Mark Robertson, Andy Smith, and I were all at the 6th annual VidCon last week. (Carla Marshall had to remain behind to take care of things. Hey, someone has to hold the fort). I returned home with a drawstring backsack full of trends in the digital video marketing business, strategic insights, critical data, and tactical advice. If I was making a haul video, then I would randomly pull stories out of my pale blue bag and enthusiastically tell you why I had “bought” each one. But, I had time on the long flight from Anaheim back to Boston to analyze each item and organize my thoughts. So, here’s what I saw and heard – along with a couple of thousand other people with Industry badges at VidCon 2015.

Trends in the Digital Video Marketing Business

Monetization. As Andy reported from the event, John Green, the novelist, videoblogger, and co-founder of VidCon, gave a keynote on the opening day. He said, “This year has seen the emergence of a big conversation about how to fund online video in the future: Should we build the future of online video around paid subscriptions, or advertising, or voluntary payments, or some hybrid model, or something I haven’t heard of yet?” If you haven’t already, then read Andy’s article, “VidCon 2015: Online Video is Changing the World as We Know It.” This trend powers the others that follow.

Collaboration. YouTube has encouraged brands to collaborate with established creators for more than a year. But, we finally saw the results of collaboration during several sessions at VidCon 2015. On Thursday, Tracy and Stefanie of eleventhgorgeous, John Sebastian of Procter & Gamble, and Chris Ariens of Adweek presented, “Anatomy of a Brand Campaign – Secret Deodorant.” On Friday, Christine Ngo of Pepsico, Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval, and Brendan Gahan of EipcSignal presented, “Anatomy of a Brand Campaign – Mountain Dew Kickstart.” So, this trend has taken off.

Segmentation. Following Super Bowl 2015, I observed, “The digital video universe is far more segmented that I suspected. And I use the term ‘segmented’ instead of ‘fragmented’ because each of these worlds has its own language, its own culture and customs, as well as its own folk heroes.” But VidCon 2015 was the first time that I’ve heard others in the online video and internet marketing industries make the same point. One was Allison Stern, Co-Founder and VP of Marketing at Tubular. Another was Fred Graver, Global Media Partnerships and Entertainment at Twitter. This trend is still emerging, but it is gaining steam.

Video Marketing & Advertising: Strategic Insights

MoSusan Wojcicki YouTube CEO Vidcon 2015bile, Mobile, and Mobile. In her keynote, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki reiterated that the video site’s top three priorities are “Mobile. Mobile. Mobile.” And she spent a significant amount of time talking about the redesigned YouTube mobile app, which now lets users watch full-screen vertical videos with just a single tap, the YouTube Kids app, which was introduced in February, and the new YouTube gaming app and website, which are coming later this summer. Although this wasn’t “new news,” the company’s focus on increasing the percentage of YouTube views that are coming from mobile devices should dramatically change the way people discover, watch, and share originally-created videos.

Conspicuously Absent. In addition to the keynote by YouTube’s Wojcicki, Baljeet Singh of Twitter, Victor Koo of YouKu Tudou, and Jason Kilar of Vessel participated in fireside chats. Greg Clayman of Vimeo spoke on a panel. Sima Sistani of MeerKat and Adi Sideman of YouNow gave product demos. Instagram and Vine had booths in the exhibit hall. About the only major video platform that was conspicuously absent was Facebook. That’s curious, since Facebook’s launch of native video is one of “the 13 craziest things that changed online video in the last year,” according to Jim Louderback, Editorial Director of VidCon’s industry track.

Social Journalism. Two of the fireside chats featured Andrew Wallenstein, the Co-Editor in Chief of Variety interviewing Albie Hecht, the Executive Vice President and General Manager of HLN, and Jeff Jarvis, the Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, interviewing Cenk Uygur, the CEO, Founder, and Host of The Young Turks Network. Both interviews concluded that journalism must shift from seeing itself primarily as a producer of content for masses to becoming more explicitly a service to communities.

Video Marketing & Advertising: Critical Data

Did You Know? Before the keynotes and fireside chats in the industry track a collection of slides presented data that I hadn’t seen before. Among the stats that caught my eye were these from Tubular:

  • YouTube videos with ‘Top 10’ or “Top Ten’ in their title get 531% more views/video.
  • Out of the top 1000 videos on each platform, YouTube videos were 8x longer than Facebook videos.
  • More newly uploaded Facebook videos (last 7 days) hit 1M views each month than on any other platform.
  • Facebook owns day 1, but YouTube owns the long-tail! 50% of Facebook views came on day 1 vs. 20% of YouTube views.
  • Video rips constitute 72.5% of the top Facebook video content in May 2015.
  • There are more than 2.5M publishers on YouTube alone, and 1,268 of them have over 1M subscribers.

Digital Stars. A story in the July 22, 2015, issue of Variety reported, “Eight of the top 10 slots in a survey ranking talent conducted exclusively for Variety are now commanded by YouTube creators, more than the six revealed last year in a nearly identical survey.” In fact, half a dozen YouTube stars – KSI, PewDiePie, VanossGaming, Nigahiga, Smosh, and Markiplier – ranked ahead of pop musicians Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. Wojcicki featured this chart in her keynote.

400 Hours. Wojcicki also revealed that 400 hours of video are now uploaded to YouTube every minute. ReelSEO plans to write about this new milestone. So, stay tuned.

Video Marketing & Advertising: Tactical Advice

Tips. Mark also spoke in one of the seminars in VidCon’s industry track. He shared a number of tips for optimizing video embeds. If you want a copy of his slide presentation, just click on ReelSEO’s VidCon Slides.

Thanks. I want to thank Jim Louderback for inviting me to speak in another one of the seminars in VidCon’s Industry track. I talked about how to convert more viewers into paying customers. If you want a copy of my slide presentation, just click on ReelSEO’s VidCon Slides.

Tchotchke. The best trade show tchotchke that I brought home was a Google Cardboard viewer. In her keynote, Wojcicki announced that YouTube will not only add support for 360-degree videos in 3D, it will also be outfitting all of its YouTube Spaces – including new ones in Toronto and Mumbai – with Jump cameras that capture 360-degree video in 3D, making it easier for its creators to experiment with the format. She also announced that everyone attending her keynote could get a Cardboard viewer during the reception that followed. If you don't like what Google offers, you can build one yourself.

But Wait, There’s More!

Mark Robertson and Andy Smith see Chocolate RainWhile there were a couple of thousand people with Industry badges attending sessions on the third floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, there were also a couple thousand other people with Creator badges attending sessions on the second floor, and there were about 20,000 other people with Community badges attending sessions and visiting the exhibit hall on the main floor, or participating in the AwesomenessTV Festival that was held just outside.

Depending on the type of badge you had, you could go down the escalators, but not up. For example, when the ReelSEO team descended to the main floor, Mark (left) and Andy (right) could see Tay Zonday talking selfies with fans of "Chocolate Rain." But people with Community badges, could only aspire to get to the second floor next year, while people with Creator badges, could only aspire to get to the third floor in 2016.

I’m not sure if this tiered system is a model of the online video industry, but I wonder what type of badge we will need to make it to the fourth floor someday.