Digital and Offline – Human Psychology Works The Same

It’s easy to get caught up in the next platform, content format, and piece of technology. Oftentimes these platforms create a lot of distractions and its difficult to separate the signal from the noise.

However, people are all really the same.  The biggest challenge is zeroing in on these fundamental principals and understanding out to apply them today.

I was recently invited to go speak at a brand innovation summit and discussed these psychological principals and tactics that work in driving excitement around something offline and online. You can see the entire presentation below, but I’ve outlined the major points here in this post.


YouTube’s evolving strategy to woo advertisers

Two years ago YouTube distributed over $100 million in grants to fund originalpremium content, the majority of which was provided to traditional media companies, celebrities, and production companies diving into YouTube for the first time. Since then the native YouTube creators continue to grow and thrive, while most of the traditional media companies have largely disappeared.

At the time, the grants were considered by many to be an attempt on YouTube’s part to bolster its premium content to woo advertisers to the platform.

Now, rather than bring traditional media companies and celebrities into YouTube, YouTube is turning its top creators into celebrities. In order to gain mindshare among advertisers and bring in bigger budgets YouTube has launched an ad campaign dedicated to featuring many of its top creators.

YouTube’s new CEO Susan Wojcicki stated that, “If you look at our top creators, they have a lot of subscribers; it’s all categories like entertainment, health and beauty, food, cooking, and yet I think a lot of times advertisers and users don’t know about these channels.”

Wojcicki’s comments, and YouTube’s evolving tactics, highlight the lack of understanding of the YouTube ecosystem that many advertisers are continuing to face. YouTube has changed the face of media, content, and celebrity but dollars haven’t caught up with the times.

YouTube is wildly popular with Teens and Young adults, and according to a recent study, “74 percent of 14-18 year-olds and 68 percent of 19-24 year-olds in the U.S. use YouTube, which is above Facebook and significantly more than Twitter.”

While ten years ago teens were watching Jon Stewart instead of 60 minutes, this generation is watching Phil DeFranco in favor of Jon Stewart.

So what’s the holdup?


TNW Europe Recap

I was fortunate enough to speak at The Next Web Europe conference two weeks ago in Amsterdam. Probably the best conference I’ve been to, it was a great mix of smart people who were all there to connect and have fun in the process.

I’m relatively happy with how my talk turned out. It was a large crowd, so I had some early jitters in the beginning, but got in a groove fairly quick. If you’re interested you can see my talk below.

Thanks to the crew at The Next Web, Sophie in particular, for putting together such an amazing event and great group of people!

YouTube vs Facebook Engagement [Infographic]

With a lot of press around Facebook’s self-imposed declining engagement rates. I was really curious about engagement rates for Youtube vs Facebook communities, specifically with regards to brands. Brands have invested a great deal of ad dollars into growing their Facebook Fan bases, but now Facebook is basically suppressing organic reach.

So, I was curious – are the brand communities on each platform equal in terms of engagement? To try and find an answer, I took a look the top 5 from each and pulled the rate of comments per post or upload over a one week period. I chose comments as the sole indicator of engagement because comments are apples to apples. There are no dislikes on Facebook (but there are on YouTube, etc). So I figured focus on what I can measure.

While brands have incredibly large Facebook communities, their average engagement rates (at least for comments) is significantly less than YouTube.


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How to Make Bank as a YouTube Creator: Diversify Your Portfolio

To make a living on YouTube, a creator needs to work hard. In a recent Betabeat post, I explained how YouTube divvies up revenue in its user-partner program: reportedly, YouTube splits ad revenue 45/55 with the partner, in the partner’s favor. If the partner is affiliated with a MultiChannel Network (MCN), the MCN will also take a cut. The earnings from ad revenue — the CPM — will vary. And, of course, you’ve got to spend money to make money. Investing in staff and technology (editors, cameras, etc.) eat up an additional share of revenues.

Kevin Kelly has theorized that to make a living, a creator needs to build a core fanbase of 1,000 “true fans” — people who can be relied upon to buy pretty much anything the creator puts out. Alex Carloss, YouTube’s global head of entertainment, recently echoed this sentiment in a speech at the MIPTV conference in Cannes. If all a creator puts out are YouTube videos, though, a creator with these thousand “true fans” is going to have a rough time making more than pocket change. So, to make serious money, a creator needs to look beyond ad revenue alone. If you’re a YouTuber hoping to make a living, and if you’ve managed to build that core fanbase, you’ll want to do everything you can to diversify your portfolio. Here are some of your options:


Letter From 2013

A friend forwarded an email I’d sent him in response to some questions and a conversation he and I had about the MCN business from a year or so ago. His fwd was sparked by the Disney/Maker acquisition. Interesting reading it now knowing what’s happened already. I got a few things right–


Front Seat At The White House

Back in December, I was fortunate enough to be invited to The White House Youth Summit, which was “made of up 160 of this country’s finest national and local leaders aged 18-35.” It was a pretty incredible experience. Obama came and spoke to the group (check out the video below), and I got to speak with the Obama administration’s staff, including the digital team. The event made news nationwide and was picked up by CNN, USA Today, LATimes, and dozens of other outlets.

The event was December 4th of last year, and the day started in the early afternoon. After going through multiple security checkpoints, I eventually arrived at the South Court Auditorium, which looks a lot like the traditional press/briefing rooms you see in movies. The room has a small stage with big blue drapes and a podium with the presidential seal; it felt like something right out of the West Wing.

After signing in everyone spent some time taking photos before a swarm of press came in and quickly lined up across the back. Within five minutes there must have been 20 major TV networks and cameras set up. After a short introduction Obama waltzed in, and the small room erupted with hoots and applause; he called us a rowdy group, which I think we all felt a sense of pride in. It was exciting seeing the president in person, and also disarming how relaxed he seemed, at times leaning on the podium and seemingly speaking off the cuff and cracking jokes.


I’ll Be At TNW Europe

I’m excited to share the fact that I’m going to be speaking at The Next Web Europe Conference 2014, in Amsterdam. I’m pumped to be in the mix with an all-star lineup that includes the likes of Kevin Rose, Brian Solis, and Dale Stephens.

You can read about my talk here. Overall, I’ll be sharing the tactics to create and promote shareable content. It should be a lot of fun, I’m currently working on pulling some data to help support the narrative of YouTube being the most powerful social network. Hoping to be sharing that on the blog some time soon.

Anyway, TNW always has amazing speakers and thought-leaders. Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to be one of them.

Here are a few of my favorite keynotes from previous years.


Yahoo Considers a YouTube Knock-Off…Sort Of

Re/Code reported yesterday that Yahoo is considering a plan to woo away top YouTube talent to help ramp up the company’s web video presence. However, Yahoo isn’t planning to let users upload video to their platform, which makes the comparison to YouTube rather baffling — it’s the openness of the platform that puts the “you” in YouTube, after all. Instead, it seems that Yahoo is attempting something more akin to AOL On, a delivery system for curated content, which also poached proven YouTube talent.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Yahoo’s attempt will bear fruit. By cherry-picking established YouTubers, the company may be able to draw an audience — and thus advertisers — to the site, but this model for content delivery seems unlikely to threaten YouTube’s dominance. After all, it’s really just an online version of the old-fashioned television network model, and Yahoo will be competing with sites like Hulu and Netflix for a share of the online video pie.


YouTube Is Overtaking Traditional Media

Check out my Betabeat post on this topic.

YouTube has overtaken Hollywood.   This crop of Jon Stewarts, and Ari Emanuel’s didn’t rise to prominence through ruthless boardroom tactics, climbing the corporate ladder, or auditioning for a breakout role. They built an audience from their bedrooms using YouTube to broadcast themselves to the world. With one billion unique monthly users, six billion hours of video watched each month, and over 100 hours worth of video uploaded each minute YouTube has captured the attention of an entire generation, becoming the single most popular site among youth today.

YouTuber, Charles Trippy and his unsigned band, We The Kings, knocked Beyonce off her #1 spot on iTunes two days after her most recent album dropped.

Odds are you’re not aware of the impact these YouTubers are having if you’re over the age of 25, but that doesn’t mean its not there. They’re building media empires, clothing and fashion lines, and their doing it with the audiences they alone can wield. I don’t believe YouTube is the future of media. I believe it’s already arrived.