key takeaways from vidcon 2016
Post on 13-Apr-2017
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from VidCon 2016 Justine Herz Director, Content & SocialOgilvyOne Worldwide
VidCon 2016 Rob Davis and I just returned from the 7th annual VidCon, the worlds biggest online video conference for 3 distinct audiences: Super Fans: fans can meet their favorite online
Creators Aspiring Creators: up-and-coming content
Creators can learn from top-level Creators and industry experts about everything from how to grow their subscriber base and how to monetize their channel to how to make a brand deal
Industry Leaders: brands, agencies, MCNs, media publishers, talent representatives act as observers, teachers, thought leaders and connectors in the world of influencer marketing
Here are a few key takeaways from the conference:
1) The online video audience is made up of impassioned super fans that build communities around specific niches or genres.
There are hundreds of channels and content creators dedicated to various niches, such as LGBTQ, books, sneakers, gaming, kids, beauty, technology, foodies, etc. The Creators themselves dont want to be the next generation of TV stars with mass appeal or the ability to generate massive amounts of ad revenue. Instead, they want to connect with their audiences through creativity, passion and inclusivity. They are not looking to compete in reach, but rather in audience engagement.
John Green, co-founder of VidCon and huge online video star in his own right says, we dont want to be the next NCIS, we want to be the next Radiolab. For those not familiar, Radiolab is a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast thats been running for 13 seasons, garnering a devoted audience of almost 2 million listeners to each show. Widely acclaimed among listeners and critics alike, it has received several awards including a Peabody Award and has been hailed as one of the most innovative shows on America radio.
2) Brands are catching on to the power of influencer marketing, but theres a big opportunity for agencies to play a more substantial role.
A lot more brands were present at this VidCon compared to last year. Brand Managers, Digital Strategists, Media Managers from many top global brands were there, all being wooed from beginning to end, party after party, meeting with top-level YouTube video Creators and experiencing a level of fandom they only thought was possible at a Justin Bieber concert.
MCNs, talent agencies and media companies, such as Maker, Fullscreen, United Talent Agencies and YouTube were also highly visible. They were there in hopes of both signing up-and-coming Creators and connecting relevant brands to their existing stable of talent.
For the second year in a row, Ogilvy was one of the few creative agencies Its probably not a coincidence that agencies have mostly been on the perimeter to date, as the space is largely seen as a media play currently. However, we heard over and over again that neither brands nor creators are entirely happy with the current process and both are looking for better ways to work together. Ogilvy has a big opportunity to demonstrate our expertise by guiding the process in a way that helps our clients accomplish their goals and simultaneously helps the Creators develop content that they are proud to share with their own audience.
3) Facebook was a much bigger deal this year than last.VidCon is primarily a YouTube video conference. YouTube didnt create it, but it has since become the title sponsor and dominant presence.
At last years VidCon, Facebook had absolutely no presence. It had just launched its attack on video, which would soon propel it to 8 billion video views per day, yet it was completely absent from the worlds largest online video conference. Simultaneously, we heard from Creators that YouTube was their preferred platform to make a living from their craft.
Fast forward to this years VidCon, Facebook did not necessarily have a presence on the ground at VidCon, but it certainly was the subject of many seminars and discussions pertaining to video discovery and engagement.
When Creators talk about Facebook vs YouTube, they dont see the two as competitors, but rather as complementary platforms that are good for online video and its community. In fact, The Young Turks even said that they have seen one channel drive growth off the other. When they launched their Facebook page, they realized that viewers would discover a video on Facebook because of the innate sharing that happens on the platform, but then visit the Young Turks YouTube channel and subscribe. As Facebook discovery grew, so did their YouTube subscribers overall.
4) Exhibition Hall was all about brand interactivity. Exhibition Hall was located on the first floor of the Anaheim Convention Center. It consisted of brand kiosks, interactive experiences and interview staging areas. Some brands that dominated the hall were CPG food brands like M&Ms and Taco Bell, beauty brands like Cover Girl, content distributors and original program creators like Netflix and PBS Digital Studios, and technology brands like Samsung and Flipagram.
The majority of brands chose to offer one-of-a-kind interactive experiences rather than static exhibits or product giveaways, often typical in other conferences. For example, M&Ms used virtual reality to show audiences the colorful homes of each M&M, while Sweet Tarts allowed audiences to customize their own flavors, and Taco Bell offered audiences a chance to create their own Snapchat filter. Brands did a great job with creating an experience that was both interactive and unique, the perfect fit for a Creator conference like VidCon.
5) Video technology advances have given Creators a variety of new video capturing techniques, but it doesnt replace storytelling as the priority.
New video technologies, such as live streaming, virtual reality, 360 video, drones and interactive video, have both Creators and brands excited to experiment with new storytelling techniques.
From an industry perspective, the focus remains on getting users comfortable with the technology and entering test and learn scenarios to gain insights and develop best practices. At the conference, YouTube announced that it tapped several top-level Creators, such as Casey Neistat, to create new virtual reality videos and test them against various verticals. Additionally, it announced that live streaming would soon be available directly from the YouTube mobile app via a Go Live button.
From a Creator perspective, they are exciting to add another tool to their toolbox. They see these technologies as a technique to advance a story or evoke an emotion. As Casey Neistat said, the medium should enhance the story, not dictate it.
Two examples of brands doing virtual reality well that were discussed: Toms Shoes used VR to show viewers the countries and children who
receive their donated shoes through the Giving Partners program National MS Society used VR to show viewers what happens when
surfers and ballerinas lose their ability to the one thing they love the most
6) Creators are becoming savvier when working with brands. This year, there was a lot more emphasis and education about brand/Creator collaborations, with seminars about how to get a brand deal, how to determine a Creators value, how to work together and others. Top-level Creators shared many tips about working with brands, and brands also shared their own learnings about the process and outcome of working with Creators. Both parties admit there has been tension in the past, but frustration can be overcome when each is respectful, collaborative and flexible with the other.
One seminar dissected the success of the collaboration between Nestle Tollhouse and Elise Strachan from My Cupcake Addition. Elise created 6 videos for Tollhouse between Valentines Day and Easter, and worked with Tollhouse to identify additional Creators who used her recipes to create their own yummy versions and reach additional audiences. The video for Elises Valentines Day bundt cake using Tollhouse ingredients received almost 2.5 million views on Elises YouTube channel, and almost 16 million views across all of Elise and Tollhouses channels.
Justine is an experienced digital marketer, focused on video strategy and content marketing. Her resume spans the worlds most coveted agencies and brands, and includes work on business-to-business, consumer-packaged goods, corporate reputation and various industry segments.
In her current role, Justine leads the Advanced Video Practice, a unique video strategy specialty within the Content & Social group at Ogilvy. There, she designs effective video programs that leverage both the interactive capabilities of online video and the distinct digital behaviors associated with its users. Specific areas of expertise include pre-and-post video optimization, distribution planning across owned/earned/paid channels, demand generation video, and YouTube channel strategy and implementation.
Justine has been a featured speaker at industry events, such as ARF, and academic ins