VidCon 2017: Content Creation & Distribution
Location: Anaheim Convention Centre, CA
Insights by: Sami Westwood, Publicity & Partnerships Director
The panels attended today helped us garner some great insight from the creators, collate more advice on influencer strategy, content creation hints and tips from the likes of BuzzFeed, plus a whole host of updates from Facebook & Instagram.
The brand/influencer relationship
Picking up where we left off yesterday, it was great to hear creators today reinforcing the message that long-term relationships and creative freedom is key to successful working relationships. A panel of four creators made up of Shonduras, Oli White, Fleur De Force and Kurt Hugo Schneider discussed their work with brands, with the common denominator being creator freedom. Brands should give the creator an overview of the messaging and goals and then let them come back with their ideas.
Creators prefer brands and products they have a genuine interest in, as these will be better received by their audience and when given creative freedom and the chance to build long-term relationships, the brand can be introduced in a natural and engaging way. Give the creator scope to execute in a way they can be passionate about and that will feed into the content. Creators are best placed to tick a marketers box in a way that is authentic to their audience, creating a win-win.
Another key point was knowing your influencer. Get to know their content and their likes and dislikes, and get a feel for if the fit is right before approaching. Are they already a fan of the brand? Creators prefer an ongoing relationship and partnerships over a one off. They can integrate the property in a more natural way across their channels and get to know the people behind the project. However, they do acknowledge that some partnerships are about amplifying a moment and they will also look at those if the fit is right.
The nervousness of some brands to work with influencers was acknowledged. It was something the panel understood – it’s a completely new way of marketing, but they encouraged their VidCon audience to dive on in. It’s an ever-evolving learning process that will only start to feel more comfortable with once you start working with influencers. Talk openly and collaboratively to the creators you are working with and/or their agents and take and employ learnings from each experience.
When asked about the ‘dreaded’ #Ad, none of the creators saw this as an issue, commenting those creators generally only work with brands they want to be associated with / are already a fan of. They see little to no backlash on having sponsored content on their channels as they chose their partnerships and curate the content carefully.
Tying in nicely to that was advice later in the day on developing an ‘always on’ influencer strategy. In the same way a few years ago the concept of an always-on social strategy was new and is now a standard, an always on policy was advocated when it comes to working with content creators. Move away from having influencers/content creators being a silo of activity running parallel to the marketing campaign or simply for one off activations and involve influencers from the get-go. Look at ways you can integrate influencers in with existing social conversations, ongoing plans and existing partnerships; empower the creator with inspiration for their content. Look beyond stats and look for brand soulmates you can work with long term and help grow. In an ongoing partnership growing their audience grows your audience too.
Buzzfeed & Video Content
BuzzFeed gave an impassioned presentation about the development of their video content. BuzzFeed, back in 2006, was a site that aggregated trending content. By 2012 they were creating their own video content. Realising it was not connecting to the site, they moved to YouTube and from there have added Facebook video content streams running across multiple Facebook pages. BuzzFeed now creates 600 content pieces per day and have created 3.5m to date. They are the most watched publisher on YouTube with over 9bn content views per month and their Facebook channel Tasty is the number one franchise on Facebook.
BuzzFeed uses a continued feedback loop to drive their content. They monitor their content to see what is working and build up that. They have invested in people and tools to deliver analytics that is available to everyone in the business, including directly to their video producers so that stats and feedback can feed directly into content development.
Snapchat content was also discussed today, specifically with regard to creating a successful Snapchat series – be that on organic or discover channels. Keys to success? The three A’s – Action, Access, Authenticity.
- Keep it fast passed
- First 10 seconds are key to getting users hooked/get them tapping through
- Stay vertical
- Use edits and animated graphics and stickers
- Incorporate the tap!
- Take the viewer to places with you / where they cannot go
- Give visual points of view they don’t usually get
- Remember – Snapchat is a place for friends, a place where you build a circle of people around you. There’s a difference between those connecting and those simply viewing and that’s why authentic content performs better
- Use content creators in brand content to get you a more relatable experience for the user
- Content should never be TV-style content repurposed. Put platform at the forefront of the mind when creating the content
- Pick up on existing trends and conversations
Facebook & Instagram Evolution
It was great to catch presentations from Facebook and Instagram too. Facebook is keen to create an environment where creators can thrive; allow them to create great content, develop communities and engage with advertisers. They announced today they are launching Creator App later this year. This has been built with content creation (using mobile in the vertical) and community in mind and will enhance recent new features such as chat with friends in video and communal video.
It was interesting to note creators can earn additional revenue from hosting ads within videos on Facebook. These can be placed within their videos from 20 seconds in (and then at 2-minute intervals), if they have a minimum of 2K followers and have seen a minimum of 300 consecutive viewers on their live content.
Groups were also discussed, with creators using these as a place to interact with their biggest fans and allow their fans to chat with each other. There are currently 1bn monthly users of groups on Facebook.
Instagram discussed some of it’s newest features and stats, kicking off with the fact they have grown by 200m monthly users year on year to whopping 700m monthly users. Stories now see 250m daily users. 80% of Instagram users are outside of the US – it’s a truly global platform.
Key tools they discussed, which have launched in the past 6 months were:
- Mentions – the ability to tag other users in stories (supporting creator and partner collaborations)
- Swipe up – which allows those with a business account to link out of the platform (helping creators drive to their other content streams)
- Transparency on paid partnerships – new tagging that links back to brands and gives brands access to the insights on posts they are working with creators on
- Live – live broadcasts now no longer disappear but, at the end of the broadcast, you get the option to send to stories for 24 hours for those who missed it
- Two features they recommend creators use:
- Two-factor authentication – they deal with a lot of hacking cases and the answer to the question ‘do you have two-factor authentication on’ is generally ‘no’. This is advised for ALL users, not just creators
- Comments filters – another function of business profiles, there is a set list of blocked terms but this can be modified to fit your needs
Following some questions from the audience, it was good to note that business profiles, we were reassured, do not have different algorithms to standard pages/profiles. They also commented that they are working hard to make in-app analytics work harder for users and they once they are in a good place “they imagine” that downloadable and desktop will follow.
Massive thanks to the following for sharing their insights today:
Shonduras, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Oli White, Fleur De Force, Chris Younger (Principal – Ayzenberg Group), Ella Mielniczenko (Buzzfeed Violet), Maycie Thornton (Director of Social Media – BuzzFeed), Rico Moorer (Business Analyst – BuzzFeed), Nick Cicero (Founder and CEO – Delmondo), Daniel Danker (Product Director – Facebook), Bree Nguyen (Head of Talent Partnerships – Facebook), Jackson Williams (Strategic Partnerships, Emerging Talent – Instagram), Greg Jarboe (President and Co-Founder – SEO-PR)