SYLO Chosen to Present at VidCon!

The SYLO team is excited to announce that we have been selected to present at VidCon‘s first annual Creator Track demo session! The session will take place June 23, 2018, from 11:30am – 1:30pm PT in Room 260 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The demo session also includes Amazon, Adobe, and more!

As stated on the VidCon session description:

Join as predetermined companies will present new products, apps, and programs that will help you, the creator, maximize your total reach, views, or make creating online content easier.

You can view the full details by clicking here!

If you’re going to be attending VidCon in Anaheim, please email Erick Schwab (erick@meetsylo.com) and/or Curtis Davey (curtis@meetsylo.com) to set up some time to meet or grab a drink! You won’t want to miss this exclusive look into SYLO’s never-before-seen third-party-verified analytics dashboard.

 

Image source: VidCon US

Influencer Marketing Is a Team Sport

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

This is part two of our series on standardized measurement helping both creators and brands move the influencer marketing space forward. Click here to check out part one which recaps the conversations Team SYLO had with the Buffer Festival creator attendees on the need for standardized measurement to increase partnership investments in the space.

To ensure a better tomorrow, the creator and brand communities must participate in solving influencer marketing’s standardized measurement problem.

Social media platforms are making huge decisions: where and how will content be shown and distributed, revenue shares, and other big-ticket items that are hard to exert any executive power over. In response, creators are banding together more in the hopes of influencing social media execs, as showcased in this video made by a famous YouTube creator, Casey Neistat.

Brands, on the other hand, have a marketing budget and goals to achieve. They need to require independent, standardized measurement for influencer marketing (same as all other media they purchase) so that they can support their spend. It’s too great of a risk to spend ever-increasing amounts of their marketing budget on a marketing medium that they are unable to quantify and compare against, say, the same spend on TV. So far, they have been working with several metrics that don’t translate to all the other media purchased for a campaign:

  • Engagement
  • Views
  • Likes
  • Subscribers

…and a few others. However, while these metrics tell them that something in their influencer campaigns is working, it doesn’t tell them what that is or why.

If the creator community started to leverage all of its performance data, it would unlock a solution to marketers’ burning question – where should we spend our money to make more money!. Otherwise, marketers will continue to see influencer marketing as something experimental with an unclear ROI.

2018 needs to be the year in which we make sure that the word ‘experimental’ is no longer associated with influencer marketing. To make that happen, we need to make standardized measurement our priority. By partnering up with SYLO, creators can show brands everything they need to see measurement-wise and, I guarantee, these brands will want to invest more of their budget in the data-verified creators.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Standardized Measurement Will Help Creators Win Long-Term Brand Partnerships

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

During my recent trip to Toronto, I had the chance to participate in a couple of events organized by the good folks from Buffer Festival. I met a lot of smart creators who work with brands on a daily basis. They create awesome content for these brands, but are dealing with an ever-growing challenge of bridging the gap from storytelling to finding out how their work impacted brands’ goals.

We also discussed current influencer marketing trends, problems, and future perspectives. Almost all of our discussions ended on the same note: influencer marketing has great potential and is already living up to some of it, but there is a bigger opportunity on the horizon. That opportunity involves shifting huge TV and programmatic ad budgets over to influencer-based marketing; maturing from experimental marketing to a core part of a brand’s marketing mix.

Everyone who I talked to agrees that our industry’s biggest problem is standardized measurement. It’s a problem for brands who need to justify their investments with verified data, but it’s also rapidly becoming a problem for creators, who find it difficult to secure more mutually beneficial long-term brand deals.

When Third-Party Measurement Is Established, Brand Investments Follow

I’ve been reading that we can expect an uptick of branded posts in the coming years. Some figures show that their number will be close to $35 million by the end of 2019. In fact, the influencer ad market is now worth $1 billion and, with projected increase in posts, that number will only grow.

That sounds like a lot, right?

To put that into context, brands are spending around $71 billion on TV ads and around $83 billion on digital advertising per year (2016 was the first year in which digital surpassed TV). In addition to that, the video marketing industry is expected to break $135 billion in the US alone this year. That’s a total of $289 billion dollars being spent on three different (and broad) marketing channels. Projected influencer marketing spend (those $1 billion) in 2017 is exactly 0.34 % of those astronomical budgets!

We can all agree that TV would not see that level of ad spend if Nielsen ratings (standardized measurement) didn’t allow marketers to effectively gauge what they are getting in return.

Now, imagine the same type of standardized measurement serving as a driving force for influencer marketing. Once marketers have the same degree of confidence in the ROI of influencer marketing, and can benchmark it against TV ads and programmatic (those video ads you see all over the web), it’s going to bring with it marketing budgets the creator community has never seen before. Just picture what the landscape would look like if 20-30% of TV ad budgets are reallocated and made available for creators? The industry would explode – more work for creators, better returns for brands, more incentives for platforms to further develop their features – and that’s just the beginning!

We have an opportunity to do just this. If we can offer actionable numbers to marketers, they will choose creators – not TV, not billboards, not programmatic – and there’s no doubt about that. They just need to see that their investment is working, in black and white, from an independent third party.

This is part one of a two-part series on how standardized measurement will help both creators and brands move the influencer marketing space forward. Stay tuned for part two which demonstrates why influencer marketing is a team sport.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Measuring Influence – VidCon Remains the Epicenter of Influencer and Advertising Conferences

By Curtis Michael Davey, Director of Talent Partnerships at SYLO

If ever there was a time and place to measure and map the digital media landscape, and all that it touches, it is at VidCon. I’ve heard the influencer marketing space described as “the wild west” on more than one occasion: a rapidly growing community, on the edges of established industries, where the rules are still being written and pioneers can stake their claim. An apt description indeed, but I prefer the analogy of a petri dish, where viral sensations and a plethora of ideas either multiply and thrive or wither and die. And if this crossroads of industries is a giant petri dish, then VidCon is the microscope through which we can examine the whole of the industry more closely, and ultimately understand it all.

Over the course of one increasingly hectic weekend, and at an increasing scale across Anaheim, attendees converge to revel in and shape the future of the industries to which they are beholden – media, retail, technology and, of course, advertising. In my fourth year of attendance out of eight in the history of VidCon – the largest and best established event of its kind in the world – I’ve witnessed the explosive growth, and the seismic shifts of the influencer marketing landscape.

2013 was my first year at the conference, as well as VidCon’s first year in the Anaheim Convention Centre (ACC). The size of the venue made all of the brand activations and talent programming seem minuscule in comparison – like a hermit crab making his home in a shell much larger than necessary. But the following year, VidCon had grown exponentially. Not just in size – taking up a much larger section of the ACC and the surrounding hotels – but also in scope and scale. This was the year that proved to everyone, inside and out of the industry, that the social stars of digital media were here to stay – Variety Magazine’s August cover story proved that.

On the conference floor, massive booths from every section of the industry crowded together like casinos on the Vegas strip, clamoring for the attention of the thousands of fans who made the pilgrimage there from all corners of the globe. Mirroring the moves they made in the industry, competing businesses – from the MCNs to the apps to the publishers and merchandise companies – all engaged in a constant game of one-upmanship with the announcements they made in VidCon programming and the talent that they had at their booths. Despite requests from VidCon organizers to maintain reasonable sound levels, everyone turned up the volume of their speaker boxes that year. It was about making noise, and getting noticed, just like it was in the industry that year with the headlines of new acquisitions, distribution deals, and original content production deals, both on YouTube and off. Because, let’s not forget, Vine was the hottest thing on the block that year.

The talent, on the other hand, didn’t need to make noise. The fans did that for them any time they caught sight of a creator, known or unknown. Screaming hordes of fans rushed in every direction, caught up in the frenzy without even knowing who they’re chasing, making navigation around the convention or having a business meeting in a hotel lobby bar very difficult. And when not rushing from booth to booth or chasing a talent, you would find these fans clustered in sprawling groups around the area, watching videos or checking Twitter for any sign of where to go to catch a star on their electric hoverboards – like the recent Pokémon Go craze but IRL. The fervor of these fans gave every person there reason to pause and reflect on this new reality that we all helped to create.

Fast forward a few years to 2017: VidCon is now hosting three conferences on three different continents, with the Anaheim event still the biggest and most important of them all (even with a half-dozen other upstart events trying to steal its thunder). VidCon and the whole of the digital media industry is now so mainstream and so important to so many businesses, that companies had to decide whether to send their executives to Cannes Lions (happening the same week) or to VidCon. Most companies, even the most established media entities like Variety Magazine, sent them to both.

With the maturity of an industry comes a sagely wisdom, and VidCon certainly reflected that. No longer were the talent seen crossing the hotel lobbies; instead they were shuttled to private entrances from a nearby hotel and discouraged from mingling with their fans after a panel or meet-and-greet. Business executives, from an growing number of companies and in ever-growing numbers still took meetings, but far fewer in hotel lobbies and much more in the industry lounges on the 3rd floor of the ACC where the amenities continue to improve. The exclusive evening parties are still taking place and are still lavish as ever, but this year they’re much farther afield from the ACC where they used to fight for conference room and pool-side space.

All of these changes indicate a strong understanding of the progress made thus far and a desire to protect it so that it may continue to thrive. Something that I, and the whole SYLO team, continue to advocate in influencer marketing. By taking stock of where we’ve been, and measuring the initiatives and efforts that have gotten us to where we are as an industry, only then can we understand where to go next and how best to protect all of our accomplishments to date.

What’s been your experience with VidCon?