Industry Insights

Have You Been Targeting the Wrong Audience on YouTube?

Digital video ad spending has been tremendously emerging. In fact, the data from eMarketer backs it up as it found that U.S. adults watched 67 minutes of online video a day in 2016, whereas they watched just three minutes of online video a day in 2009. More importantly, the firm expects US digital video ad spending will see double-digit growth annually through 2020. It is also not a coincidence that online media companies like Vice Media Inc. and BuzzFeed Inc. have raised millions from investors at valuations surpassing $1 billion due to their potential in video. Therefore, if your intuition tells you to invest more in video production, editing, and promotion, you are most likely onto something. However, you might be wrong at who is the most likely to watch your ads and get inspired to spend money after viewing your commercials on YouTube.

Millennials are the key audience when it comes to maximizing Return-On-Investment (ROI) from your video content marketing efforts, right? Wrong! At least, the findings based on a study conducted by Strike Social beg to differ as it found that advertisers spend 156 percent more to target millennials despite the fact that baby boomers’ view rate on the platform is 10% higher than their younger counterparts. Since YouTube is undeniably the heavyweight in online video, reaching 81% of all Americans on the internet, Strike Social examined a year’s worth of YouTube campaigns across 25 industries in the U.S and reached some groundbreaking findings on which generation is likely watch YouTube ads and who accounts for consumer expenses the most. In this article, we will discuss some of those findings as well as the fundamental elements of a successful video content campaign by explaining it through a real-world example.

As you may already know, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, with over 300 hours of content uploaded every minute. In recognition of this ever-emerging trend, Advertiser Perceptions, a research firm, found that 72 percent of marketers planned to invest in digital video ad dollars with YouTube in the next 12 months. While allocating more budget on video marketing campaigns than ever before, the majority of advertisers are neglecting baby boomers in the process and missing out on potential revenue. In fact, YouTube advertisers are targeting millennials the most, when actually this generation spends the least amount of money and is the least likely to watch your ads, as illustrated via a chart created by Strike Social below. According to Google, boomers have typed the word “YouTube” into the Google search engine 3,621 times per minute.

That being said, the study is not suggesting to ignore the other age groups and neither am I. The point here is to challenge any preconceived notions before developing a customized strategy in order to refrain from failing to engage an active audience on the platform. As mentioned above, the study examined the 25 industry groups and found boomers are a significant target for campaigns in 56% of them.  Those industries are Automotive, Business & Finance, Electronics, Entertainment, Food, Gambling, Health & Beauty, Healthcare & Insurance, Household appliances, Retail, Science & Technology, Telecommunications, and Travel. It’s worth noting that higher than average view rates were recorded for this generation in 13 of these 14 industries, with government & advocacy being the exception.

In terms of devices where video viewers are engaging and how, the study also unveiled some interesting results. Strike Social claims that phones, while producing the lowest view rate and completion rate, have a much higher click-through rate by view. For view rate, on the other hand, desktop comes in first. What these findings tell us is that if your goal is creating brand awareness rather than generating clicks, then shifting budget away from phones to computers would be a smart move. However, if your campaign is focused on conversions then you should target phones heavily.

Lastly, in the report, Strike Social draws close attention to the fact disclosed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: “Baby boomers (and older) account for nearly half (48%) of consumer expenses each year. In contrast, Gen X is responsible for only 34% of consumer expenses, while millennials account for 19%.” In other words, Boomers not only yield higher view rates on YouTube advertising more often but also represent nearly half of consumer expenditures in the U.S, while Millennials spend the least amount of money and are the least likely to watch YouTube ads.

What Makes a Video Content Marketing Campaign Highly Impactful

Neither YouTube as a channel nor video as a content type is an untapped area for marketers. If you want to stand out from the crowd on a platform where over 300 hours of content is uploaded every minute, your campaign needs to encompass all aspects of what makes video content compelling. The first hint: no, you don’t need to hire a rock star. The second hint is that if there is one thing you should never compromise on, that’s the narrative quality of a story in your video.

Know your audience - At the end of the day, as a brand, your job is providing solutions in a form of either product or service to solve your audience’s problem. As Simon Sinek puts it, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." To solve a problem you need to first know who your audience is and then find out what their problem is. As a business, driving revenue is as important as thriving in high-impact storytelling thus it is prominent not to get caught in the conflict between metrics-minded ROI and unrestrained creative urge. To avoid having this dilemma, understanding what resonates with your target audience through data is key.

Raise the heat on every stage throughout the buyer’s journey - The customer journey can mean various things from various perspectives. However, from the content management perspective, creating a holistic content experience is vitally tied with understanding your customers’ needs. Therefore, if you would like to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time, you “must” document your customer’s journey.

Even though there is no one single way to create your Customer Journey Map and you can divide the process into as many stages applicable to your business, let’s name the first stage as the awareness stage where your target prospects have just become aware of the fact that there is a problem. This is the first interaction and there is no guarantee of love at first sight. As they are experiencing and acknowledging the symptoms of a need or an issue, it would definitely be a good time to help them understand and identify their problem/situation, while they need things like comparison and in-depth review on the second stage as they now have clearly defined their problems or needs and it is time to speak to solutions.

You may see that every stage requires a different approach and messaging to encourage consumers to move forward in the sales funnel. Therefore, videos that evoke some emotion such as humor may be the best candidate for the first stage – as Carl W. Buehner once famously said: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” During the second stage, on the other hand, an explainer video that your target audience can see the product/service in action can help encourage potential customers towards purchase. As the final stage, it is time to get official, you need to show why you’re the best! Their goal is to make an informed decision leading to a peace of mind agreement. This stage is critical for developing a relationship with your customer. Therefore, instead of having a static “About Us” page with a bunch of pictures, a creative video that introduces your company culture can cut through the noise and stand out from the literally hundreds of digital solutions and providers.

Zendesk, a customer service software provider, represents one of the most successful brands when it comes to tapping into the power of video content and raising the heat throughout the buyer’s journey. Zendesk creates so many short and compelling videos but their trick is that in the videos they do not go on and on about their products. However, their brilliantly curated plot makes the audience find out more about the brand’s products and services. They often promote entertaining and short-form videos so people can easily and eagerly share those videos on social media. To put this into perspective, here is an example of how Zendesk raises brand awareness through funny videos while conveying a message about what their expertise area is without even mentioning about themselves:

I mean, don’t you want to learn more about what they have to offer to help organizations overcome those customer service clichés, after watching this hilarious video? With this particular video, for instance, Zendesk aims at encouraging their target prospects to get familiar with the brand. When it comes to using video content in an eccentric way such as an “About Us” video mentioned above, Zendesk also nailed it with this video below that again uses humor to get their message across:


When you really think about it, YouTube started as an entertainment platform with a young audience, and today it has become the second largest search engine where we try to find an answer for what NASA’s most recent experiment on Mars is to how to change a car tire. The magic behind YouTube’s incredible success mostly comes from the nature of video - storytelling which has an enormous potential to increase user involvement with the information being delivered. Therefore, it is mission critical for marketers to take full advantage of this powerful content type. To maximize ROI for their video content marketing campaigns, they do not have the luxury to ignore this viable boomer and senior user base and their inordinately high potential for generating engagement and purchase power, if applicable to the market they serve in.

Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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