How TV Networks Can Use Online Video To Encourage Millennials To Watch Their Shows

Eighty percent of Millennials will watch a TV show if a promo has been shared with them. That’s according to our latest report, which looks at how TV networks can use online video to encourage more people to watch their shows.

It also found that Millennials are 10% less likely to share TV promo content than the average TV viewer, suggesting that TV marketers are failing to create content that resonates with Millennials.

Furthermore, US Millennials spend less time watching TV than any other demographic, according to Nielsen, showing that networks are struggling to connect with a Millennial audience.

So how can marketers create content that better resonates with Millennials? Here are 9 tips from Unruly’s The Science of Sharing: TV Promos and The Millennial Shift that can drive Millennial tune-in through their TV promos:

1. Make your audience laugh

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Millennials are social creatures who love to share. In our study, strong emotions of hilarity, happiness, amazement and nostalgia were the key drivers for Millennial video engagement.

In fact, the most intrinsically shareable piece of content was the Jimmy Kimmel Live clip, “YouTube Challenge – I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy 2014”, which elicited intense emotions of hilarity, happiness, shock, and even disgust in this case at the kids’ behavior.

2. Include “social utility” in your social motivations

It’s important to brief your content producers on the social motivations most likely to inspire Millennials, such as social utility, conversation starting and zeitgeist, which all performed well with Millennials.

Ask your team to focus on triggering a diverse range of social motivations that will appeal to the majority of your audience.

3. Give your show title and network more airtime in your promos

Our study found that show recall was terrible. Network marketers need to brand their promos and give the title greater presence in the spot. Multiple research studies show there is no correlation between the level of branding and video shareability, so don’t hesitate to brand your promos!

4. Make your content available on Millennials’ terms

No one can tell a Millennial what to do, so you need to make your content available on their terms. Launch your content in social players customized to enable Millennials’ social and sharing habits. By using skippable pre-roll or user-initiated video on multiple devices, you are leaving the choice up to Millennials.

5. Distribute your TV promos at the speed of social

You have to get your content seen quickly before Millennials move on. Your video’s viral peak is on the day after launch, and nearly half of total promo shares occur in the first 3 days. You have a very short window to maximize the views and shares of your content to kick start a viral cascade and drive tune-in to time sensitive TV launches.

6. Engage the Open Web

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Altogether 72% of video views occur on the Open Web, with only 15.7% on YouTube or on the YouTube embedded player, and 12% on Facebook. The rest of the viewing happens on the billion+ websites outside of these closed platforms, so it’s important to distribute your content in the relevant environments and websites where your target is already consuming content.

7. Targets fans to maintain tune-in and new viewer to grow ratings

Use programmatic targeting to pinpoint your audience online and target both fans and potential viewers using different data segments.

You can also use TV syncing to launch your online promos at the same time as your on-air promos and use moment marketing to ambush competitive air schedules.

8. Create more original promos

Original promos (newly-filmed original content often featuring one or more actors) are the most viral TV promo format and networks should make more of them! They provide additional information and backstories to fan-favorite programs. As you make your original promos, be sure to take care to explain the scenario and include exposition to explain the characters’ predicaments.

9. Make your player tech work harder

We know Millennial sharing drives tune-in, so customize your sharing buttons to the platforms Millennials regularly use to make it as easy as possible to share.

Use social annotations at key moments with a sharing call to action to further inspire peer to peer sharing. Or, use the social feed app to show Millennial viewers the conversation already taking place around the show.