Last week, Ad Results Media was in full attendance to the first in-person VidCon event since 2019 with leaders from creative, audio insights, media, and business development.  The conference & convention featured high-profile creators from YouTube, TikTok and created fruitful connections, discussions, and potential branded partnerships in our clients’ and creators’ futures.  VidCon filled the Anaheim Convention Center and created three days of insights and magic for creators, platform innovators, fans and brands.  

There were some fantastic industry exchanges; here are our top three takeaways.

Takeaway 1:  Viewer Engagement is Key

In MrBeast’s Friday morning panel, it was stated that long-form creator videos (over 5 minutes) on YouTube receive a 70% watch-through rate.  Creators across the board had similar high engagement numbers with their videos, which reinforces a proven ARM performance strategy to prioritize mid-content integrations and mid-roll over start-of-video integrations.  

Why is this more effective?  Prioritizing partnerships deeper into a creator video’s length, rather than the first few minutes, means brands reach a more tuned-in viewer.  It places branded partnerships where higher receptivity increases the chances for brand recall, association, and performance/retail KPIs, and improves the borrowed clout and equity of that creator’s endorsement.  In an industry where pre-roll ads are frequently skipped, a mid-roll integration presents an opportunity to connect brands with the storyline naturally and in a non-disruptive format.  

Trust your creators to place your branded experience within their story and within their content, and you’ll see better engagement metrics.  Pre-roll ads may have carried the digital world’s storytelling in the past, but mid-roll is our future.  

Takeaway 2:  Growth is Fundamental

Ben Relles shared his 10 fundamental rules on driving audience growth on YouTube for creators and brands; we’ve shared our own interpretation of those for creators and brands alike.

  1. ShareabilityWhat makes a consumer send a video to a friend or post it on their social media?  Content that is relevant and exciting enough to put in front of your peers to connect and build community.  Brief your creators to create content worth sending.
  2. ConversationBe part of the conversation.  What’s on a viewer’s mind, and how can creators and brands create relevancy in the latest news and social trends?  Also be explicit and conscious if there are conversations to stay away from as a brand.
  3. Interactivity.  What actions does your content demand from users?  Is it likes and comments on the video, or is it something broader?  Consumers often like to feel part of the story. 
  4. ConsistencyEnsure that views are consistent across multiple videos to ensure there is a solid viewer base; likewise, creators should ensure they have a set content strategy that a consumer expects.  
  5. Targeting.  No creator can make content for everyone. Are you finding your audience and catering to them? 
  6. Sustainability.  Depending on your release cadence, how big is the lift to create your content? Should you be posting once a week, once a day, or once a month? 
  7. DiscoverabilityDoes the creator have a cross-platform strategy? Are you including other creators in your content that can help with promotion?
  8. Accessibility.  A one-channel strategy is limiting, so how are you tailoring your content for other platforms even with different mediums (audio, still image, etc.)? Are you cross-promoting? 
  9. CollaborationCreativity is done at its peak when unexpected things are combined to make a new product.  How can working with other creators, or other brands, change a consumer’s perception or actions with your product?  Is there a story that a brand or creator can’t tell alone, that may be more effective  
  10. Inspiration.  What’s the “so what?”  Does your viewer leave feeling inspired and energized?  Spark new ideas and positive feelings with your content… your audience just might act on it.  

Takeaway 3:  YouTube has an Algorithm Agenda

The three big trends that YouTube is projecting for the rest of this year may shape how brands test and grow in the space, and how consumers are served and seeded content.

  1. Short-form content in the form of YouTube Shorts is predicted to take off. Creators will be encouraged and incentivized to create short-form videos in addition to their long (>5min) content.  Our perspective?  This feels like a race for conquesting a major video competitor’s short-form audiences to spend more time on YouTube with their favorite creators.  We expect YouTube Shorts to be a growing space, but the role for brands is still open to craft and test as many brands expect measured direct response and performance results.
  2. There will be significant growth in online learning videos and the viewers that follow.  Online learning partnerships at Ad Results Media drive some of the highest conversion rates and happiest clients with the partnership.  Whether you’re teaching someone how to change their oil, or speak a new language, if a creator can teach you something, there is trust. Therefore, the products those creators endorse can presumably be trusted as well. 
  3. Finally, episodic content is here to grow.  New episodes and continued storytelling keeps users coming back to the platform to engage; YouTube’s algorithm will continue to push creators that commit to creating lots of videos and content.  If you have a favorite creator, and they’re creating multi-episode content series, expect to see a lot more of them in your search results on YouTube.