An Interactive Advertising Bureau report showing that social media sites are closing the gap with word-of-mouth in driving United States adults to discover original digital video content means marketers must aim more resources at this growing audience, especially Internet-only TV viewers.
The IABs 2015 Original Digital Video Study found that young consumers who rely solely on Netflix, iTunes and the rest of the Internet for TV are twice as likely as other adults to view original digital video. The findings suggest that brands and media buyers need to be aware not only of the growing popularity of original digital video, but also recognize the various screens where the content is consumed to connect with millennials on mobile.
We believe that digital video and mobile budgets will go up substantially in the coming years, said Anna Bager, senior vice president of mobile and video for IAB and general manager of the IAB Mobile Marketing and Digital Video Centers of Excellence. Smart marketers will set aside a portion of their budgets to test the unique capabilities of the digital video space across screens.
Digital video and advanced TV have moved into the mainstream and are no longer a side conversation, but the main conversation, she said.
The IAB study, conducted by GfK April 7-14, found that while word-of-mouth came first in the discovery of original digital video content with 53 percent of research subjects, social media sites played a larger role approaching twice that of two years ago (42 percent vs. 24 percent in 2013).
Likes and follows by regular original digital video viewers on Facebook and Twitter increased 10 percentage points over last year (24 percent vs. 14 percent).
Fifty-five percent of regular viewers of made-for-digital video programming said they have greater social media interactions than they do during traditional TV even when it comes to primetime TV fare (39 percent).
The study also substantiates earlier IAB research showing that connected TVs are gaining ground and that those who enjoy made-for-digital content are watching that programming more and more by streaming to traditional television sets.
Researchers screened more than 1,900 people aged 18 and up for viewing of online video. Full interviews were completed with 856 people 18 and older who viewed online video at least once a month.
Streaming video on Amazon.
In another important finding, 24 percent of adult Americans, or about 59 million people, turn to original digital video programming at least once a month, up 13 percent from a year ago.
The study also determined that viewers who eschew cable and satellite stations in favor of watching Internet-based TV also known as cord cutters or nevers (as in never connected) are about twice as likely as other adults to view original digital video.
Fifty-three percent of cord-cutters and 63 percent of cord-nevers see this type of programming as very or somewhat important in their decision not to have pay TV.
In addition, cord-cutters/nevers are inclined to find the ads shown during this type of programming to be more interesting or fun (43 percent). Thirty five percent of the general original digital viewing audience agree about the likability of the ads on this content.
Connected TVs (56 percent), smartphones (56 percent), and tablets (48 percent) are used to stream original digital video more than twice as often as two years ago, while computer viewing of original digital video (72 percent) remains steady.
Sixty-five percent of those who stream original digital video to connected TVs state that they typically watch during primetime and 53 percent of them report they are doing so more than they did a year ago, largely driven by more, and more interesting, content along with ease of use of connected TVs.
The statistics are the latest reason for brand marketers to ramp up efforts to reach millennials, who also are cord-cutters, by engaging them on mobile and in a place close to their hearts, such as YouTube.
While the growth in cord cutters has the potential to disrupt TV marketing, which typically attracts the biggest chunk of ad revenue, surging online viewing offers marketers an opportunity to target viewers with more relevant and measurable campaigns.
And since online viewers generally are not able to skip ads, the likelihood goes up that an ad will be seen.
IABs study offers evidence that marketers need to use digital video to create a bond with the younger community.
MTV's video app.
You need to understand content consumption patterns across screens and create an integrated marketing plan to take full advantage of them, Ms. Bager said. Brand and marketers need to deeply understand these platforms, so they can develop the creative that works best.
Mobile is a huge part of this mix, she said.
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York.