the rest is moot, right?” But that’s not the case with Millennials. They are, in fact, quite particular about their online video experience. Sure, they want your content to appeal to them but they also want more.


In our recent consumer research report, The State of Online Video, we uncovered three interesting findings that illustrate just what kind of experience Millennials want with their online video.


Note: the graphs and data tables featured below are from the report that you can download here.


#1: Stop the Interruptions

Like most people, Millennials hate interruptions to their video experience. As evidenced by the graph below, buffering is the number one cause of frustration with online video.


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Only it’s not just having to wait for the video to play that causes consternation. Millennials are also hypersensitive about advertising. Almost a quarter of the will abandon a video if it starts with an ad.


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And many will abandon a video if they feel that there are too many advertisements (although it’s unclear just what “too many” entails).


When it comes to the video experience, it’s clear that you need to do whatever you can to avoid interruptions. On the buffering side, that means selecting a delivery partner that can ensure low rebuffer rates and “broadcast quality.” On the advertising side, that probably means you should think long and hard about how many ads you include in your video and where you place them. My recommendation? Give them some good, quality content before you start slotting in the advertising. That will keep them hooked so that when they encounter an interruption (like an ad), they’ll want to wait for the interruption to pass rather than closing down the player.


#2: Quality, Quality, Quality

Yes, Millennials, like everyone else, want to consume content that interests or appeals to them. But beyond that? They want “broadcast quality.” They want their online video to look like the television broadcasts with which they have become so accustomed.


As you can see in Figure 26, when asked what frustrates them the most about online video, although buffering leads the way, “quality of video” is second. But even more telling is when you ask Millennials about what will make them abandon a video—Figure 40 shows that over half of Millennials (59%) will abandon a video if the playback quality is poor.


It’s clear that having great content alone won’t endear you to Millennials. Blame the television experience for that one. What you need to ensure is that your video comes across consistently at the highest bitrate no matter where your viewers are or the device they are using. Than means you’ll need to extend your delivery footprint outside of just one datacenter or server closet. Without geographic spread, you’ll force a lot of requests for your video to go back to origin which could be thousands of miles away from the user who wants to watch it. And remember, you’ll need the available bandwidth (and hardware) to handle sudden spikes in traffic. If you don’t, your resources may get maxed out and not only will the quality suffer (lower average bitrate to your viewers) but there will be more interruptions (i.e., buffering).


#3 When They Want It, How They Want It, Where They Want It

If there’s one thing about Millennials, it’s that they love their video.


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They love it so much that they are watching it from a variety of connected devices.


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The problem that Figure 33 illustrates is that Millennials are all over the place watching your video content. With smartphones in hand, with game consoles at the ready (especially Sony's PS4), with laptops in backpacks, they are a highly mobile demographic. That means that you’ll either need to pre convert all of your content (to make sure it’s ready for all those devices) or you’ll need software that can “listen” to incoming requests (to determine what device is making the request) and convert the video on the fly. Either way will require a significant amount of domain expertise in video formats that you may not have in-house. The alternative is to find a delivery partner with a cloud-based offering that can do this for you. When it comes down to meeting Millennials’ needs, you should look for something automated, something that lets you focus on what’s really important—making awesome content!


Deliver a Killer Experience

Delivering digital video isn't easy, especially to Millennials, but if you keep these three points in mind, you'll definitely be on the right track to providing the kind of experience that these finicky users expect. And the better you can deliver, the better chance you have of keeping them engaged with your content.