By Anna Russett, Havas CHI Social Strategist and social celebrity.
I had the pleasure of attending VidCon this year for the first time. Amidst the 20,000 people swarming about and copious amount of vendor booths, I was able to glean incredible insights from the industry to bring back home. VidCon took place at the Anaheim Convention Center and depending on your pass, you could access different levels of the center. Community pass bearers could only access the first floor, where popular YouTubers held meet-and-greets, were interviewed by media, and participated in panels. The second floor was accessible to Creator and Industry passes, and held panels and workshops specifically for creators. The third floor was accessible to Industry passes and was filled with older men and women in suits. I had a Full Access pass (yay!) and rode around in golf carts backstage when I needed to get away from it all.
MOBILE IS EVERYTHING
In her keynote, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki reiterated that the video site’s top three priorities are “Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.” She noted, “more than half of our views come from mobile devices. More than half of our watch time comes from mobile devices. And mobile revenue is growing 100 percent year-on-year.” YouTube redesigned their mobile app including better visibility for subscriptions and a simple way to opt into notifications from individual channels.
FANS ARE MORE THAN EVERYTHING
Fans don’t mess around when it comes to their favorite YouTubers and online stars. Popular YouTubers were equipped with towering bodyguards and security to transport them to and from stages and panels. Fearless fangirls would pounce on the guards, iPhone in hand, trying to get a quick selfie with their social media idol. It’s clear that social media is becoming the new Hollywood in more ways than one. Many top YouTubers are walking the red carpet in their own movies or debuting in their own TV shows. In a recent survey, teens’ emotional attachment to YouTube stars is as much as seven times greater than that toward a traditional celebrity; and YouTube stars are perceived as 17 times more engaging, and 11 times more extraordinary, than mainstream stars.
CONTENT CURATION VS. CREATION
If you’re feeling as if you’re drowning in too many options for content online, you are! YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed that 400 hours of video are now uploaded to YouTube every minute. More online content is created every 2 days than in the whole of human history prior to 2003. With that amount of saturation online, curation plays a critical role in media strategy. Curators have a voice amidst the chaos, separating signal from noise. Also, curation is one of the processes that remains human rather than algorithmic – for now.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THUMBNAILS
Custom thumbnails on YouTube have greater click rates. More than 90% of top performing videos have custom thumbnails. The thumbnails that have performed best have legible title text, various saturated images layered on each other, and feature a face prominently.
TLDR: More than 50% of people are on their phones when they watch YouTube. Social media is new Hollywood. Content curation should definitely be included in your media/social strategy. Custom thumbnails are crucial for increased click through.