I think it’s fair to say most of us have spent more time than ever online in the past year. Between trying to keep up with COVID-related news, staying in touch with loved ones while isolating, and giving in to any form of escapism, my screen time hit record numbers. And I know I’m not alone. In fact, if Snapchat’s most recent video research study is any indication, part of the reason we love being on our phones is because short-form videos are becoming irresistible. (If you’re the one creating these videos, this is great news.)
Between July and October 2020, the social platform teamed up with independent research consultancy Alter Agents to better understand how Generation Z and Millennials are engaging with content on their phones, or in their words: “to identify the emotional impact of viewing video on mobile platforms during a time of unprecedented social and political change.”
The findings could be helpful for creators who are looking to grow their communities with mobile video content. But first, here’s how the joint research study was conducted. The study recap reads:
“A 15 minute online survey was answered by 1,000 Gen Zers and millennials (13 to 34 year-olds) about their mobile video behaviors and how they have changed due to the pandemic. Second, thirty-five Gen Z and millennials watched mobile video content and neuroscience measures were collected using an approach developed by Immersion.”
What exactly is “Immersion?” According to Social Media Today, it’s a complex neuroscience element that utilizes “cardiac variability to measure a person’s emotional response to certain content. The idea here is that this is a more in-depth measure of an individual’s engagement with the content, and the format in which it’s presented.”
There are a lot of notable takeaways, the most obvious being COVID-19’s impact on increased video consumption. According to study results, 61% of participants are watching more videos on social media apps, 56% are watching more videos on streaming apps/platforms on a TV, and 52% are watching more videos on streaming apps/platforms on a smartphone.
Mobile videos also help participants relieve stress as much as they also cause frustration and stress. If you’re a publisher, creator, or advertiser, quality content is the most important factor of a mobile viewing experience.
“The lean-forward nature of mobile video and positive motivations outlined in the driver-mapping provides a heightened level of attention and emotional engagement when viewing ad content,” it reads. “Knowing that this natural dip can occur reinforces the importance of great, engaging creative that holds the user’s attention.”
Gen-Zers and Millennials also pay the most attention to videos that don’t take up a lot of their time. According to Snapchat, they have a “strong preference” for videos that are five minutes or less.
“Ultimately, brands should examine these learnings when developing creative and media recommendations. Consider why users turn to video on specific platforms and their resulting emotional experiences when placing media buys,” they continue. “Align messaging with the moods these videos attempt to satisfy. Mitigate for emotional dips from content to advertising through engaging, attention-grabbing creative.”
Check out the entire study here for more insights into how video performance varies according to social platform, including, of course, Snapchat.
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