Vidcon is an amazing event full of experiential marketing activations. It’s the Cannes of online video mixed with the fun of Comicon. It’s the present congregation of technology, creators and innovation. It’s the platform to build the future of content, creation, media consumption and stardom. The show represents aspiration, excitement, opportunity, freedom and self expression for fans, creators and business people.
After attending for three days here are some take-aways and observations from the party!
Experiential Marketing Merges With Tech For Fun Experiences
Taco Bell delivered an experience that connected photo booths, Snapchat and brand integrations super well. Ronin Su, Technical Director for Cyrano Rox was a lead part of the team that delivered this experience at Vidcon. The Taco Bell section was setup with emoji and texting culture – visual cues from the emoji character set, fun and pithy sayings and a slew of technical operators setup on Surface Pro’s to let fans create their very own Snapchat Filters. We set our location, picked a day, and for a 20,000 square foot area fans will see their Snapchat filter. This is amazing for kids to show off in school and at events. The other part of the experience let fans take picture with fun props tied to emoji culture. The printout of these photos on cloth paper were colored to coincide with the big reveal of the new Taco Bell logo. One copy of this cloth paper was given to the fan, and the other was posted to the Taco Bell logo wall.
There was a lot going on in a big space. The highlight for me was The Legend of the Temple of Doom virtual reality experience. Sitting down at a table, six users experienced an interactive VR trailer for a revamp of the mid 1990’s show. VR as a novelty is amazing. It’s even more powerful as it ramps up for fully interactive and 360 gaming and video experiences. Nickelodeon housed an arcade full of classic video games and a photo booth!
American Ninja Warrior developed a full on obstacle course led by super fit men and women. Fans lined up to cross a rotating plank and climb a wall. I watched.
Samsung let users ride a Magic Mountain roller coaster on a Gear VR rig powered by Samsung Galaxy while sitting on a moving bench set to move to the roller coaster’s twists and turns. Fans were also able to surf on a moving electronic surfboard while wearing VR gear.
Non MCN Business Extension Platforms Are Popping Up
There are a few media platforms that are promoting services around the growing of influencer audiences, distribution and monetization, including Unreel.me and Zype.
Unreel allows creators to setup paywalls, develop branded apps and develop merchandising deals.
Zype lets content creators communicate directly to consumers across many different devices and platforms. They help with monetization, get the creator onto connected TV devices and see unified content analytics.
A different approach is the growth of merchandising partnership companies. These let the creator sell branded shirts, hats, and other fashion items through a single platform. Providers in this space include SpreadShirt, Café Press and Zazzle.
Hacking and Leveraging Specific Social Channels
With the prominence of Snapchat, the evolution of Facebook, and the competition between live streaming and video platforms, brands and creators alike were looking for ways to maximize discoverability across platforms. Sessions focused on opportunities for maximum reach for content creators. A great Facebook utility is the presentation from Jump Wire Media. Go to the link below, sign up to their newsletter and click on Vidcon 2016 Presentation after confirming your email address to get the presentation delivered in the Hacking Facebook panel. It’s great. http://jumpwiremedia.com/portfolio/vidcon-2016/
For example, Facebook is valuing pictures taken from a mobile device over a picture taken from a camera. Pictures that are square are getting better reach than ones that aren’t. Spending $500 in Facebook ads monthly will boost your organic reach on the site. Think of it like a tax. You can post to your fans up to 60 times a day and your audience will not get tired of the content.
Live Streaming is Getting Big, Monetized and Competitive
The live streaming wars are here. YouTube is opening up their app to live streaming capability. Periscope started that space, and now competes with Facebook Live, YouNow, Live.me, Live.ly. A new network called Live Star is launching in the days after Vidcon. According to a speaker from the content channel This Now more views – tens of thousands – came in from Facebook Live, whereas 10’s of views were seen at one time on Periscope. From casual conversations with Alex Khan, the number one Periscoper on the app, Periscope is more dynamic and has a better feedback mechanism for creators. Notably these apps, like Live.me and Live Start, allow for monetization for influencers.
Influence and Analytics For Business Evolves
Social analytics are important and growing. Companies are using these data in a few different ways: to support marketing efforts, help build creator channels and to provide local businesses with consumer insight.
Hyp3r uses big data, social posts and engagement levels to give businesses insight into which local influencers are nearby.
Ayzenberg Group developed the EMV Index, a reporting of values for marketplace social activity tied to campaigns.
DelMondo.co works with social platforms to understand reach, engagement and the value of those engagements for brand campaigns. They measure Snapchat activity, reach and media value.
People Crave Connection
That’s the reason why the Internet exists, right? To connect us. The fundamental nature of Vidcon, as has been the nature of humanity from the start, is connection. Fans meet with their favorite stars. It’s real and it’s important. I met with some of my favorite Vine stars – Liza Koshi, Thomas Sanders, Mikaela Long and others, and felt that same buzz these kids felt as they rushed in a screaming crowd after their favorite celebrities. Connection across platforms is the nature of this work, and seeing our favorite celebs in person is thrilling. The beauty of this space, and the direct opposite of current conventional celebrity, is that these celebs are accessible. Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, and most others of that sports and entertainment tribe are held away from fans in all but a select set of highly organized moments. Their public personas are crafted (exceptionally, granted) and their lives are private. That type of celebrity is the “old school” of celebrity. Access, unraw and unfiltered, is the “new school” of celebrity. As long as humans can create connections and community with other humans, there will be a place for technology to facilitate those connections. There will be fans, excitement and a desire for dialogue. Brands that help connect will go far.
Vidcon is a giant experiential marketing party filled with screaming young people, very interesting young stars and a lot of curious business executives from all around the video, marketing and advertising ecosystems. This space is still nascent, even after seven Vidcons. The show bears importance because today’s present nascent space has a direct line into the future of media consumption, content creation and entrepreneurship. 30 years from now when Snapchat will seem technologically antiquated these same fans and creators will be the media moguls and media consumers of the mainstream. Vidcon will have the importance of the Oscars, and the fundamental definition of media and consumption will have shifted far more than we can imagine today. Stay curious.
About the Author
Robert Brill is the Founder of Brill Media Company, an advertising agency and consulting practice that unlocks the value of programmatic media and influencer marketing.