VidCon has been bringing together creators, fans, organizations, and brands since 2010. The conference, held every year in Anaheim, California, is a gathering of creatives and enthusiasts centered around meet-ups, panels, workshops, and social events. It’s also one of the biggest opportunities for advertisers to experience the booming digital and social media marketing industry firsthand.
VidCon attendees are catalyzing a major change in celebrity, entertainment, and marketing. To millions of fans (many of them part of coveted younger demographics), today’s biggest stars aren’t traditional celebrities, but emerging talent using digital platforms. The creators at VidCon are creating some of the most impactful content, and if advertisers want to be a part of the next wave of effective, relevant content, VidCon is the place to be.
VidCon represents what’s next in online content. The biggest creators are in attendance, but so are influencers who are building their followings and finding audiences. There’s no better place to see the entire living, breathing online creator ecosystem at work.
If advertisers have any lingering doubts about the viability of the influencer market, VidCon should assuage them. As fans interact with their favorite creators in real time, it’s easy to see just how profound the connection is between creators and their loyal, engaged audiences. Many fans and subscribers that marketers know exist but never see come to VidCon, and it’s an opportunity to observe the depth of the energy and reverence that surrounds these top influencers.
It’s also a perfect opportunity to meet and discover creator talent. If marketers are considering working with influencers, the chance to connect with creators may facilitate new partnerships. What’s more, VidCon is the best place to find new talent. Joshua Lowcock, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer at UM Worldwide, outlined the value of VidCon over traditional marketing staple Cannes Lions in AdWeek, “You’re more likely to find the freshest talent and the future of storytelling on a stage in Anaheim than a beach in the south of France.”
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VidCon isn’t just a fan con that’s open to marketers — it’s a key opportunity for marketers to learn more about one of the most valuable marketing and advertising opportunities. Seeing the community in action is important to understanding how the fan-creator relationship functions and what fans value. Understanding that dynamic will help brands build meaningful partnerships with influencers that will help them reach audiences.
For many marketers, seeing and interacting with audiences may also have the power to change how they perceive them. Follower and subscriber counts become real lines of fans who are overjoyed to meet their favorite creators, and it illustrates the impact that these creators have on real people. Seeing humans on the other side of the screen in real time gives marketers a chance to build a connection that will lead to smarter, more informed partnerships.
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VidCon’s changed a lot since it started in 2010. The landscape has changed dramatically since then and VidCon’s changed along with it. In 2016, over 26,000 creators, industry professionals, and fans attended the event, and now VidCon spans 5 days of events, discussions, and learning opportunities.
VidCon’s agenda is packed with events for its three different tracks: Creator, Industry, and Community. Most industry events are focused on the salient details of the platform from marketers’ perspectives — things like selling with online video, in-depth discussions on algorithms, and research and insight sessions. The Creator track has the most relevant information for talent on YouTube and focuses on topics like content creation, finding audiences, connecting with fanbases, and more. The Community track is more focused toward fans and includes social events, creator and channel interviews and Q&As, and sessions about being a part of online communities.
The convention also includes networking events, cosplay contests, parties, and meet-ups. While it might be easy for marketers to write off the more social events in favor of panels, it’s important to understand that these events are some of the best places to get a real sense of the pulse of the communities that marketers are trying to reach. Seizing the opportunity to get a closer look at the fans and audiences behind the online fervor.
There are more influencers creating different types of content now than ever before, and VidCon draws a rich and diverse crowd that share one very important characteristic: a passion for digital content. VidCon was much smaller in 2010, but now it’s one of the eminent destinations for the convergence of creators, fans, and is the leading edge of marketing industry.