Top Quality Creative Content Gets Better

Some companies have no problem patting themselves on the back when it comes to the creativity of their ad campaigns. As far as giving the industry as a whole the same pat on the back, however, that’s a whole different story.

eMarketer reported on a new poll conducted by CRN International, based upon research from June of this year, that indicates that more than three-quarters of U.S. marketers are pleased with the overall quality of creative with their advertising, ranking it from good to excellent, while only 1.7 percent of those polled ranked it as poor.

That said, there’s still apparently work to be done, as respondents feel that creative across the sector as a whole isn’t as well received. Only six in ten marketers rated the quality of creative from the brands that were associated as good or excellent.

When asked what the biggest obstacles were in regards to reaching that creative level, respondents stated that it came down to the understanding of customers and corporate culture as a whole. Other small issues were also mentioned, including prioritizing certain efforts and a lack of confidence in certain campaigns.

As far as what kind of creative content is king, respondents seemed to be most confident in informative content — that’s what two-thirds of those asked seemed to think. 15.5 percent also added that touching content was the most effective type of content, and one in ten stated that something humorous can get the job done.

In addition, numbers provided by Undertone indicate that nearly eight in ten marketers and 73 percent of agencies noticed the visual appeal of certain ads. Meanwhile, almost seven in ten marketers said the content needs to relate to consumers on either a personal or relevant level. (65 percent of agencies polled agreed.)

And one other part of the picture was provided by Market Measurement for Active International, based on numbers from May of this year. Advertisers are picking up more on creative focus, with 58 percent of U.S. media company execs stating that reinforcing advertising value via content, instead of based upon ratings, was a top priority when it came to advertising. This is compared to the 42 percent who favored developing new price models for digital, mobile and social channel inventory.

BY Experience Exec Explains How Movie Theaters Open ESports Reach

On Aug. 23, ESL and BY Experience, in association with Fathom Events, is bringing the ESL One Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals from the LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany to cinema screens across the U.S. and around the globe to over 25 additional countries. While pros compete for a share of $250,000, fans can gather in theaters around the world and get a behind-the-scenes look at the action.

Julie Borchard-Young, head of By Experience, explains what’s in store for fans in this first live eSports endeavor for the company and why the theater experience is important for the entire eSports ecosystem in this exclusive interview.

Julie Borchard-YoungJulie Borchard-Young

What have you learned from the theatrical approach that Coke has taken with League of Legends since last year?

Coke seems to have taken a very focused approach by broadcasting their sponsored events in 10 or so markets and streaming straight feeds of the games, without any bonus content for cinema. BY Experience has taken quite a different approach, as we have scaled the eSports event on a global basis to over 30 countries and we broadcast the finals only, in the highest quality video and audio. In addition, we produce added value content that is inserted into the broadcasts, making each unique for cinema.

Fathom Entertainment is also bringing eSports to the big screen. What do you feel differentiates what By Experience is doing in this space?  

BY Experience is distributing its eSports in Cinema to Fathom Events for certain theaters, and we congratulate them on securing additional eSports events for their screens. BY Experience is offering consumers a very unique experience that they can only get in theaters with not only the live games, but also the addition of behind-the-scenes bonus material that fans cannot get anywhere else.

What does the theater experience open up for eSports fans? 

The big screen offers eSports fans an experience unlike any other, where fans can gather as a community to watch and enjoy their gaming experience in a shared experience. The in-theater screenings compliment and replicate the in-stadium Live venue experience, for a fraction of the price to travel and “be there” in person.

What did you learn from your first eSports experience and livestream staged with the premiere of the eSports film, All Work All Play

The All Work All Play event featured great content and was wonderfully executed. It was very challenging to get eSports fans and the gamers out to see a documentary about a sport they love so much. Our conclusion is the gamers want to see true eSports events, and nothing else?

What theater chains are you working with in the U.S. and what’s the global reach through theaters?  

We are working with all major chains in the U.S., including National Amusements, AMC, and Marcus Theatres. The ESL BYE program is being distributed to over 25 countries worldwide.

How have you worked with ESL on this project?

ESL is our partner on this project. Both ESL and BY Experience are highly collaborative and our purpose is to deliver a unique and memorable cinematic experience for fans globally.

What’s the price of admission and what types of extras do gamers get by going to the theater experience?  

The admission rages from $12.50 to $15, depending on the cinema. ESports fans receive an originally produced event, which entails eSports commentator from Soe “Soembie” Gschwind-Penksi exclusively for the cinemas and added-value content that is being captured from the first two days of the tournament.

Right now eSports is all about livestreaming and mostly on mobile or console/PCs. What role do you see theaters playing in this ecosystem moving forward?  

It is difficult to predict where eSports in cinema will trend, as we all are trying to figure out what the most compelling offering for cinema screens will be for eSports fans, and how that will translate into the in-cinema environment.

What’s ByExperience’s background and how is that helping with eSports?  

BY Experience has been at the forefront of delivering live “alternative content” for cinema screens, for the past decade. We have learned that fans — whether fans of theater, opera, radio shows, ballet, music or gaming — enjoy getting together in movie theaters to share in their common interests.

Why did you decide to get involved in eSports to begin with?  

BY Experience has deep roots in alternative content programming in cinemas, including as worldwide distribution representative for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series and National Theatre Live (outside the UK). We continue to blaze the trail with original, unique new genres of content and thought gaming would be a great fit for us and for our cinema clients.

How are you selecting events to focus on? 

We look for unique experiences that we believe fans would enjoy, then research the ideas fully vetting them to determine if the event is ready for its big screen moment.

What’s the next event after ESL One?  

We are going to evaluate the success of Counter-Strike and then make a determination on future events for eSports in Cinema. We are optimistic the fans want this new venture to succeed as much as we do.

[a]list Video Summit: 5 Lessons for Game Marketers

The [a]list Video Summit yesterday was packed full of insights from industry leaders, talking about video, mobile, social, and the intersections among those areas. For game marketers in particular, there useful takeaways a-plenty.

Make your games spectator friendly
It’s clear that video is taking over millennial viewing habits, and so if you want your games to have the best reach they need to be spectator-friendly. Games like multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) have created enormous audiences of streaming viewers, and that’s not by accident. Savvy game publishers are putting in special spectator modes, or at least making sure that the game both looks good and is interesting when watched by non-players. It’s not just streaming, either short video clips are easier than ever to produce (consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 make it easy), but it certainly helps to tweak the game to make this both easy and impressive.

Even mobile games can get in on the fun, with titles like Vainglory attracting big crowds. Game marketers have to press for this, though, and work hard with product development to make this happen. It’s not just action games, either some creative thinking can come up with interesting visuals to turn into videos for nearly any game. Think of those billions of Minecraft video views that happen every month… and how important that is to the continuing success of that decidedly non-action game.

Influence the influencers
The Video Summit yesterday once again showed the growing importance of influencers in activating and engaging an audience, and in driving purchase decisions. It’s not an accident that the majority of the top YouTubers are gamers there’s a huge appetite for game content on YouTube, Twitch, and elsewhere on video and social media. The influencers are the key to millions of fans, and game marketers need to focus on influencers. Sure, you can wait around to see if your game gets discovered by an influencer, but that hardly seems like a winning strategy.

Game marketers should be building a list of influencers who love games, and what type of games and when you have a game that matches some influencer’s tastes, then work with them to see if they want to showcase. Better still, game marketers should be building relationships with influencers in anticipation of the day when you can send that influencer your new game and get some great coverage for it.

Think mobile video for your game
Yes, video has been a terrific marketing tool for games for many years now, and it continues to be a great way to attract attention and drive fans to your game. Now, though, the nature of video distribution and consumption is changing, especially in key demographics. Mobile is more often where video is being seen, not on desktops. Mobile viewing sessions are often shorter, too. And DEFY Media pointed out a very key fact many video views are sequential. You get through one video, you check out the related one.

Game marketers need to be creating more videos, not fewer. Or maybe taking longer ones and creating multiple snippets from them. Don’t restrict yourself to 10-minute long extended gameplay features. Check out the various ways people are experiencing video, especially on mobile, and craft your video content according to where the potential audience exists and what they are looking for.

Consider all the platforms for video and social content
While Facebook is now a more important platform than ever (especially as it becomes a huge video platform to rival YouTube), you shouldn’t restrict your social and video content to that platform. It’s a bad strategy to try and drive your audience to one particular platform instead, you should go where they are. How do you even know your audience is on a platform until you give it a try Check out Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Vimeo, and all the other places you can find for a wide variety of media. As Microsoft has shown so eloquently, even podccasts can be a tremendously effective way to drive traffic for game fans.

Yes, this is going to be a big effort engaging properly on even one or two social media can be a lot of work let alone a half dozen or more. Perhaps multiple venues aren’t that useful for your game, but you won’t really know until you give them a good chance. And you should keep looking for new outlets, and try old ones again as time goes on the social environment is changing rapidly, and yesterday’s answers may not be valid tomorrow.

Engage your audience with content beyond the game
Yes, your game is a good chunk of content, even if it’s just a match-3 game there’s probably plenty of artwork there, if nothing else. Yet most games have much more than a surface layer of graphics there’s usually a backstory, and often characters, even with the simplest of games. With deeper, more complex games, there can be massive amounts of characters and backstory. All of that is grist for the marketer’s mill, especially in this day and age of content marketing.

Creative marketing should showcase the content associated with the game, or extend it, or create it. Look at what Barbie is doing as a vlogger now that’s building on a deep background, to be sure, but it’s fresh and engaging content for a doll. If Mattel can do that, certainly you can come up with something interesting for your game. Maybe it’s video, maybe it’s a documentary about the making of the game, maybe it’s a podcast or a novel or maybe all of the above.

YouTube’s Top Techies Get Ranked

These days, when someone is about to drop some cash on expensive headphones, a brand new phone, or any other number of gadgets, they don’t just check out written reviews– they get hands on insights from their most trusted YouTubers. ION looks into the top techies reigning on YouTube this week, whether it’s putting iPhones to the test, giving a product’s packaging full appreciation and more.


Twitter Introduces New Audience Platform

Twitter is ready to engage its audience once again while at the same time appeasing its many publishers that look to take advantage of new features.

A report from MediaPost states that the popular social site has relaunched its Publisher Network with a new name the Twitter Audience Platform. With the launch, which took place today, users of the service can take advantage of new features, including the ability to encompass tweet engagements and video views. This is on top of the already existing ability to drive mobile app installs and re-engagements. With this, videos on Twitter Audience Platforms will play automatically on a device, with video fully in view.

Many of the targeting signals used on Twitter such as interest, username, and keyword can be applied to your campaigns across mobile apps, Eric Farkas, product marketing manager for revenue at Twitter, explained.

Some other features have been introduced as well, in an attempt to help advertising partners reach out to in-app audiences. This includes the ability to convert tweet engagement campaigns into interstitial and native ads, turning promoted video campaigns into in-app video ads, and creating banner ads from app install or re-engagement campaigns.

We ve also added creative features to interstitials to help you extend your best content beyond Twitter, said Farkas. This includes being able to retweet and favorite directly from the Twitter Audience Platform ads. Call-to-action buttons have also been thrown in, assisting brands with getting a better drive from desired user actions.

Internal estimates believe that the Audience Platform could now have a potential reach of 700 million consumers and that will no doubt be music to the ears of some of its partners.

How this will be effective in the long run remains to be seen, but it s a safe bet that some companies are already set to take advantage of the Platform, just to see what it can do.

‘Halo 5’: Audio Killed the Radio Star?

Halo 5: Guardians is set to be one of the biggest hits of the holiday season for Microsoft s Xbox One console, and director of marketing communications for Xbox Ryan Cameron chose the [a]list daily Summit to discuss the foundation for the forthcoming audio spin-off of that series, Hunt the Truth, a 12-part audio saga supplying additional character to the sequel.

Following the introduction of a video chronicling fan reaction to two different commercials (featuring hero Master Chief and newcomer Spartan Locke, each in similar positions against their foe), Cameron, interviews by Ayzenberg creative director Noah Eichen, explained that the audio series was put together to fill the gaps between the bullet teaser and the commercials. That eventually became a 14-episode, three and a half hour series that kept fans intrigued.

Staying true to the brand was a challenge, along with the marketing and raising awareness, but the podcast was an ideal way to provide additional content to fans, filling in the blanks with story. Touch points were used, including key art from Halo 2 and a commercial from Halo 3, to fold into the story, creating a connected universe and avid fans know how vital a connected universe can be. The more questions that were generated from it, the more attention generated from fans to get those questions answered.

Cameron indicated the importance of engagement with fans, and not just audio-wise, but also on social networks on Twitter and Facebook. Storytelling plays a part, he explained, with various touch points. He felt that it was a perfect connection, alongside the smaller videos that tied in with Guardians. A long-form format also activates the theater of the mind, allowing people s imaginations to take the story to greater heights. Its popularity created a personal experience that players could latch on to and intrigue others in the process.

One good thing from this involves the open-ended story. The further it went along, the more it would draw in players, seeking answers on a coordinating Tumblr blog, as well as future episodes. Even with turning the franchise on its head , so to speak (like introducing a new hero instead of the usual go-to soldier, Master Chief), fans still connected with the content.

Professional actors play a part in the podcast as well, adding authenticity to the material. Keegan Michael Key (from Key & Peele) played a part in early episodes, as well as Cobie Smulders and voice actors like Phil LaMarr and Troy Baker (a veteran of various game franchises).

Cameron then hinted that season 2 would begin recording later that week, continuing to tie in with the game s legacy leading into its release coming on October 27th for Xbox One.

The floor was then open to discussion, and measurement of the podcast s success was brought up. Remaining social and having strong conversation with friends were both strong points, and social chatter was monitored on a weekly basis, adding to its overall success. (6 million and counting, according to Cameron.)

Google Relying On Brands For Music Success

Most of the time, streaming music companies rely on subscription services or special features to draw revenue. The competition can be fierce as a result, with companies like Apple, Pandora and iHeartRadio all fighting for a piece of the streaming music pie.

Google entered the fray earlier this summer with a free, ad-supported music streaming service, in its own effort to get involved. However, instead of relying on subscriptions or special deals to generate funds, it has something different in mind promotional partners.

AdWeek recently reported that Google, alongside digital ad agency Essence, have teamed up with a number of brands, including fashion retailer ASOS and health food prep site Munchery to make online radio available in a new, unique venue offline.

“One of the key features of Google Play Music are these stations that make whatever you’re doing IRL [in your real life] better,” said Jessica Igoe, Google Play’s head of global media and content partnerships. “These digital partnerships with ASOS, Munchery and others that we’ll be announcing are critical to reach music fans where they’re doing things that we think could be a little more interesting.”

The partnership has some creativity behind it. Google, working with ASOS, put together a shoppable look book that pairs outfits with music festivals and parties, with a link to a themed playlist streamed from Google s page.

Meanwhile, its partnership with Munchery ties in with certain meals, like a playlist called Happy Hour Country Radio that ties in with a yummy dinner that includes macaroni and cheese, along with fried chicken. The radio station lists were actually compiled by Munchery s line-up of chefs.

Eddie Revis, creative media and strategy lead for Essence, believes this is the key to successful music marketing. “Munchery listened to Google’s radio stations to pair it [with food], so it was human-curated their chef actually listened to the station,” he stated.

With this deal, Google is investing more in its music service, and hopes that it pays off in the long run. “Music is our priority within Google Play it’s the main focus area for the second half of the year,” said Igoe.

Whether it will be effective against Apple s streaming service or the leaders at Pandora has yet to be seen but this new twist could do some good for Google. And who doesn t like fried chicken

What Video Creators Want From Brand Soulmates

The [a]list daily Video Summit has drawn to a close, but it went out with a bang as the final panel of the day covered the partnership between influencers and brand soul mates as it were. The star-studded panel included RocketJump (and Video Game High School production house) creative director Mike Symonds, self-appointed King of Music Video Parodies Bart Baker, The Game Theorists creator Matthew Patrick, #1 Twitch Streamer Tom Cassell (the first to reach two million on the streaming network), and actress and producer Olga Kay, moderated by talent group director for ION, Steven Lai.

After quick introductions, the panel turned to storytelling, where each of the participants discussed how they approach it, since they all do it differently. Symonds noted that while a familiar model was followed, creativity was found, especially when it came to doing so within an allotted budget. Rocketjump bypasses the usual digital film circles, instead just presenting it online in a short format. They still make it work within a traditional format, even as shorts. He also mentioned RocketJump s film school, devoted to the format.

Patrick spoke next, talking about finding the little details in the creative process. A lot of research and effort go into those works, so he finds that they can pay off when it gets implanted into videos, where they re usually overlooked otherwise. Twisting around the story can play a part as well (similar to what Microsoft is doing with Halo 5: Guardians). What if Mario is evil he asked, pointing out what evidence could tie into that. Meta-stories can emerge from the lore as a result, and he s excited about it because it changes around familiar IP, creating a new appreciation and perspective in the process. What is the value proposition for the fan he asked, wondering what they would learn from the videos. Delivering upon what already exists is a different way to look at it.

Kay then took the mic, saying that knowing the audience and brands really well pays off. As a result, the creative process becomes simple. It just becomes this synergy, easier to delivering to your audience, she said.

The process for a parody is two weeks, said Baker. We will watch it millions of times, and then we have to pick apart as much as we can and find whatever we can to make fun of another video that we think an audience would find humorous. Digging through this, while timely, can pay off with a built storyline, straight from user s commentary. This creates an interaction unlike most video content available for viewing.

Cassell simply said, I play video games, and while not as in-depth as what the others provide, he talked about challenges with YouTube and trying to overtake certain parts of the industry. He follows an easy routine, playing games and uploading, and millions of people watch it.

The topic then turned to the approach to high audience numbers. Cassell stated he took a big step with Twitch, and simply gave it a go to bring his audience over from YouTube. It s a pretty daunting task to ask them to switch platforms, but they managed to do it. One day, he managed to hit 121,000 users concurrent, just by playing the popular Minecraft. Transition definitely played a key part. He also noted raising awareness through social media channels.

Up next was Baker, he noted that he started using Snapchat and Vine, since he s friends will all the big Viners . He began posting regularly, and he s risen 120,000 users in three to four weeks time (thanks to his following). Snapchat is just a beast, he notes, saying he gets three millions opens daily. They literally are the most engaged audience.

Kay noted that staying on top of all the networks is a smart idea, as she recently experimented with Snapchat and Twitter s live-streaming Periscope service. She s only been on for a month, and already has a brand deal with Nestle as a result. You never know what s going to take off, she said, regarding experimenting with networks. Some are created more for businesses than creators, but there s still that one-on-one engagement that can pay off. She said there s a psychological effect to opening things by pressing a button on a device, particularly with Snapchat. With Snapchat, I have to be there, and that s why they re mostly successful, she said.

Patrick explained that it s confusing to be in today s media landscape. You don t know what s going to take off, or what you should be measuring, he explained. While Facebook is touting billions of views, they re mostly generated through auto-scrolling through a view on their webpage. The metrics can be completely different, which can be a challenge for brands. He also stated that they shouldn t be everywhere, as they can work in different mediums, such as Vine (with short and snappy advertising). Video game companies thrive on YouTube as well. Pipelines and revenue sources aren t available to join all the networks, either. Developing a strong audience on one platform seems to be a specialty for most, especially with the strong delivery available on YouTube. As for which platform fits what brands, he suggests asking for the brand preposition.

Kay returned to the mic to counter, stating it never hurts to open an account just so you claim the space .

Symonds brought up film school, and the tools necessary to complete it. Specializing in an audience that buys and engages in video content is in the same ecosystem, he explained.

Cassell mentioned there s an overload of social networks available, but he decides by seeing which ones are the most viable with what he has to offer.

Relationship with audience and engagement can make a difference as well, as Lai explained. Cassell once again spoke, telling a story regarding how he grew up and developed (over the past five years), and became able to build his own company, as well as a home. The audience has shared these moments with him, even connecting with him following a personal loss of a family member.

Baker says his channel is different with music video parodies, where he didn t really address the audience beforehand. However, with N-Slate content, he played more of a part in that, sharing links and such. That s when he rose from 100,000 to a million in a matter of months, due to that personal connection. Snapchat has that kind of personal connection as well, in spite of being temporary. It shows more of your personal side.

Kay said it s the same for all of us, but with all the companies and brands that start YouTube channels, they take the idea of traditional marketing and it doesn t really work, due to the lack of a connection. One-on-one conversation is what most of the audience was established on, and bringing in personalities can help brands connect better to said audience.

Patrick wondered how to match the success of others in the YouTube circles, like Michelle Phan. It s about relating to the audience with an organic connection. There s a passion to it, right he said. He brought up PewDiePie and how some folks couldn t connect to it, but he has a language with his audience that completely relates to them, and not necessarily outsiders. As a result, that s a more genuine reason for his popularity. The question between someone between amateur and professional YouTubers is brought up, but Patrick assures that PewDiePie is a professional at what he does, and his earnings, controversial as they may seem, show that. Overcoming that hurdle and getting that personal connection, high production values or not, is something that brands need to do.

Kay also brought up marketing, with attention being paid to brands. Some people don t have TV and couldn t name shows, and that the future generation will be growing with YouTube personalities, like PewDiePie. Both traditional and digital media should be concentrated on, even as the older generation dies off, as Kay puts it.

Symonds said the intent with trying to reach out to an audience remains the same, and brought up Steven Spielberg s Jaws as an influential idea. Finding the right balance with both the audience and the brands, particularly with mood ( Don t piss people off ) is vital as well, and communicating what RocketJump wants to do with their content. Getting everyone on the same page to understand this cool video is a key ingredient. That s really what we strive for at the end of the day, he said.

Cassell then brought up someone that tried to promote a snack that he was asked to promote. Natural brand integration was suggested, where he doesn t need to do some sort of awkward pitch. He enjoyed doing it, and the audience got a kick out of it as well, rather than groaning at the content. Working with brands pays off as well, rather than just being told flatly what to do, without any involvement from the talent.

Baker talked about an app he launched called Challenge, featuring ideal integration without hitting users over the head with sponsorship. It s generated a strong audience as a result, while at the same time getting word out around the bands. Offering a prize helps as well, like getting Bose s name out there by offering a headset for a giveaway.

Rob Ciampa Talks YouTube Success

Rob Ciampa, the CMO of Pixability, knows all about the success of YouTube branding, as well as the challenges that come with it. We recently sat down with him at the [a]list daily Video Summit to get her perspective on many topics, including if Facebook video could be a worthwhile competitor.

What do you think is the most effective factor when it comes to YouTube marketing?

When we look at YouTube advertising, there s actually two sides to the equation. There s going to be the creator s side, which in the old days are known as the publishers, and then there s the advertiser s, which are going to be brands and agencies usually involved. The challenge on the creator side is that they have to get discovered, they have to do stuff on their own before they can have any meaning to the advertisers. So, obvious that means video, SEO, community interaction, all that stuff that s near and dear. And doing content that s actually real and genuine. Over the years, we ve analyzed hundreds of millions of videos and we ve looked at channels, and it s always the genuine content that matters.

Now, from the advertiser s side, they need to also care about what s going on on the creator s side, but they also have to know who s trending. A lot of advertisers would turn around and basically say, Lemme get the channel that has the most views that s good on the advertising side. What we re doing at Pixability, we came up with a series of metrics that really talk about creators that are below the radar, that are trained as, maybe, great advertising targets. So we try to link them both together. With video advertising marketing, there are both sides to the equation.

For those who don t know what your V3 program is, kindly break it down for us?

What we did at Pixability, when we introduced V3 last year, it was really there were two elements to effective operation on YouTube and our focus on advertising. One was just a massive data set we have a five year data set. Not only YouTube, but Facebook information, and some social information really looking at the use of video. So making that whole database and predictability analysis and all those geeky terms that are important, making that data actionable so you could really do effective targeting. That became a very big deal. But that was only half of what we re trying to do.

The other half of V3 is that we actually built a really great workflow, enterprise and infrastructure, to really sell the campaigns. Because with YouTube, everybody thinks, Well, I can start a YouTube campaign that must be relevantly easy. But YouTube is actually rather sophisticated. What we found through trial and error, and we ve been at this a long time is a lot of stuff we were doing internally moved into our work flow to really set up sophisticated campaigns, do A/B testing, do A/B/C/D testing. But at the same time, we also set up well, you have floors, and you have ceilings benchmarks for a lot of advertising. Because, again, when you look at advertising, what we often times see brought into campaigns that other people have run that haven t performed, and we see mistargeting, we see bids that are way out of whack, and it s no surprise that it doesn t go wrong. What we do with V3, Pixability has put in all the controls so we tend to know what a campaign will be, before we even run it.

Do you think companies are using YouTube more effectively when creating video content, or do you think there may be things that they re missing, on both the creator and the brand side?

On the brand side, creators tend to have a lot of credence. They re genuine, they re authentic, and they get listened to, and that s important from a brand perspective. But, on the brand side, the challenge for many years is that they weren t necessarily thinking like creators. A couple of years back, we saw a lot of repurposed commercials that do abysmal on YouTube and now what we re starting to see is brands and agencies that are starting to think more like creators. While that won t make them creators per se, we re seeing more from a program perspective. They re thinking authenticity, and more importantly, they re thinking of using YouTube in particular as a way to really engage with their audience, and that s a very, very important point that was only touched upon this morning.

A lot of people have to realize that brand decisions are now being made on YouTube. It s the authority, especially with the younger generations. It s not so much, if you re looking at 55 or over, they re gonna stick with what they learned on television. But younger people are looking to YouTube to make decisions, specifically on brands.

YouTube still plays a major factor when it comes to video, but Facebook is trying to establish their own video network. Do you see any positives from that, or do you believe YouTube will still be dominant?

That s a fabulous question. It s always YouTube or Facebook, and each plays a different role. One of the speakers this morning spoke about intent versus awareness, but both intent and awareness play very specific roles overall in the marketing life cycle. So, the effective thing is seeing where each one plays, and they play very different roles. So that s the long-term for YouTube and Facebook.

Just to add, it may not be the same content.

Where do you see trends emerging on YouTube and Facebook in the future?

I think people looking at different parts funnel the customer experience. Overall, quality has gotten much better. Not that quality mattered, it s authenticity matters, but quality has improved greatly. We see that happening, but we also see a lot of we saw this earlier on with the auto manufacturers but we re starting to see videos playing a role in customer service. So what happens afterward Is my engagement with the company, say I have a specific product at home that I want to learn how to use. I don t want to fumble through a manual, I m gonna go right to their website and see it. So that s a great opportunity for not only companies to teach their customers what to do, but possibly to turn around and show them something they re offering within their portfolio.

Barbie Goes Native on YouTube

LeAnne Hackmann, Sr. Director Global Content Strategy & Activation, Mattel and Julia Pistor, Executive Producer, Playground Productions, Mattel, discuss Barbies vlogging debut with Heather Vernon, Director, Client Service, Ayzenberg. The focus of this case-study is on incorporating YouTube prevailing trends to re-imagine Barbie as a vlogger to drive brand awareness and engage our fans in a manner that was native to channel.

“Giving Barbie a voice on YouTube seemed the most authentic thing we had ever done,” said Hackmann. “How do we really deliver the first animated character in this form ” asked Pistor. “It scared us.” Hackmann noted that she runs everything by her 16-year-old daughter to help make sure the Barbie voice is talking about things a teenager would talk about.

“We’ve created what is for us a really new animation model,” said Hackmann. “It’s not scripted a long time in advance. It’s done in real-time as much as possible and mo-capped.” “You get that instant feedback from the audience,” said Pistor. “We can change things in real time, that’s what’s so great about this platform.”

The channel launched three months ago and already has over one million subscribers. “Getting the likes we see is one important KPI for use,” said Pistor. “Engagement is also critical. For us it’s a global brand, so we’re considering how this content resonates with our fans. Last but not least, how are our fans discovering this content It’s a mixture of all of those things we’re looking at, but engagement is really important.”

“We deliver content long form to short form across a variety of platforms,” said Pistor. “It’s really about the right content on the right platform. The vlogger is so appropriate for YouTube, I think that’s where it remains.”

Vernon wanted to know what’s next will we see Skipper or Ken “We’ll see all the sisters,” Hackmann said. Ken may have to wait a while, until they’ve built that asset, Hackmann noted. Other platforms will someday enter in. “Barbie’s really into Vine, Hackmann said. “We’ll see her on Vine someday.”