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.



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.


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.


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?



What is the future of influencer marketing?

In a lot of ways (and I’m going to borrow this quote from William Gibson), “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

So much of advertising is stuck in the past – we still spend an obscene amount of money on content that’s unproven, on mediums that have no measurable ROI, on old ways of working with agencies, and on celebrities that may or may not have an impact on a brand’s business.


Shane Dawson Is The Exact Reason YouTube Changed Their Algorithm

Shane Dawson is making the best content on YouTube today – his ‘The Secret World of Jeffree Star’ series is proof of that.  

This is not something I thought that I’d ever write. Shane wasn’t always a phenomenal filmmaker/documentarian. Shane once represented the negative stereotype of a YouTube creator – making clickbaity content (ie Dog Herpes, Death By Cinnamon Challenge, and I’m Britney Spears Gyno, etc).


Tanacon vs Vidcon – A Microcosm of Influencer Marketing

Tanacon is an example of influencer marketing gone awry, and exactly the type of outcome that so many brands have experienced and why so many marketers have a bad impression of the tactic.

If you’re unfamiliar with Tanacon (recently dubbed the FyreFestival of influencer events) here’s the necessary background information–


It’s Not A Short Attention Span… It’s Shitty Ads

I wrote about this topic a bit on Entrepreneur.com, but have expanded the topic much further here.

Ad formats are getting shorter and shorter (:06’s and :15’s) and countless studies are showing consumers don’t want to engage with ads.

However, it isn’t the result of people having short attention spans – its shitty ads.


Dear Marketers: Please Don’t Do Influencer Marketing —We’re Begging You

This piece was original appeared on the Epic Signal blog and was inspired by an article a friend of mine wrote about book marketing and is more or less paying homage to his style (hence the similarities).

There’s a reductive narrative circulating in the advertising world lately: if you need to meet your marketing goals, then you should do influencer marketing.

Want to reach millennials? Influencer marketing speaks to teens! Want to be more efficient with your advertising budget? Influencer marketing is cheap! Want to be ahead of the curve? Influencer marketing is the future!


I Don’t Understand Why Cannes Is Bigger Than VidCon For Advertisers

The future is not at Cannes and I’m shocked at how many brands and agencies are spending so much money to go to the South of France, when VidCon, the largest digital video conference overlaps with the conference.

Would you rather have one foot in the past or one in the future?