Video Revolution: Navigating Gen Z’s Communication Landscape

Take a moment to think about our relationship with video and how it’s evolved even just in the past 2-3 years. Where do we get a lot of our purchase inspiration from? What is it we look for when working out how to do something or where to go on holiday? How are we communicating with each other in our daily work lives?  More often than not these things all involve video in some way.

Our behaviour in both the amount and the type of video we watch isn’t the only thing that has shifted, how we watch video can vary depending on the platform we are using to watch it.  For example 85% of videos on Facebook videos are read in silence with no audio. 5 years ago you’d have said that audio was an integral part of video and now a high proportion of us get alarmingly irate if there’s any audio at all on our Facebook videos.

Video production and video marketing has to adapt to human behaviour. 

Pre COVID, many of us broke into a cold sweat at the thought of turning on the video function on a Zoom or Teams call, in fact, most of us hadn’t heard of zoom let alone used it regularly. We collectively got over our self consciousness pretty quickly and for most of us being on camera is now so commonplace we hardly even think about it. 

These changes in our behaviour are happening constantly and at an increasingly rapid pace.

Now, consider the emerging generation of consumers Generation Z , generally defined as being born between 1997 – 2012, and the even younger Generation Alpha, currently school and pre-school kids. Technology, social networks, streaming services, the use of video in classrooms and pretty much all areas of their lives from birth will have a significant impact on how we effectively market to them in the future.

 

 

These incredibly tech and video savvy young people are fast becoming the heartland of consumer, and for them video isn’t A form of communication, it’s THE form of communication. In fact, research suggests Gen Z prefers face to face communication, rather than a call, text, email or still images. The twist here is that they consider zoom, facetime and video to be face to face.

YourFilm, recently conducted a market research project with the team at Insights Exchange to have a look at the emerging Australian consumer. We focussed on 18-24 year olds specifically to get a glimpse of how video marketing will need to evolve to be effective in the future.  

In this article, we’ll share a few of the insights in 4 of the key areas we looked at:

  • How Gen Z engages with short form video content

  • Their platform preferences and uses 

  • The type of short form video they watch

  • Why is video so important to this generation

Engagement

It’ll come as no shock to anyone that Gen Z watches a lot of video, but what is interesting about them is that nearly 90% of them are regularly engaging with short form video – not just watching, but engaging with it; commenting, liking, following, sharing and creating.

If you can get your customers actively engaging with your brand in, hopefully a positive way, that’s incredibly powerful (and potentially profitable!) and this audience is absolutely primed to do this. It’s up to us as brands and video production companies to find a way to create content that entices them to engage with our brand over someone else’s.

Platforms

Looking at the platforms the older consumer cohorts are currently using, when it comes to viewing video, YouTube & Facebook are firmly at the top, with Instagram in something of a distant 3rd position.  

That changes dramatically when we look at the emerging Gen Z.

You’ll see that Instagram leaps ahead to the number one spot ahead of YouTube, when you consider that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, this is substantial.  

YouTube, Facebook, TikTok & Snapchat are all very close behind in a fairly even field. 

With this generation TikTok & Snapchat are on par with the traditional powerhouses of YouTube & Facebook and Insta dominates, so these are platforms you can’t afford to ignore. As each of them has their own style and purpose it’s not necessarily a one size fits all when it comes to creating video content for all of them either.

Type of Video 

Taking a look at the type of video people are watching, what we’ve seen traditionally with the older demographics is that they are big on the How To’s, Testimonials and Explainer videos. 

Comparing this with the younger Generation Z there are some similarities, for example How To videos still feature high on the list, however the list is much more fragmented and we see a drop in things like product demos and reviews and live streaming and webinars almost drop off the list completely. We also see a range of new video types, or variations on the traditional types we are familiar with, such as POV’s (point of views) and hacks join the list.

The importance of influencers & personalities can’t be underestimated, this isn’t anything new however it’s clear that these personalities are the celebrity, authority and inspiration for this generation. 

Educational content is also important for this cohort, which is consistent across other demographics, but with the younger audience it has evolved to include not only the typical How To’s and Explainers we’re familiar with but also things like hacks, new trends, makeovers in many ‘life’ areas such as home, garden, car, beauty, fashion even finance and finally thrifting is making an appearance, which probably speaks to the economic and climate conscious world this cohort are growing up in.

Memes & entertainment always have and always will be strong, but we now see things like mindfulness and relaxation and POV’s (point of views), which can be considered forms of entertainment, moving up the list too.

Why is video so important to Gen Z?

Why are people engaging with video? This is an important thing to understand because if we can tap into this and speak to our audiences on this level we quickly build trust and rapport and become part of their world.

Broadly speaking the video content Gen Z consumes falls into one of 3 categories: Entertainment, Inspiration & Community. 

Learning new skills, education and sharing ideas is very much at the heart of each of these categories.  ‘Educational Video Content’ isn’t necessarily a stand alone category any longer – it’s a fundamental part of, or a thread that runs through, many different types and categories of video, sometimes subtle, sometimes direct but quite often there none-the-less.

Learning

A theme that came through consistently in the research was that this cohort relies on video in all aspects of their lives and learning in all areas is a big driver for them. From support with school or study to McDonald’s hacks to understanding the global geopolitical landscape, there is a desire to engage and learn in a quick, visual way from peers, influencers and communities, through content that either Entertains, Inspires or Connects them.

The Future of Video Marketing

What this all means for the future of video marketing remains to be seen, but a few takeaways from this article are:

Instagram is king and don’t ignore Tik Tok & Snapchat. There are now 5 major platforms to consider in your video marketing strategy, as opposed to the traditional 2-3.

The emerging consumer actively engages with video content, it’s not a passive viewing experience for them.

Tap into the human motivators of Entertainment, Inspiration & Community to create content your audience wants to engage with to ensure the relevance and success of your future video marketing. 

These are just our thoughts based on what we see in our day to day business as a video production company, supported by market research data, for you to take away and adapt into your worlds. 

When you’re ready to produce video content, talk to the team at YourFilm as we’re excited to see how businesses will evolve their video marketing strategies and content for the future and how we as a video production company can support this evolution.

YourFilm have video production packages to suit your budget and requirements, an experienced testimonial video production team and a wide network of +1,000 film crew across Australia & NZ. If you would like to see some of our work or find out more about video production solutions to fit your business needs contact the team at YourFilm.