Everyone seems to be using video these days from online meetings & classes, streaming live on social media, and watching YouTube, video is integrated into our everyday lives. The question is, who makes up that “everyone” engaging with video online: What age groups are consuming online video, and how do they use it? 

We decided it was worth a bit of a deeper dive. Each generation uses video differently and for video marketing purposes it’s important to understand how rather it’s for entertainment or to gather information– video provides a wealth of knowledge and shared enjoyment.

We even asked our audience on LinkedIn about what age group they think uses video the most. Out of 18 responses, it’s right down the middle.

50% say Millennials and 50% say Gen Z with no respondents choosing Gen X or Baby Boomers.

These numbers sure are interesting so let’s break down the video habits of each generation and what this means for video marketing! 


Gen Z (Age 9-24)

Generation Z, makes up 32% of the world’s population and as digital natives, they spend most of their time watching videos on social media with 76% visiting YouTube at least weekly and 74% of Gen Z spending their free time online. 

With 98% of Gen Z owning a smartphone, they like to express themselves online by sharing photos and videos. And with social media at their fingertips, a lot of the videos watched are user-generated. Popular YouTubers include Emma Chamberlain, James Charles, and Shane Dawson. These creators are relatable and allow viewers to directly interact with them through Patreon links, comments, and other social media. This makes their video content more effective because viewers are engaged and are more inclined to trust someone they see on their screens going about their daily lives. These popular vloggers even influence their audience to create videos and start channels of their own. Gen Z also likes to watch music videos featuring current artists in addition to online personalities. 

Additionally, with 35% of Gen Z watching video content on Instagram weekly, 9:16 style videos like Tik Tok and IG Reels offer an incredible way to get Gen Z engaging with your brand! To draw Gen Z into your account keep the video 15-60 seconds long and create fun, engaging content like…

  • Behind the scenes
  • Relate to a current meme or event
  • Lip syncing videos using a popular audio
  • Dancing videos
  • How-to / tutorial videos

Overall, of people ages 13-18, 73% say they watch video on their smartphones with seven in 10 teens spending more than three hours a day watching mobile video content.

It’s clear Gen Z is drawn to video especially through social media. And the key to attracting Gen Z via video is to keep it short and relevant! 


Millennials (Age 25-40)

Whereas 28% of Gen Z prefer to watch video content on their smartphones, only 6% of Millennials say the same. Millennials spend a considerable amount of time watching video content, but they prefer to leisurely watch video on TV. According to YPulse, 41% of Millennials spend the most time watching video on TV rather than a smartphone. As for YouTube, 61% of millennials watch videos on YouTube weekly, which is a lot, but still less than Gen Z.

Millennials and Gen Z are similar in that they watch a lot of their news online and on social media. 64% of Millennials watch news online and because of this, they are more likely to see video content and online advertisements. 

However, keep the advertisements less sales-y as 66% of Millennials are turned off by promotional ads. 

Millennials have the most spending power out of any generation at a combined $600 billion every year with 85% going on to buy a product after seeing a video of it. So for video marketers, your goal for Millennials is to create videos that include product demos, tutorials, and customer testimonials to keep it less promotional and more relatable. Millennials want to see you actually using the product!


Gen X (Age 41-56) and Baby Boomers (Age 57-75)

Overall, Millennials and Gen Z consume more media and video than Gen X and Baby Boomers and it’s obvious why given that both generations grew up in a digital world. Compared to Boomers, Millennials are 150% more likely to use video to make shopping decisions. But marketers shouldn’t ignore the power of Gen X and Baby Boomers completely. 

Gen X is responsible for 1.5B daily views on YouTube and many are drawn to nostalgic videos that relate to past events or people. When you create videos for the Gen X crowd consider adding throwback hits if your video calls for music. Additionally,  73% of Gen Xers watch videos on YouTube to learn how to do something such as a DIY so your content needs to be educational and informative in order to make an impact.

And remember the resourceful Gen X is busy with their careers and family so make content short, but digestible to hold their attention.

Unlike the other generations, Baby Boomers still embrace traditional media with 51% watching the news on TV. This generation may not have grown up with social media, but they still wield great power with all their free time and high disposable income. Over 50% of Baby Boomers watch video online with 82% preferring YouTube.

In the end, all age groups favor video such as to watch the news, follow vloggers, watch DIYs, or to shop. Video makes content relatable and provides valuable information and entertainment that can be watched at any moment in time. 

It is estimated that in 2021, the average person will spend at least 100 minutes per day watching online videos. Video is a powerful force and this fast-expanding medium is fueling the future of marketing. 

Video transcends all demographics, but with the statistics above it’s important to recognize how each age group uses video in order to cater your marketing efforts.