As More Young Adults Cut the Cord, Brands Will Need Online Video

By Eliza Jones on Dec 05 2011 at 8:00 AM

The generation that came of age in the era of Harry Potter isn't so interested in television anymore.

Today's young adults are instead turning to content streamed to their laptops, tablets and set-top boxes. For them, a broadband connection and an online subscription or two is all that's needed to access lower-priced home entertainment. It's no wonder people 25 and younger have cut the cord at almost twice the national average.

While Nielsen recognizes the trend of young consumers cutting back on TV—this morning the TV-ratings giant revised downward a previous estimate of the number of children watching conventional TV—even it says the long-term effects are unclear. Given how attractive these young demographics are to both advertisers and networks, it’s no wonder big companies like NBC Universal, FOX and Disney are actively researching how to make content offerings available online.

What does this mean for the advertiser side of the equation? With fewer young people glued to the TV, brands will have to find new avenues to connect with this demographic as the effectiveness of television wanes among young cord cutters. And the answer might lie with online video. While viewers are likely to fast forward through ads when watching DVR’d content or fiddle with their smartphones during advertising breaks, online video ads have shown to be significantly more effective in brand and message recall, especially among viewers ages 13 to 34.

Video has already proven to be an effective way to engage with audiences. Retail site visitors who watch video stay on their sites two minutes longer than non-viewers. From how-tos to customer support, these online videos allow brands to build relationships with consumers. And like the TV industry, brands should create strategies to increase engagement by building products across multiple devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

It’s also important for brands to make it easy to discover and share content. Almost half of all retail sites don’t index their videos, creating a missed opportunity when people are searching. With the right tools, brands can learn what resonates with their consumers by seeing what content is shared. Key to creating the right strategy is partnering with the right video platform that analyzes viewership across demographics, locations and devices. With these analytics, brands can fine tune their videos after learning what resonates with consumers. 

For years, TV has been the way for advertisers to reach consumers. With more young people cutting the cord, online video is an attractive medium to connect with a demographic that has new viewing habits. With the right strategy, brands will likely find that online video is an even more effective way build relationships with consumers. 

This is the second of a two-part series looking at young adults cutting the cord at almost twice the national rate. Read part 1 here.
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