Summer has often been known as one of the “quieter” periods for brands when it comes to digital and video content. The most common argument we hear in the video industry is: it’s summer; no one is inside watching TV or messing around on their computer. We’re going to wait until the fall. Not all operations necessarily stop, but needless to say content production has been known to take a nose dive during the warmer months of the year.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand this line of thinking and agree that, for the most part, the better part of the population would much rather be outside enjoying the nice weather or engaging in summer activities, rather than be inside watching TV or watching videos on YouTube.
Experts have said for years that the amount of people watching TV in general has decreased – especially the number of people watching (or not watching, rather) TV in the summer. In fact, according to MarketChart’s media study from 2011-2015, the third quarter (July, August, September) has the lowest amount of viewers among all age groups.
The summer has often been known for a few blockbuster TV shows here and there, but the majority of the big-name productions air during the winter months, when viewer counts are at their strongest. Like the TV industry, many marketers actually plan their branded content to appear seasonally in Q1, Q2 and Q4 to maximize their total engagement, which is undoubtedly a smart move.
But is it the smartest?
Marketers are forgetting one major factor that may prove this is a changing trend, and they must plan for year-round content to maximize sales and growth. Why? Mobile devices. Sounds silly, considering the amount of articles that appear in the paper about the amount of time we’re spending on our smart phones every week. Yes, it’s summer; yes, the weather is nice, people are out at parks, spending time at the cottage, swimming, playing sports, vacationing and travelling, but that doesn’t mean they’ve completely disconnected. I personally will admit when I go on holidays I do my best to unplug, which means leaving my phone in a secure place because me + water = $600 out of my pocket. No thanks. I would argue that in this scenario, I’m the exception, not the rule, and most people have their phone on them almost all the time, even in the summer.
TV viewing numbers are down because no one wants to sit inside at the nicest time of the day and watch a show. They’re more than likely to skip it, stream it, or otherwise find a way to view it at a different date. The major difference in online video is the boundaries. As long as your video is optimized for mobile devices, viewers aren’t limited to a) when they can view it; b) how they can view it; or c) how they decide to engage with it. And the fact is, people aren’t occupied with the outdoors 24/7. There’s more than enough downtime to do some scrolling regardless of season, especially for the millennial generation.
The other factor to consider is the competition. With many brands focusing on other points during the year for content, that means fewer videos to compete with online. Is that going to be true 100 per cent of the time? Not exactly, as there are still brands out there that campaign year-round to maintain their dedicated consumer base, but it may very well give your brand an edge when it comes to maximizing engagement and virality potential.