VidCon is where today's hottest creators, industry leaders, and fans converge in one place. This year's event, held in Anaheim, California brought together members of the creator economy to discuss current trends, the rise of short-form video, the power of authenticity, and more. In this episode, Nathan Spell and Lindsay Smith sit down with some of ARM's agency leaders to discuss key takeaways and memorable moments from the creator event of the year.

Weren't able to attend VidCon this year? You can catch creator talks and keynotes on their YouTube page located here:

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 (24s): From June 25th to June 28th creators across the globe descended upon Anaheim, California for VidCon 2022. Finally, after two years of canceled events, creators fans and industry leaders were able to come together to talk about the creator economy, the rise of short form, video influence relationships and brand integrations among those industry leaders was Ad Result Media’s very own to DeSha Runnels, Tony Carnavale, Gretchen Smith, Evan Brown, Sam Cosby, and Lindsay Smith. In this episode of On the Mic with Ad Results media DeSha, Tony, Evan, Gretchen, and Sam joined Nathan and myself to look back at memorable talks and key takeaways from the influencer event of the year. 

And if you missed VidCon this year, we will be linking to their YouTube page where you can watch creator talks, keynotes and more in our show notes. So let's get started by introducing everyone. So our listeners get an idea of who they are listening to you DeShay, let's start with you. 

 (1m 18s): Thanks Lindsey. My name is <inaudible>. I am VP of business development here at ad results media and I had a blast at VidCon and can't wait to chat about it. 

 (1m 28s): Hi, I'm Evan brown. I'm a senior copywriter at ad results media. 

 (1m 33s): Hi, I'm Gretchen Smith. I'm the vice president of media and creative at ad results. I've been here about a year and a half. Then podcasting is one of the channels I believe in the most. So Vidcom was awesome to see the expansion. 

 (1m 44s): And I'm Sam Cosby, senior director of creator content at ad results. 

 (1m 48s): Hi, I'm Tony Carnavale. I'm the creative director here at ad results and I'm excited to chat about VidCon. 

 (1m 54s): Yeah, I am super excited having gone and experienced it myself. I'm really excited to hear from the rest of you about your experiences since we all kind of attended different panels and talks. Before we jump into VidCon though, I want to talk a little bit about YouTube. What exactly is going on with YouTube right now? And why should advertisers care? 

 (2m 15s): YouTube is a great platform for direct response campaign. So utilizing creator content, utilizing long form content, anything you want, you can put on YouTube and run a Dr campaign and, and have an opportunity to work with some amazing creators. 

 (2m 31s): Just to kind of piggyback off that I read recently, and I think I heard this from Kurt. There are currently over 1 billion subscribers across the top 30 YouTube creators. So what are YouTube creators doing differently? 

 (2m 43s): I think YouTube is a platform it's the second most visited website on earth. So, you know, it's a place where everybody can find anything that you can learn on there. You can entertain yourself. It speeding out TV, traditional TV channels, streamers, and in views. And a subscriber bases are dedicated to interests, but aren't, we really, we look at views as, as being kind of substantiate or video quality and what creators are doing. 

But yeah, I think it provides an opportunity to do a ton of cool things with different brands, long form, short form, YouTube shorts. It's a great place to be. 

 (3m 23s): That reminds me of how, you know, the views are important. You actually know someone's watching it versus an Atlanta TV where a station that's been on the air for 50 years as, Hey, here's your GRPs, enjoy it or don't so it's nice to know kind of exactly how many times people are watching it, like watching the view counts, go up as they get shared more and things like that. 

 (3m 43s): So obviously it makes sense that ad results media as an agency would show up at VidCon because of our focused on influencers. But I'm curious to hear from each of you, why you individually wanted to go to VidCon, what were you most excited about? 

 (3m 60s): So I came from a background of a Buzzfeed video and I used to work on the advertising side in the video space back when Buzzfeed was the, the leader in the YouTube space. And that's, so it's exciting for me to see how the, the kind of the video world has evolved since then. Obviously I think we're all fans of, of the video creators. And so that's always fun and exciting, and it's just, it was a really great opportunity to make connections with folks on behalf of, of arm. 

 (4m 34s): Yeah. On a, on a personal note, it was nice for me to meet a few people that I've worked with for the past 10 months, and haven't had a chance to hang out with in person. So that was certainly a motivator, but as a representative of the creative team there, it was kind of a priority for me to meet with other creators and people who represented creators and communicate that not only are we a company that has amazing brand partners, but we are also a creative force to be reckoned with really, we have some really creative people who are eager to collaborate and come up with new, new ideas together. 

So for me, it was definitely a priority to be just be around a lot of creators and be able to talk with them and hear what's what's going through their minds lately. 

(5m 24s): Yeah. I agree with you, Evan. I think that in this virtual world that we've been in for two years to get on any sort of creators, radar, even their PR teams, you have to go through the formal Hadia some time on zoom and then schedule it and there's tech issues and all these other things. And whenever you get all these creators and their management representatives in one place, it makes it a lot easier to have conversations. You bump into somebody at one of the booths and saying, you know, I represented @anadagencythathasovereighty clients like meundies,, zip recruiter. 

You know, I think you'd be great for this X, Y, and Z, and hear their feedback real time. And those are just conversations that you can't always get and, and, you know, conquesting world. So that was really what I got the most from Vidcon was a direct conversations with them and just the opportunity to brand store and beyond, you know, I have an active breed with budgets. It's more of, Hey, what can we do? And what's interesting to work with you because ultimately no one knows a creator's voice better than the creator and their fans, trust them, not a brand talking about a scripted thing that doesn't always make sense or resonate. 

So all of the conversations we had really, I think, were fruitful for both the creators and the brands that we represent. And hopefully we're going to make lots of new connections coming from that. 

 (6m 35s): Yeah. I love the energy of it. Calm to be honest with you, either to piggyback on what Gretchen was saying, there's no replacement for in person and to be around folks and really to feel the energy, you know, and really just have that opportunity to see people smile in person rather than on a computer screen. But, and for me, you know, I, as we look at brands integrating into YouTube and, you know, we've done it for a long time here at ad results with regards to the audio piece. And there's so much that we can do on a video side. 

And so I really was interested in seeing the brand integration into YouTube, and then also seeing the differences between tick talk, you know, being title sponsored versus YouTube in the past. And so I, it was great to see some of the activations on site. It was great to have some of the conversations with the networks on how they integrate within YouTube. So the networks that we work with and really being strategic in how we purchase YouTube versus, you know, TrueView and you just click through. And so a lot of those type of conversations were really great. And that's, that's one of the reasons why I wanted to attend big con 

 (7m 36s): Yeah, I think to kind of accompany that the executives from Google that were on some of these panels, talking about how they're planning to work the algorithm, how they're adjusting it and how they're making it better. It's really valuable for us to see and hear those insights and kind of plan for it with our brand partners. 

 (7m 53s): Very cool to hear. I think it's interesting to think about how that kind of a convention there's like almost like a planned happenstance that's happening. It's like the serendipity of everyone being in that space. It sounds really cool. So curious to hear if you guys had any key takeaways as you're, you know, rubbing shoulders with creators and brands that are there. 

 (8m 12s): So I have kind of two big ones on one of them. I presented to the partners just earlier today, and I think it's really exciting for us. So authenticity is huge and continues to be huge, that creator connection with their audience, where the creator, you see them as a real human and you see there potentially vulnerabilities as well as their strengths. And that's what makes them so compelling, both in terms of the content that they organically create, as well as what they do on behalf of brands. 

And I think it was so great to hear that because arm is such a leader in the world of authenticity and have been for so many years. And to kind of connect that with video is, is really exciting. 

 (9m 3s): Tony, to kind of piggyback off of that. I agree. One of the constant themes that I saw in panels was authenticity authenticity, but the interesting thing to me was, it's not just for the creators, it was equally as important for the brands themselves. So I thought it was interesting that that messaging applied equally to both creator and brand, as far as creating that connection with an audience and also teaming up the right creator with the right brand to really bring that authenticity out and have a more effective sponsored content. 

 (9m 32s): Yeah, I think to be authentic, you have to listen to the creator. They know their audience best. One of my favorite panels was the hot girls panel. I was with drew <inaudible> and McKayla Laughlin, and everybody, Sarah shower actually said she was bewildered because there was a brand that approached her about doing a mother's day campaign for their product. And she was like, I just ranted about my mother to two episodes ago. She sucks. Like it's not going to be authentic if I'm now suddenly saying, send your mom flowers for mother's day. Is that something I would never do? And so that was something kind of scratched my brain a little bit about, you know, maybe Sarah has a great reach against the brand, but is it going to be impact we'll come to that greater if they don't have a relationship with their mother, like, no, it's not. 

So always being authentic, not only so letting creators speak their voice about that, but, you know, using your brain sometimes about that, like who's going to do the most real thing. I know that, especially with gen Z, they know to expect reads from creators. That's just how they make money. It's how they monetize it. But, you know, I think we've all heard an ad or two in our days watching a YouTube video or a TikTok, or it's like, oh my God, you're, you're obviously getting paid to do this and don't actually believe in it. 

 (10m 39s): No, I think that's, what's tough is that brands are living and breathing their brands every single day. Right? So it's very hard for them to have a sense of what the authentic voice of a creator is going to be. That's where we come into play, right? That's our job as matchmakers and who we are is that we can see both sides. And that's our job to match. As Gretchen was saying, that's our job to match our brands that we work with with the right creators, because it is difficult for, for a brand to get out of their world. 

They're trying to sell products, whatever they're selling, they're trying to sell. And so for them, they're looking at reach and they're not necessarily always paying attention to the authentic point of view and the authentic voice that's going to help them sell more of the products. 

 (11m 24s): I think one of the most exciting takeaways I got was the fact that YouTube is going to prioritize content series. And that's something we've been focusing on with a lot of our brands and creators to build out long form, almost episodic like monthly cadence videos. And those give you the opportunity to do really authentic brand deals, because you can dedicate a video to something you can, you know, with Fandel, you can bet on your friends or beating your friends in a, you know, a golf round or something like that. 

Like we can, and we can build that and have an audience expected month after month on the same day. And it's just, the algorithm is going to lean into it as much as the fans are. So that's a really exciting takeaway for me. 

 (12m 5s): I liked that we all kind of took authenticity away. Cause I, I agree that in almost every panel I sat in on that was kind of the key theme. It felt like one of the panels that I sat in on, they talked about how their listeners were or their, their viewers, their fans were even more pumped when they were very honest about like, Hey, I'm working with a brand. And like, I'm going to be doing brand reads. 

And like, this is how I make my money. And like fans were really willing to jump in and like support them in that way. And they really appreciated, you know, that honesty upfront and that just kind of authenticity and like, this is what I'm going to be doing in my show. And so it was really, it was really interesting to hear that that seems to be the theme of 20, 22. So speaking of key takeaways, I would like to hear what were some of y'all's favorite panels from the event? 

 (13m 5s): I'll say it again. I love the hot girls only panel. I actually, I was late to an industry dinner cause I was like, I have to see these women in person. They're so amazing. I saw Chris angel, Becca Berzin and I absolutely fan girl she's so funny. And she does 

 (13m 19s): Love her. 

 (13m 20s): She puts on her characters so well because her character is also her personality and he goes right back to authenticity. And so they let all the fans come up and they're like, you guys are so far away from the stage. You wanna just come sit on the floor and it felt like a big girl sleepover and it was so much fun. And then I had to go to dinner and break my heart, but 

 (13m 38s): I would say the conversation and Mr. Beast panel with Google was my favorite. And you know, when you, when you think about that conversation, it was like this humongous creator that had all these people screaming, but it was just so naughty. He was just a normal dude and he absolutely came off like that. I love the, you know, he wanted the questions. He's like, Hey, if you have my cell phone number, text me a question and I'll answer it right now. 

You know, any, absolutely went to a cell phone and started asking, answering questions I should say, from, from people in the audience. And so I think that's what for me, with regards to YouTube, it just, it just makes it so natural to have someone that has so many people that just idolize this person. But yet when you sit down and you're talking to them, you feel like I could be talking to you on my couch and just hanging out with you right now. So, and Sam, did I say, was it a Google or was it YouTube? A rep that was with Mr. V. 

 (14m 41s): Okay. 

 (14m 41s): That's what I thought they were. 

 (14m 42s): Yeah, but no, I, I mean, I love that panel too. I think that gave us this confidence in our best practices too, that, you know, I think Tony and Nate live and Devon, you know, they lean into every day with, with making talking points that are brought in not just scripts and leave room for authenticity. And I totally agree with you. He was so authentic and also so professional at the same time, it felt like we were making a video with him, which I think that was recorded. Maybe we could share it, but yeah, hearing hearing from those big creators, it's what do you guys want to do with our brands? 

Because that's what, that's what our brands want to hear. It's like, how are you going to make this work on the platform, you know, best. And we'll, we're here to help, you know, I think that's, that's the mentality I came away from VidCon with. 

 (15m 29s): Yeah. I have a couple thoughts on my favorite panels. So I really, you know, enjoyed fanboying out on a couple of my favorite creators. Emily's who gay, who maybe some of you have seen, who made a name for herself on TikTok, where she she's actually a trained graphic designer in real life, but she makes these extremely bad redesigns on tick-tock acting as if she thinks they're good. And some people think that she means it, which is extremely funny. 

She has this whole persona that she, she does on TikTok and in real life, she's just a delightful normal person. I think that's one thing that's really fun about, about VidCon is you get to see how, how these people are all really normal people like to Shea. And Sam just said about MrBeast, I got to see another one of my favorite creators code Mikko. Who's doing some really interesting stuff actually on Twitch where she has a motion capture suit, and then that's translates to a 3d rendered kind of video game, like character avatar of herself. 

And it's extremely detailed and extremely cool and high tech. And I also on, on less of a fan boy note, but just to kind of an industry observer slash participant note, Lindsay, you and I watched a rooster teeth panel that I thought was super insightful. I particularly loved what AIJ Feliciano had to say. He runs rooster teeth podcast network, and I think he'd be a great future guest for this podcast. Actually, he just has a lot of wisdom and smarts in terms of what works in the podcast space and how you translate podcast contents to a video world. 

He's I think they're really taking the lead on that at rooster teeth. So it's, it's very interesting stuff. 

 (17m 15s): I have to echo that one of the fun things was seeing these creators sort of out of their element. I went to a panel that was, that had a bunch of artists and including this guy, Devon Rodriguez, who has a massive, massive TikTok following and Instagram, just from going on the New York subway and drawing people and then filming their reaction when he draws them very, very talented artist. And in person, he was so shy. He seemed really uncomfortable, kind of being up on a panel, talking in front of a small group of people. 

It's just kind of a fun reminder of they're all just people, they're all just human and, and, you know, just because he has millions upon millions of devout followers doesn't mean that he, you know, is even comfortable facing a cold crowd of them on camera and being put on the spot. So that was fun. 

 (18m 6s): I agree with Evan, I went to a great mental health panel and they all talked about how nervous they were and some of them, their hands were like, their hands were visibly shaking. You could see it from the audience. And it just, it's kind of nice to remember that, you know, they're, they're a lot like us and they're way more relatable. These creators are, even though it, sometimes it seems unreachable to have, you know, millions of followers there, you know, they're are a lot more relatable than, than we think. 

 (18m 35s): I guess it's totally different to be in front of a live audience. Even if you have like millions of people watching your videos, you're in front of a camera. And then when you're on stage, that's a completely different energy I would imagine. 

 (18m 48s): Yeah. Well, so many of these creators stories that when they told them in panels where, Hey, I started this during quarantine. And so a lot of, a lot of them built a name by making content with no one else around. And then now all of a sudden they're at a convention with thousands of people asking them questions and staring at them and expecting their wisdom. So that's a, that's a pretty big shift. 

 (19m 12s): Did anyone have any like surprise run-ins with, with like a, like a creator that you've been a fan of? Where were, were you star struck in any moments? 

 (19m 22s): Yes, I, so the only moment I was star struck was I was going back to my hotel and I was on an elevator alone with Savannah Moss and I said, nothing. I'm so mad at myself. I, the entire convention, I was talking to everybody, I was sparking up conversations left and right. And then I'm a huge fan of Savannah MAs who makes these crazy kind of David Lynchian tick talks that are completely bizarre. And you can't find an interview with her on the internet as anywhere. And I'm so curious what she's like in real life. 

And I look through it, I'm like, that looks exactly like Savannah Moss. And I thought, maybe it's not though, it's probably not. And then I got back to my hotel room and I confirmed with her management that she was in fact there. And that was her. So yeah, I was starstruck by Savannah Moss. 

 (20m 13s): There would be nothing more Lynchian than, than running into it. Savannah Moss' doppelganger. 

 (20m 18s): Apparently there were some celebrity dogs at VidCon, which I didn't run into, but I could imagine being very star struck by a celebrity dog. 

 (20m 27s): I saw the, I saw the corgi that rides around in the backpack on the subway. He was there. So I did see a celebrity dog. So one thing that I was curious about, and Disha, you kind of mentioned earlier about, you know, how tick-tock was kind of the sponsor of VidCon this year. And so there was a ton of TikTok creators, and there was a ton of TikTok content. Was there anything that y'all felt was missing from VidCon that you would like to see in the future? 

 (20m 53s): I'm I'm interested in, in Twitch? I know I just mentioned, I saw code Mico. Who's primarily a Twitch grader, but there was not a whole lot of Twitch stuff. I think Twitch is an area that brands and agencies have not yet figured out how to crack. And for me as a creative director, that's always the most exciting space to play in like to try to solve those problems that haven't yet been solved. And also, I think it's just a huge business opportunity. So I'd love to talk more about Twitch and think more about Twitch. 

 (21m 23s): That was actually mine as well. Some of my most followed YouTube personalities that I watch post to their Twitch streams to YouTube. They go in, they clean them. Cause I mean, you know, they, they stream for hours, but they'll go in, they'll clean them up to, you know, 30 minutes, an hour long YouTube video. And then they post that. And then that's what I watch. I would love to hear more from them because I know that there are some of them that have some really interesting brand relationships going on, that they do, you know, push on their Twitch channels. 

 (21m 54s): And there's really interesting stuff you can think about when you talk about that live interaction, which Twitch is all about a live interaction with their fans and how can brands get involved in that space? It's just exciting and cool. 

 (22m 6s): I think the panels I want to see in something are, might be able to help with is panels with creators and brands. You know, I think, I think talking about what's worked, what hasn't worked, what's gonna, you know, what they want to do. I think we want more brand representatives on the panels and I think that's something that, you know, certainly certainly arm can facilitate for next year. 

 (22m 28s): Yeah. That's exactly what I was going to get into. I think having the brands and having, I would love to see VidCon lean into having more brands there. I think you could tell that first of all, this was the Mo most unique quote unquote conference that I'd ever been to. It was a blend of a conference and also a fan of it. And so, I mean, ultimately it was, yeah, so I've never been to a conference that was a fan of that. And so I believe that there is a ability to do both. And I think that there could be a way to separate them, to be honest with you, that they don't necessarily need to run together. 

And as Sam was saying that you make the, there could be a couple of days that could be very brand focused. That could be very professional focused and really talk about the growth, whether we're talking about Twitch or YouTube, or as we move forward, that's not as creator and fan focused as well at the same time. 

 (23m 21s): Echo all of that for sure that the industry track felt very separated. Both in that the third floor was the industry track. And that was that there was a lot of really great sales pitches on here's why our company represents the best influencers, but no real thought leadership on how do you make those connections? And they get work. Have people come from the second floor up to the third floor, let's do some joint panels and things like that. So it's, you run into that, a lot of different conventions and conferences and the space where it's like, how do you know what's actionable versus, you know, we paid here to have, you know, FaceTime for a sales pitch, but I find the most value out of panels that make me leave and say, Ooh, that got juicy. 

You know, there are a lot of different opinions in that room and now I'm questioning what the right strategy is. And I have a lot of new ideas coming out of it 

 (24m 8s): That really leads into, I guess the last question I wanted to ask, which is looking at how ad results has been, you know, a huge part of the creator economy and how the creator economy is shifting and how our focus is shifting. How do you see where we are now in that space? And, and where are you hoping that we go in the future? 

 (24m 28s): Well, we've been matchmakers in this space for tons of creators that, you know, naturally started in radio expanded to podcasts, but you'll probably see that most creators are active on a couple of different mediums. It's not just, you know, I'm only a radio announcer and that said they have complimentary podcasts, they're getting active on tech talk and things like that. And that's where I think our results has a really special leg up is that we're creator first. And we help clients understand is the right strategy to leverage your product in an audio setting or is a visual component needed for that. 

Can your product thrive in a long form environment like YouTube, or is this something to consider for some of the new YouTube shorts that the algorithm is going to prioritize? Those are questions that a brand manager on the brand side who maybe paid media and influencer marketing is only 10% of their job, just can't activate on think without the right consultancy and the right agency to help them guide them in that direction. 

 (25m 22s): And yeah, to add to that, I think it's on some of these social platforms like TikTok to help us with things like performance tracking. I mean, we're a results focused agency and we're always going to be so, you know, where will you totally want to utilize TikTok as much as we can. We want to be part of that. If it isn't going to drive results, then what's the point. So I'm really excited to see what these new platforms outside of YouTube can do to help our clients drive results. 

 (25m 52s): It's not even just drive results, it's verify them and measure them as well because, you know, you can hear anecdotally, oh, we launched something and then the next day or site traffic spiked, and you can maybe assume it was correlated to that. But as a result has been really strong and connecting radio to results and podcasting to results and these YouTube creators to actual results through different types of integrations, vanity URLs, more integrated clickable pieces on the content. There's so many ways that brands can actually drive consumers to make action and blog it and build that relationship. 

It's tough to do that without an agency or having somebody inside on your brand that truly understands attribution. And you know how, even if you're in a channel that can't drive attribution, like tick-tock, what are other creative ways that you can say was this investment worth in this creator? And 

 (26m 43s): Would we, it again, well, I wanted to thank you all so much for kind of joining us on this. Look back to VidCon. I'm really excited to continue to see the growth within the space and our growth within the space as well. And just kind of seeing what our next steps are and you know, how we continue to move forward with our takeaways and learnings. And hopefully we will be at VidCon 20, 23, maybe leading some panels. I love Sam's idea of bringing more brands to the conversation and yeah, I'm looking forward to next steps. 

Thank you all so much. 

(27m 22s): Thank you. 

 (27m 24s): If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe for updates on future episodes and leave us a comment with your feedback, questions or ideas for future segments. If you would like more information on ad results media and what we do, please visit us online at This podcast is an Ad Results Media production.