Fun for All Ages: Exploring the Demographics of Digital Video

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Though new technologies often attract millennials, marketers frequently fail to recognize that, in today's hyper-connected world, such advancements are no longer reserved for the young. Digital video, for instance, has taken on new life, as older generations have come to enjoy the inherent convenience just as much as their younger counterparts. However, in many cases, marketers have yet to acknowledge said developments, thereby robbing themselves of the opportunity to engage all relevant audiences appropriately and simultaneously.
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Though new technologies often attract millennials, marketers frequently fail to recognize that, in today's hyper-connected world, such advancements are no longer reserved for the young. Digital video, for instance, has taken on new life, as older generations have come to enjoy the inherent convenience just as much as their younger counterparts. However, in many cases, marketers have yet to acknowledge said developments, thereby robbing themselves of the opportunity to engage all relevant audiences appropriately and simultaneously.Here we speak with Joe Lichtenberg, vice president of advertising and analytics at Mirror Image, to explore how easy access to digital video has revolutionized its consumption and which emerging behaviors will drive marketers' future ad campaigns and targeting strategies:

1to1 Media: Why are marketers typically under the assumption that new media, such as digital video, are consumed primarily by millennials? How can such assumptions hinder their overall customer strategy?

Joe Lichtenberg: Marketers may assume this is the case partly because it has been true for so long. Millennials are digital natives, coming of age in an on-demand society with technology deeply entwined into their personal and professional lives. For example, they don't rely on cable, which offers content when networks decide people should watch TV. They watch it on their own time, and they don't rely on watching it from their living room TV. They binge-watch Netflix shows and surf the Web on mobile devices versus laptops. This has been the case since the dawn of the web and the Netflix-era. Millennials grew up when these technologies were first coming to market, so they didn't have to learn something completely new, unlike older generations, who may have had to change traditional media consumption habits.

We're now witnessing an inflection point. Nielsen's recent study debunks the general belief that digital video is consumed primarily by millennials. A year ago, individuals aged 50 to 64 were watching 11 minutes of digital video per day. Today, that number has increased to nearly 19 minutes--a 60% increase. Millennials are no longer the only ones watching TV digitally and consuming media on smartphones and laptops. Older generations have passed the digital learning curve and they, too, now take advantage of watching their TV shows when and where they choose, not when a network dictates that they should. Marketers, however, are either ignoring these channels because they don't view millennials as their target market, or are delivering content geared strictly toward millennials. They are either not targeting the right audience or completely missing a target market that holds significant purchase power.

1to1: How does digital video consumption correlate with mobile ad strategies?

JL: The year-over-year increase in digital video consumption among older viewers is shifting the landscape for mobile ad targeting. As consumer habits evolve, marketing spend shifts from traditional (TV, newspaper, and magazine) to digital (mobile and online video ads, i.e. Hulu commercials). Marketers are putting resources toward online video as consumption continues to rise, but digital video isn't just for millennials anymore. Their mobile ad strategies need to shift to reach an evolving demographic. The lesson? The basics still apply. Marketers that do their homework on digital video consumption trends will be in a much better position to design and deliver ad content that is relevant for that audience.

1to1: Now that more older viewers are consuming digital video daily, how must marketers adjust their mobile targeting strategies to account for this shift?

JL: Many marketers who typically don't target to millennials have completely ignored digital channels, perhaps rightfully so, for a long time. As older viewers now incorporate digital into their consumption behavior, marketers need to integrate new and traditional media to capture the attention of this moving target. What's more, those who were already marketing on digital channels must also consider adjusting their strategies. While they have previously geared content toward millennials, it's time to consider a more targeted approach to marketing - one that involves dynamic, real-time content to the right audiences. It means taking a more thoughtful approach to ad targeting and embracing Big Data in ways we never thought possible. Marketers can no longer assume that their ads are just reaching millennials. They need the tools to analyze data and target content at the right time, to the right consumer, turning information into actionable intelligence.

1to1: How can marketers ensure that mobile ads are reaching the right audience? How must they alter their approach to account for the differing demographics?

JL: Marketers need to embrace the benefits of Big Data and ad targeting technology. Marketers can drive more value from their digital campaigns by analyzing audience data in real-time, adjusting strategy on the fly to reach consumers at the most optimal point in their purchase decision. It's less about shifting what type of content marketers deliver and more about making sure that the content they create is reaching the audience for which it is intended. Dynamic, real-time targeting, such as behavioral or contextual targeting, is critical for getting the most impact out of digital media channels. Presenting an ad that is contextually appropriate to the content on the page being viewed can yield dramatically higher conversion rates. The person viewing the page is more likely to click on an ad and complete a call to action if it is specifically relevant to what they are watching or reading at that moment in time. This involves dynamic content, sophisticated real-time data collection, and audience targeting. In today's digital environment where personalization and relevance can make all the difference, this approach is the best way for marketers to drive the most ROI from their campaigns.

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