Using Video to Capture the Elusive Millennial Man

This text was originally published on AdAge.com

Marketers have amassed an impressive amount of data on millennial men—where they live, how much disposable income they have, which social channels they frequent, where they eat. Of all the stats out there on this audience, one in particular is worth noting: Millennial males spend 2 hours and 15 minutes a week watching Web videos, according to Nielsen—more than any other demographic.

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Expedition Greenland

What does this mean for marketers? Simply put, if you’re targeting younger men, a robust online video strategy should be part of the plan.

Yet all online videos are not created equal. Reaching the distracted millennial male means running videos that stand out amid the clutter. Easier said than done? Perhaps. But effective video efforts share a few things in common:

Good videos tell a good story. It sounds obvious, but it still proves tricky for many marketers. The best videos speak to the target audience’s passions—or pain points. There’s the common misconception that audiences, particularly millennials, don’t want to be marketed to. But if the story is strong and the advertising message is organically woven into the piece, the video will resonate with the audience in a way that other mediums alone can’t. Create stories that inform and entertain—presenting tension, answers and emotion—and people will listen.

They meet the audience where they are. A good story is critical, but it’s not enough on its own. Successful marketing efforts of any kind have to be where the audience is and, increasingly, that’s on mobile devices. A June 2014 study by Mitek and Zogby Analytics found that nearly 90% of millennial smartphone users said their phones never left their side—and 80% said they reached for their phone right when they woke up. In other words, this audience is on their phones. The beauty of video is that it travels well cross-device, so whether the target is on his phone—or tablet, laptop, desktop or watching TV—he can see the video.

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Chasing the Light

They’re discoverable and shareable. Mobile goes hand-in-hand with social, of course, and that combination packs a powerful punch when it comes to online video. With 70% of millennial men using social networking sites, according to Nielsen, the opportunity is clear. It’s not enough for a video to simply live on a website. Using sites such as Facebook and YouTube to promote posts and add targeting layers can extend the audience significantly and deliver meaningful engagement (e.g., likes, comments, shares).

They call in the big guns. There’s an ocean of content on the Web; getting lost in it is a very real concern for marketers. Using a trusted name will not only draw viewers to the video, it can also bring it to life by adding to its credibility and strengthening the story it tells. Depending on the audience, a big name could be an industry expert, a well-respected piece of research or a heavyweight brand partner. Having that name recognition will add to the authenticity of the piece and increase the chance that the video will stand out among all the other pieces of content vying for the millennial male’s attention.

Good videos live on—even after the campaign is over. Engaging content—especially engaging video content—continues working for a brand even after a campaign has officially ended. Amassing a library of strong video content on owned channels gives marketers an ongoing opportunity. With the endless torrent of posts coming across social channels, the occasional “ICYMI” (In Case You Missed It) Tweet, email or Facebook post can help people discover—or rediscover—that video.

Marketing home runs are hard to guarantee, but a few smart steps can go a long way. With online video, using storytelling, savvy mobile and social strategies, authentic partners and a smart follow-up plan will significantly increase your chances of reaching—and resonating with—the millennial male.