Charlie (not his real name) is in the class of 2010 at a prestigious high school in Los Angeles. His grades are mostly A’s with some B’s. He excels at languages (yes, multiple), is athletic, and is musically talented. He has an Imelda-size collection of size 13 sneakers that serves as his ‘photo album’. He was moved by his experience on a short term mission trip to Peru to aspire to be in medicine and make a difference in the world. In short, he’s an interesting young man headed for a top notch college — in other words, every parent’s (and marketer’s) dream.
Like most Millennials 18 and under, Charlie likes to spend time online. According to Nielsen, the average teenager spends about 11 hours a month online, much less than the 29 hours adults spend, but still high considering they are less likely to be sitting in front of a computer all day for work. There is also mounting evidence that younger Millennials are less avid users of social media to stay in touch with friends, preferring to use text messaging and IM to Facebook or MySpace. (The average teen sends over 740 text messages a month.)
What does Charlie’s Web look like? Well, on my last trip to California I asked him for a tour. I was already familiar with some of the sites he likes, including humor sites like CollegeHumor.com , Onion.com, TextsfromLastNight.com, FailBlog.com and FMyLife. He also shared a few sites I hadn’t heard of before. Here are a few of the sites he shared with me. They fall into two general categories, humor and music:
TodaysBigThing.com: Billed as the “Awesomest Thing on the Web”, it is what it says, an edited collection of the best videos from other humor sites. I especially enjoyed “Bat Prank”, “What Your Cats Do While You are at Work”, and “What to Do on a Date” (hilarious re-tracking of a fifties educational video). Other tabs take you to entertainment videos like a montage of the title line from dozens of movies, sports videos, technology, music, animals, etc. According to Alexa, traffic skews heavily male 18-24, the average time spent on the site is over 5 minutes.
Break.com Funny videos of people breaking things, mostly themselves. The first six titles include: “Eric Parkour fail Compilation”, “Skater crushing his nuts on a rail”, “Brutal hockey check knocks out player”, “Karate mater flips over plane”, “Unconscious guy gets humped by dog” and “Brazilian guy loses bike and slams into post”. You get the idea. There is a channel just for ‘epic falls’ (“Guy loses pants during wedding”). Break also skews heavily to young men under 24, but gets more traffic than TodayBigThing, ranking among the top 500 sites on the web.
mylife isaverage.com Like FMyLife.com only less dramatic and very entertaining. Sample: “Today, a customer by the name of Victor Krumm called my work. Hesitantly, I asked him if he was familiar with Harry Potter. There was a pause, then he said in a worried, hushed tone, “Damn! The muggles know!” And hung up. I still don’t know what he was calling for originally. MLIA.”
isittoday.com Hard to explain, just try it.
funnyordie.com More funny videos, you can watch the top picks or vote on your own. Currently popular? “We Are Douchebags” (from Douchebag Solidarity – “A reclaimed word is a word in a language that was at one time a pejorative but has been brought back into acceptable usage.” According to Alexa, FunnyOrDie.com skews heavily male as well, but has a slightly older profile – 18-34 – and more college age viewers than the sites above.
r33b.net The Hypnotoad. That’s it. That’s all there is. (Hint: Turn your speakers down before clicking)
Kurt Hugo Schneider videos: Don’t Stop Believin’ and Michael Jackson Medley (Sam Tsui sings all the parts a capella in both of these videos, wow!). College Musical episodes 1-5 also features Sam Tsui singing “I Want to Bone My TA”, very good!).
What does this tell us? Young men love funny videos of all kinds, and they don’t rely just on YouTube to find them. It’s easy to become overly focused on the big three social media sites, but for marketers hoping to make a video go ‘viral’ with young men, there are other places that may be just as important.