What the hell is happening to YouTube comments?

A few weeks ago I noticed in the YouTube app that comments had moved. The comments section was directly under the video player – typically the comment section sits below the recommended videos, which requires a fair amount of scrolling (see below).

YouTube comments under video
Typically comments are below recommended videos.

Why would YouTube be exploring moving the position of comments and what does this mean?

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Thoughts On Brat Network

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Fast Company about Brat, a teenage focused media network on YouTube.

Brat creates original scripted programming catering to teenage girls. The company has shown explosive growth – in just over a year they’ve generated over 22 million views and three million subscribers. Brat has grown, at least in part, due to its regularly featuring popular influencers such as Anna Cathcart, Addison Riecke, Francesca Capaldi, and Emily Skinner.

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VIDCON 2019: 5 Trends & Takeaways

Photo Cred @Buzzfeed

The tenth, US based Vidcon, has come to its conclusion.

The conference has grown dramatically, from its humble beginnings – a few hundred people in LA – to tens of thousands of attendees filling the Anaheim Convention Center.

I’ve been to every Vidcon that’s been hosted in the US and its crazy to look back and see how much it has grown.  Brands now flock to Vidcon, and whole industries have been built upon the influencer economy.

This year I identified five overarching trends that really dominated Vidcon.

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FACEBOOK LASSO (THE TIKTOK COMPETITOR) EXPLAINED

In November of 2018, Facebook quietly released Lasso, which a spokesperson described asa new standalone app for short-form, entertaining videos — from comedy to beauty to fitness and more.”

The app is strikingly similar to the wildly popular app, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech company, ByteDance. TikTok has grown incredibly quickly, with hundreds of millions of active users worldwide, and is increasingly perceived as a threat to Facebook amongst the youth market.

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2019 Predictions

I’ve been scratching my head about what the big trends within the digital video and influencer marketing space will be in 2019. I have some theories…or one overarching theme rather.

Overall, I think 2019 will be a year of ‘Direct To Consumer’.

I’m not just talking about the rise of Direct To Consumer brands (which has already been a big trend over the last few years), but also Direct To Consumer when it comes to community building.

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The Moves Traditional Media Made In Digital Video This Year

One thing a lot of people didn’t see coming in 2018 (or at least something I didn’t anticipate) was all the investments traditional media companies made into the social video ecosystem. We saw Viacom, ATT, and Ziff Davis (to name a few) make major investments and virtually overnight become serious players this past year.

One traditional media company in particular stands out – Viacom. Viacom has a long, storied history with the space; they’d been suing Google over alleged copyright violations on YouTube from 2007-2014. As part of that suit Viacom had been seeking $1 billion dollars in damages, but was awarded no money as part of a settlement in 2014.

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2018 Year In Review

In looking back on 2018 I’m struck by so many things that failed to come to fruition or get resolved this year.

What happened with IGTV?
What happened to brands becoming publishers?
How did brand safety continue to go unresolved?
What happened to Facebook watch?

There were a lot of great things within the social video world this year, and I’ll try and focus more on the positives in another post, but I can’t help but feel like 2018 was a year with few breakthroughs and really just an extension of the same issues we experienced in 2017.

This is the year that the hype began to fade around the ecosystem. Social video is no longer new. It’s no longer the shiny object and familiarity breeds contempt.

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SOCIAL VIDEO AS THE NEW LANDING PAGE

One hundred social videos were created to support the most recent social campaign my agency created for a pizza account… it should last us a couple months.

That much content would have been considered excessive, costly, and unnecessary five years ago.

Today, we as advertisers must approach content in the same way developers approach landing pages. What I mean by this is we have to test and iterate upon the design in order to increase the likelihood a visitor takes the action we want them to take.

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Three Takeaways From Forbes List Of The Top 10 Highest-Paid YouTube Stars of 2018

Want to make twenty two million dollars a year to doing toy reviews?

Sounds like a sweet gig, but according to Forbes, seven year old YouTuber Ryan’s ToysReviews has the market cornered and generated the most revenue of any YouTuber this past year.

YouTube has become a wealth generator for a new breed of digital stars. Just over ten years ago YouTube didn’t even have an ad product to help creators make any money – now it’s not uncommon to hear of creators generating 7 figure incomes.

In looking at the Forbes list of the top 10 Highest-Paid YouTube Stars of 2018 there are three major trends that really stand out to me.

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Defy Is Done – What does this mean for MCN’s?

How did a business with two of the biggest YouTube channels, generating more than a hundred million views a month (Smosh + Screen Junkies) go out of business?

Where did things go wrong?

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