Cannes… the Coachella of the ad industry. But, while you were poppin’ bottles and praising bespectacled creative directors, I was with 60k screaming teenagers and the YouTube/ Instagram stars they worship in California at VidCon. If your brand or agency wants to be around in 10 years time, you need to stay culturally relevant. Where better to soak up culture than amongst the people who are defining what online video should look like and understanding them better.
But then Cannes has always been backwards looking, and VidCon is much more about the future. Here are some actionable insights from this pop culture explosion that will be more useful for you than any glorified p*ssup in adland.
They call themselves ‘Creators’ because they’re creative. And guess what – they’re quicker than brands & agencies are at producing high quality content for multiple channels. They know their audiences more intimately than any audience trend analysis report. We need to get slicker with ways of working and understand how they create in order to keep up. We should be treating Creators like production partners – ask for treatments, storyboards, scripts and collaborate with them. Invite them to PPM’s. They’re a lot more than just a man with a GoPro, now.
Kim Kardashian’s brand promotions convert worse than a banner ad. A general rule is the larger the audience, the lower the engagement. Your brand and the creator you’re looking to work with should share a purpose, a vision, a specialism and their audience should be engaging with them more than passively scrolling past their content. You might be better off working with 3 creators @ 100k followers each than with one creator with 3m followers
There are influencer qualification platforms popping up everywhere, but until platforms release APIs that give brands access to their analytics, we will struggle not to use some man-hours and good ol’ fashioned real life relationship building to help qualify creators and measure their campaign work.
I’ve started calling Gen-Z ‘screenagers’, because to be without a phone if you’re 14 is not to exist. So much so that ‘YouTuber’ is now the No.1 career aspiration amongst Gen-Z. And if that isn’t enough, 77% of Gen-Z responders said they trust their favourite creators and see them as the trendsetters more than brands. If you’re offering includes Influencer marketing, you should be looking for “the next big” creators now. Also, what about creator internships/ trainings to start setting themselves apart in their category as thought leaders and building relationships for the future?
* insights from FirstChoice .
Even micro-creators are savvy about brand partnerships. Sure, pay with product is still a thing. But they’re inundated with free product offers in exchange for promotion. And no one has defined a formula yet, ie 100k followers is worth £XXX.
Here are the range of different ways creators are paid – Pay per post, Pay per view/ reach, Pay per engagement, Pay per year/ time period, Pay per sale, Pay with equity and Pay per NPD.
Whilst payment types are getting more and more varied and creative, measurement & ROI doesn’t seem to have been nailed yet. Brands like Samsung have a dedicated in-house team looking after creator relationships; they’re looking for long-term relationships that deliver more than tactical Impact.
We’re already paying NETFLIX & Spotify to let us use their platforms ad free. 615 million* devices now use adblocking technology. That’s 11% of the global internet population actively avoiding ads. *Insights from Page Fair 2017 AdBlocking Report
Ad-free YouTube Red is rolling out wider (announced at VidCon), adding more premium content – you’ve got to start wondering, what happens when digital platforms all go pay-to-play-ad-free?
Here are 3 things I think will happen:
Also, imagine if brands actually commit to this thought of being additive to the world instead of interruptive. Why didn’t a travel brand create instagram, for example? Brands and agencies need to start thinking differently if we’re to still have jobs in 10 years time.