VidCon may be best known as a fan conference full of young people hoping to meet their favorite creators IRL, but for marketers and industry professionals, it’s so much more. With an estimated 30,000 people in attendance, VidCon 2017 was bigger than ever. Fans, creators, and industry experts met at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, for the biggest event in online video content.
The VidCon experience is divided up into three tracks: Community, Creator, and Industry. Each track has an agenda full of specific panels, discussions, workshops, masterclasses, and keynotes tailored to its attendees’ interests and needs. The Community track is largely targeted toward fans, Creator toward talent and aspiring talent, and Industry toward professionals and experts looking to learn more about the online video industry and make powerful connections.
VidCon’s Industry track is designed for professionals in industries that use or create online video. Marketing firms, agencies, production companies, equipment companies, VR companies, and more attend the industry portion of the conference to learn more about emerging trends in video. VidCon 2017 featured masterclasses in platform algorithms, navigating risk in a brand’s relationship with influencers, how to choose the right influencers, and more.
Industry attendees are given access to intimate discussions, intensive workshops, and keynotes from industry leaders like Verizon and Patreon. Most industry events revolve around key executives and decision makers from companies like Buzzfeed, Facebook, Twitch, National Geographic, Disney, and Instagram. These events are focused on building expertise within the areas that are most vital to brands, marketers, agencies, and production companies.
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Beyond workshops and panels, there are big opportunities for brands and marketers in VidCon’s Expo Hall. It is the hub of activity at VidCon and features dozens of booths with some of the best brand activations in the business.
For example, Canon had a large booth where attendees could take selfies and turn them into temporary tattoos. The tattoo application process was captured by Canon cameras and videos were sent to attendees, who could share the video on Instagram with the hashtag #canonselfiestyle for a chance to win a Canon EOS Rebel T7i creator kit.
Nickelodeon’s activation was even bigger and provided opportunities for free branded swag, games and challenges, and even getting slimed with the iconic neon green goo that Nickelodeon fans know well. Fans showed up and waited in line for a chance to play and engage with Nickelodeon, and it was a central, highly visible part of the Expo Hall, which meant it was nearly impossible to miss.
There was even a friendly bull getting in on the action with a hands-on activation promoting Ferdinand, an upcoming animated film based on the children’s book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. In the story, gentle giant Ferdinand the Bull prefers smelling flowers to fighting. At VidCon, Blue Sky Studios gave attendees the chance to make flower crowns to wear around the conference in the spirit of Ferdinand.
Disney, Shopify, Instagram, NBC, Fullscreen, and more were drawing fans to their booths in droves with opportunities for unique experiences. Brands and marketers have a huge opportunity to reach and engage with VidCon attendees through brand activations. These activations capture con-goers’ attention during the con and give them a chance to engage with brands outside of purchasing and in the context of a positive, fun Con experience.
For marketers who aren’t on the Expo Hall floor, attending panels and events alongside Community attendees can be a valuable experience, too. Many marketers use metrics to gauge the success of campaigns and determine best practices. And rightly so — metrics provide critical feedback on who’s engaging with brand messaging and how they’re doing it.
VidCon gives those metrics a face. Subscribers come to life as hundreds or thousands of fans show up to creator panels and Q&As. Through these events, marketers have an opportunity to observe firsthand the energy and enthusiasm behind creators and their work. Seeing what gets fans excited about, what they respond to, and how they interact with creators can give marketers an all-new perspective and help them better relate to their audiences authentically.
VidCon is also an opportunity to network with others from the industry track, as well as key creators. There are dozens of learning opportunities, but many industry attendees find the most value in building relationships and kickstarting partnerships.
Whether it’s during specific events, waiting in line, or at exclusives parties and after parties, marketers at VidCon will find opportunities to make connections with useful contacts in a number of different industries at VidCon. Those contacts can help marketers build their base of resources and take their work in online video to the next level.