By Robert Elder.
Google’s recent claim that YouTube is the coolest brand in the eyes of teens and millennials looks shady in light of new survey data from BI Intelligence, which indicates that older age groups consistently perceive YouTube more positively than their younger peers do.
This is important because, for all the attention that millennials receive, baby boomers are still an attractive target market. They’re easily the wealthiest demographic in the US, representing about 50% of the country’s net household wealth, and will continue to be so until at least 2030, per Deloitte. Numbering close to 75 million people, they’re also the second-largest generation in the US, just slightly behind millennials, according to US Census Bureau estimates. For brands, the way this wealthy and populous demographic perceives YouTube can provide insight into how the platform can be better leveraged — and who they should be targeting.
Boomers are more inclined to believe that YouTube won’t serve them deceptive videos, while millennials are less sure about avoiding such content on the site. This means brands can reach older age groups on YouTube with more confidence that their campaigns will be viewed as upright and honest, so they needn’t worry as much about brand safety — or the risk they’ll be associated with content that detracts from their image. And considering baby boomers find YouTube ads less annoying than millennials do, these campaigns should be especially well received.
Older age groups are also more willing to share content on YouTube than younger folks. This indicates that, on YouTube, brands are more likely to reach an older audience that’s engaged and open to sharing content, creating an opening for uploaded videos to spread organically. There are countless examples of such successful commercials on YouTube — including Volvo’s “Epic Split” featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme, viewed more than 86 million times; Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” with nearly 68 million views; and the legendary Dollar Shave Club commercial, which introduced the brand to millions worldwide, and eventually led to the company’s $1 billion sale to Unilever.
Although YouTube ranked dead last for consumer safety in BI Intelligence’s Digital Trust survey, boomers haven’t abandoned the video site. In fact, the affinity older age groups have for YouTube makes them far more likely than younger generations to actively participate and engage with content on the platform. By targeting this mature demographic on YouTube, companies may elicit more responses to their videos and campaigns, generating conversations around their brands.
BI Intelligence’s Digital Trust survey examines consumers’ perception of major social platforms. It rates Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn on security, community, user experience, and content authenticity and shareability to help brands and marketers make informed decisions about what platforms to spend their marketing and branding dollars on. The full report will be available through BI Intelligence in May.