A new study by Total Beauty Media Group uncovered some surprising insights into how women consume online video.
It's no secret that online video is hot: Spending on online video ads rose 27 percent in 2012, with more than 11 billion video ads viewed in December alone. Women are as enthusiastic viewers as men, with 87 percent of women surveyed viewing video online.
One surprise of the What Women Watch study is that, overall, desktop computers are the most commonly used devices -- more than laptops even -- although 70 percent own a mobile device. The report said this is due to the greater comfort in watching a large screen, along with concern about eating up minutes in a data plan. However, Millennial (aged 25 to 34) are less likely than young Boomer women (aged 45 to 54) to watch the desktop (39 percent versus 27 percent) and more likely to use a phone (24 percent of Millennials vs. 14 percent of young Boomers).
The survey, conducted in December 2012, used an online panel with 610 respondents, all female, with a median age of 35. Close to half of the women had children. There was not a significant number of Generation X women to include in the results.
Not surprising is their lack of interest in premium video content. Less than 35 percent of the women paid for video. The video content they were most likely to pay for was movies and TV shows. They will pay for movies and TV shows, however. Almost 40 percent of women purchase movies, while 17 percent will pay for TV shows.
"They don't necessarily want to engage in branded content. They want to watch it on their terms … wherever they want, without being interrupted," said Ethelbert Williams, head of marketing for Total Beauty Media Group
There were some generational differences. The survey results compared the online viewing habits of young Boomer women to Millennial women.
"When we look at millennial women, more than 30 percent are consuming more than 30 minutes of online programming a day. These consumers are willing to sit down and do that -- and they're doing it daily," Williams said.
Marketers focused on pre-roll or interstitial ads might be missing the mark, Williams said.
More than 80 percent of all the women surveyed found these ads really annoying. They preferred sharing personal demographic information or answering short surveys to unlock premium content -- especially when it's a trusted brand doing the asking.
What Women Watch found that young Boomer women were more likely to view video content in the morning, while Millennials tend to snack on video content throughout the day. Nevertheless, almost 50 percent of Millennials watch a clip between 5 p.m and 10 p.m.
Total Beauty also found high engagement with YouTube. Some 60 percent of Millennials subscribe to YouTube channels that reflect specific interests. Young Boomers are also fans of YouTube, with 40 percent subscribing to YouTube channels.
Williams said that branded YouTube channels let marketers reach women no matter when they want to watch. "Brands and publishers interested in reaching them need to build affinity with more than just a single piece of video," he said. "It's not about going viral, it's about getting them engaged in channels."
Fans who subscribe to a channel are more likely to find it when they log in and get recommendations or if they've subscribed to a daily email digest. Williams said that Google has changed its algorithms to reward channels that keep viewers clicking on more recommended videos in the sidebar by positioning them higher in search results.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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