Women OK With Online Video Advertising

According to a cooperative study between Nielsen and the Today Show, women aged 25-44 are a major force behind the rapid adoption of online video content in the U.S. The study uncovered not only when, but how and why women use online video in their daily lives.

Four key themes stood out, says the report:

  • Streaming among women is governed in large part by life stage and daily to-do lists, rather than age or employment status
  • Digital mindsets change over the course of the day and vary according to time, mood, location and "available mindshare"
  • The value of video as "social currency" is on the rise, leading some women to largely favor links suggested by friends
  •  Emotional triggers impact viewing, specifically the types of content consumed

Jen Brown, Director of strategy and development for, says "This research is incredibly powerful... (with) insights into how our audience consumes online video... keeps us ahead of the trends... a clear advantage as we... plan the launch of new features for both consumers and advertisers... "

The study revealed that demographics are only part of the story.

Though It was plausible to think that stay-at-home women would have the highest Internet engagement, says the report, the study revealed that Internet use among working women with kids (a group that might otherwise have the least available time to spend online) was extremely strong. Moreover, women aged 35 to 44 had stronger digital activity, outpacing their younger counterparts in this category. This spike in activity revealed that workplace video consumption was much more common than originally expected.

Of the women in this study, more than half reported watching video during the course of the day while at work. A 35-year-old paralegal says that "... we generally watch short videos anywhere from one minute to five minutes."

Digital mindsets for watching video change dramatically throughout the day, says the report. Clicking on links to watch videos happens multiple times a day as women "snack" frequently on different types of digital content:

  • In the morning, women are regimented with a strong sense of purpose and information gathering. Often before they even get out of bed, women go online to check news, weather, stocks and personal "news" via social networks and email, utilizing bookmarks and other tools to make their online time as efficient as possible.
  • As the day evolves, entertaining and functional content (how-to videos) occupies more mindshare. Coupon sites and online shopping typically vied with games and recipe hunts among study panelists as late afternoon pursuits.
  • For non-workers, large chunks of time are devoted to searching for deals or collect-and-win points for grocery and other household items. "... I love to save money," said a 28 year-old respondent in the study. "... I will spend all day long [couponing] until my husband gets home."
  • When the stress of the day starts to deplete their energy, women frequently seek out inspirational video content that brings meaning to their day and engages them.

In August 2010, more than 25 million women streamed videos from social media platforms, up nearly 50% from the previous year, with a raft of new offerings enabling consumers to connect big TVs to the Web.

  • The 50% spike in streamed videos from social sites, spanning jokes and entertaining news content to video of a child's piano recital, indicates the power of links shared by women with family and friends. Women are also much heavier consumers of video through social sharing sites, over-indexing by 11% compared with their male counterparts.
  • For some women, links sent by friends were considered to be of "higher value" since they are trusted sources, compared to blanket emails from unknown sources which are often associated with online scams and phishing.

Emotional triggers such as the need to relieve stress, boredom and feelings of loneliness contributed greatly to overall video consumption, and, more specifically, drove women to seek out "happy" and uplifting content. While these women over-index for consumption of digital news content, when it comes to video, they are more compelled to seek out absorbing, entertaining news content (time-shifted TV, movies, funny videos). To escape the stress of the work day, women turn to surfing, looking at videos of cute animals, reading jokes and other "happy things." These online activities balance out their day and contribute to their overall sense of well-being.

The behavioral analysis indicated that women across all segments were streaming more entertainment-related content than anything else. Women aged 25 to 54 allocate 76% of their total streams to entertainment content.

The women in the survey were pragmatic about the price of flexible, free content. "I think it's only fair that there be advertising online. As we increasingly find the bulk of our entertainment there... companies need a way to reach consumers... I am a very susceptible target for... a well-crafted commercial... that looks cool or at least has some great packaging... " reasoned a 27 year-old, single respondent.

The report opines that "marketers will need to develop attention-grabbing creative and salient, impactful messages that can be delivered in online video in order to truly engage this audience... "

For additional information from Nielsen, please visit here.

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