Every year, thousands of fans, creators, and marketing industry professionals descend upon the Anaheim Convention Center to attend VidCon, the eminent conference for online video. The conference has been held annually since 2010 and it’s grown dramatically as video’s become a dominant force in the world of online content. VidCon brings together all of the integral parts of online video in one place, and it’s a valuable staple in the digital media industry.
It’s among the best conferences for marketers interested in influencer marketing and gives creators, brands, and marketers a chance to learn more about the present and future of the industry, the business of online content, the art of building real connections with consumers through digital media, and the value of communicating with audiences authentically. With opportunities to observe and engage with audiences and influencers, VidCon is a must-attend opportunity for those looking to take their work in online video to the next level.
In 2010, five years after YouTube launched, the state of online video looked almost nothing like it does today. There were prominent creators and channels, but YouTube was still growing into the massive cultural force it would one day become. In the seven years since the first VidCon, YouTube’s grown up and catalyzed the careers of thousands of creators. It’s become the primary home of video online, and entire cultures and communities have sprung up around content on YouTube.
Though it’s a major focus of the conference, VidCon isn’t just about YouTube. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, live.me, and Musical.ly are becoming a more prominent at the conference, and as new technology emerges, livestreaming, augmented reality, and virtual reality are becoming a part of the conversation, too.
@vidcon !!!! Having so much fun !!!! @musical.ly thank you ! Love you ! #vidcon #vidconus #vidcon2017 #littlefoxhermes #officiallittlefoxhermes #musically #musicallyapp #muser #crownedmuser #anaheim #california @goldsheepclothing #goldsheep #goldsheepleggings #goldsheepclothing #bethegoldsheep ????❤️?? @nickiminaj #nickiminaj #regretinyourtears A post shared by ?✨HERMES✨? (@officiallittlefoxhermes) on
The VidCon experience can be broken down into three distinct tracks: Community, Creator, and Industry.
Each track grants attendees access to different parts of the con and is designed for different takeaways. The Community track is fan-focused and includes panels with creators, Q&As, and concerts. Community badge holders can access most parts of the con, but the track isn’t meant for in-depth content and industry exploration.
The Creator badge grants attendees access to events that are tailored toward content creation. Panels, workshops, and networking events help creators build their communities and get a better understanding of specific topics like building audiences, monetizing, and managing intellectual property rights. Like the Creator track, the Industry track is more tailored toward building expertise and networking. Industry panels and discussions are designed to benefit those working in industries like advertising, video production, talent management, and more. Related Post: Why VidCon Is A Must For Marketers
Like most major conventions, VidCon has several distinct components that feed into the experience:
Panels, workshops, and discussions are aimed at helping attendees learn something new and valuable. Though these events differ in the Community, Creator, and Industry tracks, they’re largely focused on specific topics like using major platforms to bring attention to important social and cultural issues or building a brand through online video on major platforms.
Q&As and interviews are more general and targeted toward fans, but they can be valuable for understanding audience interest and excitement around certain creators and types of content.
Keynote addresses from industry leaders are great opportunities for digging into the business of digital video. With speakers from YouTube, Verizon, Patreon, and more, 2017’s keynotes covered a wide variety of topics in the industry.
The Expo Hall is the heart of the convention. Canon, Instagram, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more had booths and massive brand activations inside the Expo Hall that invited attendees to take a moment to engage with the brand through photos and exclusive experiences. The Expo Hall is large and chaotic, but it’s one of the primary opportunities for brands to interact with fans and attendees directly.
Networking is one of the most valuable parts of VidCon. While there are structured events designed for networking, valuable opportunities to connect arise throughout the con after panels, at events, parties and after parties, and even waiting in line.
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Outside of the structured agenda of workshops, panels, and keynotes, VidCon is a crucial opportunity to see audiences and communities gather, develop, and evolve in the real world. While some professionals may be tempted to write off the con due to the focus on fandom, the fan element can be a valuable tool for marketers and advertisers. Seeing fan communities in action makes subscriber counts and view tallies real for many industry professionals. It’s easy to get wrapped up in metrics, but VidCon makes it clear that on the other side of each view is a real person with interests, talents, and dreams. Many VidCon fans are younger, often in their teens and early twenties. They’re active and engaged online, and seeing their passion for their favorite creators can help marketers better understand how these fans approach content. Getting a sense of what excites fans and what they respond to can help brands connect with them on an organic and authentic level, which is increasingly important in the crowded landscape of branded digital media.
A conversation with YouTube: @rhettandlink host the #VidConUS Keynote with @susanwojcicki A post shared by VidCon 2017 (@vidcon) on
Brands and marketers can use VidCon opportunities to discover and connect with new talent. In watching audiences and tuning in to who and what they’re most excited about, marketers have a chance to tap into new audiences, new types of content, and new voices. The online video community is alight with excitement and innovation during VidCon, making it a great time to start a conversation about a new partnership.
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