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Viewpoint: Social plus video equals generational ROI

Contributing Writer //February 24, 2020//

Viewpoint: Social plus video equals generational ROI

Contributing Writer //February 24, 2020//

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Is it just us or does anyone else think Generation X should be renamed the Generation of Firsts? We were the first gamers, first bloggers, invented MySpace and Twitter. We practically gave birth to the internet.

Well, that’s not true. Accolades for that go to UCLA computer science professor Len Kleinrock — a boomer. On Oct. 29, 1969, Kleinrock sent the first message on ARPANET, a network of computers that would evolve to become the internet. We’ll give them that, but social media?

Generation X put it on the map, although many of us Xers still struggle to understand the nuances of online social dynamics. I mean, Xers are hanging on to Facebook with a death grip while millennials and Gen Zers are spitting out new social networks at an alarming rate.

Take Facebook, which launched on Feb. 4, 2004, (happy belated birthday by the way) and now has over 2.5 billion monthly active users, yet its popularity has been declining with younger generations. Only 36% of Generation Z use Facebook at least once a week, compared to 87% of millennials, 90% of Generation Xers, and 96% of baby boomers.

It takes us Gen Xers a hot minute to jump onto the next social craze, but one thing Gen Xers have going for themselves is an ability to grasp the gravity of this space, time-bending technology (Okay, we’ll admit that’s a Star Trek reference, but we are talking about the future here).

We recognized social media’s extraordinary potential before it became a thing, and even though millennials and Generation Z practically grew up in front of a screen, we were there on the first day of the social media revolution and have watched it grow into the behemoth it is today.

Video has found its place on social media platforms, with 82% of consumer traffic being web video. As video producers and online creators, it’s a match made in heaven. Finally, after years of broadcast dominance, we now had alternative channels to deliver content, and advertisers found an affordable media option.

You see, before the onset of the internet, we produced branded videos for mass audiences in the form of broadcast commercials. Occasionally, we would produce corporate videos that were used internally to communicate with employees about policies like wearing jeans on Fridays or Bring Your Pet to Work Day.

The cost of buying media to run a broadcast commercial often determined the cost of producing the video. In other words, if you were able to put more money toward a media buy you’d probably end up with very little to put toward a video. Conversely, if you put more toward production and skimped on media you wouldn’t have a big enough audience to see the video.

Ahhh, but then a Gen Xer came along and a new way to reach people with video was born. People are changing, media consumption is changing and how consumers connect with information is changing. For example, 89% of Generation Z, 88% of millennials, 81% of Generation X, and 86% of baby boomers use social media daily.

Mobile devices and easier access to the internet have made it so people can step from behind their desks and binge on social media from anywhere. They’re thumbing through their favorite social media feeds, liking, disliking and sharing everything from vacation photos to cat videos. People turn to social media to connect with friends and family, but they’re also there to be entertained. Around 100 million hours of video are watched every day on Facebook, and according to YouTube statistics, more video is consumed on their platform than any other social network. Over 1 billion hours of video are watched daily on YouTube in 88 countries and 76 languages.

Even video lengths have changed. We live in an age where people want information fast and in bite-size pieces. A video that is one or two minutes, 30 seconds, or even 15 seconds is becoming too long to tell a story. There is still a place for these “long” format videos, but some as short as six seconds are becoming standard.

So cheers to social media old and new. Video-producing Gen Xers like us will be here waiting with open arms for the next Chat Snap, Twittergram or Instaface. Again, video will play a part in the next wave of popular social media, or until the day people are no longer interested in viewing videos. One thing we definitely don’t see happening.

Data sources include,,

On Feb. 27, the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce and the Charleston American Marketing Association will host a lunch and learn titled Social Media ♥ Video. Speakers Mike Compton and George Zwierko of Three Chairs Productions will talk about this love affair between social media and video. Visit for details. Compton is executive producer at Three Chairs Productions and director of membership for the Charleston American Marketing Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Zwierko is a principal at Three Chairs Productions and at Rumbo Multicultural Advertising.