Marketing to Generation Xers on YouTube

Woman hands holding an Apple iPhone 4. iPhone 4 displaying "loading video screen" of Youtube application. We all know that millennials are discussed a lot these days, but Google has just released results from their research on Generation X and their behavior on YouTube. As a Gen Xer myself, born between the mid-1960’s and late 1970’s – my generation saw a lot of changes in the way the world communicates. We witnessed the birth of life-changing innovations such as the internet, boomboxes, mobile phones, VCR’s, and DVD players. And yes, the boombox changed my life, as did my beloved Walkman.

YouTube has become something of a time travelling device for this nostalgic generation. I know my hubby and I have, on more than a few occasions, used the power of YouTube to show our children old cartoon clips, commercials and songs and effectively blew their little minds.

According to Pixability, Generation X accounts for over 1.5 billion views everyday on YouTube.  To grasp a better understanding of Gen Xers’ preferences in regards to their YouTube activity, Google conducted a survey-based analysis along with Ipsos Connect and Flamingo. They discovered that Gen Xers’ behavior on YouTube reflects their ability to self-start, their desire to be in the know, and their love of nostalgia. 

1. 75% of Gen Xers watch YouTube videos that relate to past events or people

The top types of nostalgic videos Gen Xers are watching are videos that relate to old music, events, people, or videos that have to do with past entertainment, pop culture or commercials.

I mean, who hasn’t searched Tiffany’s top hit, I Think We’re Alone Now? Or how about Flintstones selling cigarettes, and creepy old McDonalds commercials? The flashbacks are endless thanks to YouTube.

2. 68% of Generation X watches YouTube videos to keep up-to-date on news and pop culture

The top 3 things Gen Xers rely on YouTube for are:Mother and daughter enjoying wireless technology

  • to stay in-the-loop about what their children are interested in
  • to connect with their kids
  • to stay informed about what is happening in the world around them.

I am guilty of this. Most recently, I was searching YouTube for videos on Five Nights at Freddy’s to see what all the hype is about. I also regularly check my 10 year old son’s YouTube channel (feel free to “smash that subscribe button”) to get insights on what he is interested in and to make sure he isn’t posting anything inappropriate.

3. 73% watch YouTube videos to learn how to do things

The top 5 DIY content categories Gen Xers look to YouTube for are:

  • home repair and improvement
  • cooking
  • technology use and repair
  • arts and crafts
  • beauty and personal care

This reminds me of how proud my friend Nadine was when she changed the water pump on her car after watching a how-to YouTube video because she was tired of repeatedly asking her husband to do it. I too have turned to YouTube for things like setting up my son’s Xbox Live and learning how to apply the perfect winged eyeliner (I am still terrible) and many other reasons.

So why does this matter for marketers? Well, you always want to be where people’s eyes are; and according to the same Google research survey, 64% of Gen Xers bought a product or service that they saw in a YouTube video when they were researching how to do something. This means that there is a large audience and a powerful opportunity for marketers to utilize.

To learn more about YouTube advertising and keep up with the latest Google data, give us a call today or, as my son would say, smash that subscribe button!

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