VidCon Europe 2018 Review: A Dutch Coffee Marathon

Last year, the inaugural VidCon Europe was dominated by YouTube “Adpocalypse”, the great brand safety scare of 2017. That year, the conversation amongst digital media companies and MCNs in Europe was largely focused on expanding their presence on other social platforms like Instagram and Facebook to reduce their dependency on YouTube, and in anticipation of those platforms enabling some form of scaled revenue share. Fast forward to VidCon Europe 2018, and the marketplace seems to have changed completely.

Last year’s EU event received mixed reviews, so attendees were uncertain what to expect in 2018, and VidCon organizers knew they needed to step up their game. Thankfully, this year’s venue was more central to the city, included a tasteful lounge sponsored by Facebook, and offered extensive networking options through VidCon’s Brella app.

Typically during industry conferences my schedule is packed, so I have to be extremely selective about what panels and other programming sessions to attend. Much of my day revolves around meetings with customers and industry contacts, allowing me to indulge my coffee obsession until my heart is on the verge of exploding from over-caffeination.

Takeaway #1: Social Platform Diversification is Essential.

Rian Bosak, owner and CEO at SuperBam (double-shot espresso), shared his outsider’s perspective that Europe’s digital video market is strong and growing, yet about 2-3 years behind the US in the sense that YouTube is still its core.

“Literally everyone who asks me, I tell them to get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Mobcrush, Twitch, Patreon, anything that expands their business so they’re not tied to one line of revenue.”

This is not surprising due to the many policy changes and brand safety blunders that have continued to plague the YouTube ecosystem in the last year. Though Facebook’s recent data security issues and lackluster showing on Facebook Watch has some holding their ground on YouTube.

Takeaway #2: Long Live the Influencer Agency. And the Digital Producer. 

Recent changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) were the last nail in the coffin for the scaled MCN model. European MCNs have responded by narrowing their focus, either focusing on developing top talent or doubling down on digital content production. But it is a crowded arena.

Former Studio71 UK lead Elly Garrod (decaf black coffee), is now Managing Director at HelloWorld,a live event with UK’s biggest influencers. Though impressed by VidCon EU 2018’s more intimate setting, Elly feels it was not representative of the industry’s increasingly fragmented state.

“There are so many channels and so many companies offering different versions of the same thing. Everyone is trying to find their place, so it will be interesting to see if the brand money increases enough in this sector to support so many players .”

Takeaway #3: New Platforms to the Rescue. Maybe.

Managing Director of Dutch influencer production company Onlane, Jonatan de Boer (classic black coffee), dreams of helping Musers (influencers on develop superstar careers.

“YouTube had a rough year, Facebook is in the midst of an identity crisis, and while Snapchat is still one of the big guys… for how long will that be? Nobody really seems to know what the future will bring.”

The most common message I heard during my coffee sessions: Nobody knows what the future holds for digital video and influencer marketing.

Looking ahead, I’m curious to see what VidCon US 2018 will teach us. As the biggest show of the year, the original VidCon event regularly attracts more than 30,000 creators, fans, and industry attendees, all eager to gain insight into the latest video industry trends.

Will you be attending Vidcon US 2018 in June? Please give me a heads up so I can get a coffee with you. I prefer a cappuccino with a Dutch stroopwafel on the side. Feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Paladin is the essential influencer management platform. Trusted by media companies, brands, and agencies across 5 continents, our technology streamlines talent discovery, influencer management, and campaign reporting.

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    Adventures in Digital Talent Management: 3 Experiences You Might Have as an Influencer Manager

    Working in the digital Wild West of influencer marketing is new, thrilling, and often challenging. Together, though, we’re finding ways to mature our industry in order to survive and succeed. In this article, I’d like to share my experiences from my previous career as a talent manager, and advocate for the importance of network/creator transparency.

    1. Hell hath no fury like a creator who needs to get paid.

    “My rent is due next week, my microphone broke and I barely have enough cash to get a beer this Friday night. When do I get paid for my campaign?”

    I’m sure that every influencer manager can relate to this question. Creators, used to the fast-paced service industry, want to get their wishes granted as quickly as possible. Understandable, since after all: money talks, and it’s not always easy being a digital influencer. Since they rely on your payment system, they have no shame in emailing, texting, calling, Whatsapping, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming, Skyping and pinging you every Friday and Saturday night until they receive their funds. Most times, they do this while you’re still waiting for the PO number so you can actually bill your client! ARGGG!!

    As an influencer manager you have to deal with creative digital talent that has no clue about essential details such as invoices, contracts, and client relationships. After all, this is YOUR job.

    The creator usually trusts you because you’re an amazing human being with interpersonal skills. Yes – they like you, they trust you and they (hopefully) listen to you.

    You are an irreplaceable factor for them to succeed. Be flattered! But since their dependence can be a double-edged sword, also remain vigilant. If they leave, you have the possibility of losing everything that you built up. You need to bust your ass – and show it – in order to actually earn your 20% commission! If the creator doesn’t see the actual benefit of working with you, it can be a slippery slope. This is because:

    2. Influencers don’t always think they need you.

    “Why am I paying you any commission for my work? I might as well have done this without you and put the extra cash in my own pocket.”

    “I know you have proposed the other blonde girl for this campaign. Why don’t you ever propose me to a client?”

    I’ve noticed over the years that for some talent, nurturing them is so important that it can take up your entire day: relaying information and comforting them. After all, you don’t want to lose your talent to another agency. The creators want to be sure of having access to the best business deals, feeling confident in how often you try to get them into a campaign and mostly, feeling safe with you. There is no business without trust. This requires valuable time and hand-holding from your side, when you need those same hours to focus on building proposals, compiling campaign reports, and sending those damn invoices to get your talent paid!

    Most talent managers have multiple influencers to manage. And talent behavior varies from simple back-and-forth on negotiations and tax handling to Jenna Maroney levels of hysteria (from 30 Rock, if you aren’t familiar). One time, I was working with an A-list celebrity who didn’t want to join in on a campaign because one of his rivals was in it as well. The talent cancelled…10 hours before the shoot. European contracts are not super strict, so the talent just refused to show up on set….The solution was certainly not to threaten the talent, so guess who could fix the matter?

    3) Talent manager to the rescue.

    During those situations you’ll have to do something like I did: put on your talent manager super power suit and comfort the client, the agency, and the old talent, while finding a new talent, keeping the financial deal intact, and offering the same (or better!) reach+engagements. These crises make you stand out from the crowd and allow you to be a warrior for all parties (even though your client does hate you for a few minutes).

    Of course I told the talent that they were never ever allowed to do that again, and that they have to consider such things way in advance. It kind of feels like you’re raising a child. Nurture and praise them, but call them out at moments they need it most.

    Sometimes it seems like you can never win. There is not enough time to curate, negotiate, administer, and communicate with all your creators and clients all day every day, while keeping the manager-talent relationship light and fun.

    My solution to this? Eliminate the yucky details and automate, so you can focus on relationships.

    I don’t manage talent anymore but ever since I joined Paladin, I’ve been able to help talent managers alleviate their workload with solutions to automate their payments, contracts, and more. Not to mention curating and packaging talent for campaigns, and automating engagement reports for the brand client. No delays, all the interactive displays you could want, all in the cloud. The talent have their payments in the correct amount and on time, and the brands have all the engagement data they could want. You’re showing transparency, and everyone’s happy.

    Heck, with automated solutions you can even evaluate your creators’ channels through auditing, so you can praise them for their 25% growth over the past six months or give some tough love on their lack of regular uploads. Doesn’t that feel good?!

    Say goodbye to those damn Excel sheets and email searches and you can spend the extra hours on nurturing your creators.

    Sebastian Wulff is an award-winning child actor, video producer, social media manager and influencer manager from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Throughout his professional career, he has learned the challenges of being in front of and behind the camera first-hand. He recently moved to Los Angeles to explore the online video industry in the United States and to advocate for a more mature industry globally. As a growth manager at Paladin he handles clients throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States.

    If you’d like to learn more about the automation solutions Sebastian described, contact him at [email protected].

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