Video content consumption: How Gen Z and Millennials have changed the game
Kicking back to create or watch a video with a tiny smartphone screen is an everyday experience for young people. It’s creating new avenues for social connections, reimagining the entertainment landscape, and even opening up entirely new lucrative career paths that weren’t available only 10 years ago.
Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and Millenials (born between 1981 and 1994-6) are two generations united in their embrace of visual culture for self-expression, promotion, education, community, and entertainment. They share a voracious appetite for creative online video that has put an end to the days of passively watching TV or movies.
Gen Z and Millennials don’t just watch video — they create all manner of strange and wonderful content to connect with friends, family and like-minded people across the entire globe. The online social hangout of choice isn’t Facebook or Twitter — it’s video platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
- According to Visual Objects, YouTube is the most-visited website by people age 18 to 24, referred to as Generation Z.
- Four out of 10 Millennials, meanwhile, say that their favorite YouTubers understand them better than family and friends.
If your company is trying to reach these audiences, you must meet them where they live, and that means online video — and it might not mean TV.
- According to the Telegraph (U.K.), a study in April 2021 found that children watched more YouTube and Netflix than terrestrial TV.
Why video consumption has changed
The proliferation of online videos among Gen Z and Millennials has been years in the making. As easy-to-use apps like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and streaming platforms like Twitch flourish, it has become incredibly easy to make and share videos with a few simple taps on a smartphone.
The result has been an explosion of creativity that is reshaping how we all stay entertained and informed. The idea of creativity for all — not just the few — is something we fully embrace at Adobe as we provide video creators with the tools to make the best content they can.
“Creativity is the great enabler, and it’s within all of us,” said Ann Lewnes, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Adobe. “Creativity has the power to influence politics, culture, and social norms, so it’s critical that we hear from a broader, more diverse set of voices, especially the next generation of creators.”
Video consumption habits of Gen Z and millennials
Before we go into the details of why this tectonic shift in video happened — and what it means for companies trying to reach customers and audiences — let’s get into the details of what makes Gen Z and Millennials distinct from other age groups.
Millennials age 23 to 36 are perhaps the most marketed to, and studied generation yet, and that’s likely because at 72 million members strong, it’s an even larger and more lucrative group than aging Baby Boomers (57-75 years old).
- Millennials spend an average of 1.5 hours per day watching streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Disney Plus, but they also love social media video platforms, namely YouTube and Instagram, to learn new skills and stay entertained.
- Often called the creative generation and the first digital-native generation, Gen Z is very diverse and the most likely to create and watch videos on social media, mainly on Instagram, YouTube, and increasingly, the short-form video app TikTok, which has seen: “TikTok was the most downloaded and highest-grossing non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, reaching nearly 383 million first-time installs.”
- An estimated 65 percent of Gen Zers use Instagram daily, and 62 percent of them use YouTube daily, and almost all of them have a smart phone, which is their primary way to watch videos ranging from TikTok experimentalists, to professional video game players, to YouTube superstars.
- Still, it appears TikTok is primarily the domain of young teens, as a majority of young adults — 18 to 29-year-olds — say they use Instagram (71 percent) or Snapchat (65 percent), while roughly half say the same for TikTok.
Video creation a key differentiator
Gen Z and Millennials say YouTubers and other video content creators are more influential than TV, film, sports or music stars. And creating their own video content to engage with others who share their passions and interests is just as important as watching others.
From making “meme-worthy” YouTube videos to filming with GoPro cameras and posting short clips set to music on TikTok, there is a strong desire to showcase their creativity and experiences through video.
- According to one survey, the vast majority of children want to become a professional YouTuber over all other professions such as pop star, doctor or lawyer.
Of course, starting a successful YouTube channel from scratch, requires creativity, training and a dose of good luck.
Connecting with companies and big brands through video
The rise of video has changed the world of business, marketing, relationships and networking.
- It’s estimated that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic, a massive 15 times higher than in 2017.
Reaching audiences more authentically through video could be key.
- According to Deloitte, social media influencers and ads on social media are the two most persuasive channels influencing their buying decisions, with 55 percent of Generation Z and 66 percent of Millennials saying ads on social media are influential.
This is exciting news for companies and brands that want to engage more as the democratization of video unfolds.
Get started making your own videos
At Adobe, we’re committed to giving more people more tools to be more creative. We constantly challenge ourselves to invest in new industries and reimagine what creative tools can do.
- Adobe Stock is a true visual marketplace, with video, photography, motion graphics, illustrations, vectors, layout templates, and 3D assets.
- Adobe Premiere Rush is a professional editing tool right on your smartphone. It’s free, and lets you shoot, edit and share on the go.
As more people create, more types of experiences will come to life, both in front of and behind the lens. This leads to more creativity, more stories, and more innovation — something all of us can strive for.
Our CEO Shantanu Narayen said it best: “The future belongs to those who can create.”