Don’t Miss These 8 Digital Video New Year’s Resolutions

Don’t Miss These 8 Digital Video New Year’s Resolutions

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At an informative panel event last month, five digital video veterans gathered in Fullscreen’s headquarters to talk about how brands can stay relevant in the shifting marketplace. While these experts brought up topics like content consumption changes and attention scarcity (also known as the “attention war”), the discussion quickly turned to what the future of digital video holds for the industry in 2019. Naturally, we needed to share these nuggets of pure gold wisdom!

Panelists included John Holdridge, SVP of Social Video Strategy at Fullscreen; Darren Lachtman, Co-Founder at Brat; Tom Hoffman, VP of Digital and Social at Fremantle; Gwen Miller, VP of Content Strategy at Kin Community; and Chris Rudy, Chief Strategy Officer at CUT. Based on their discussion, here are eight digital video New Year’s resolutions brands should consider if they want to not only win the attention war, but also stay relevant and compelling to their audiences in 2019:

Analyze and Follow the Data

One of the biggest points addressed by the panelists at our event was that data needs to inform the direction of content, whether that’s regarding the length of videos or even geographically where to start your next channel. Analyzing content insights and following what works will be even more vital in 2019 to beat what Gwen called “evolutionary odds”: “I feel like we’re in competition with basic evolution. It’s like ten million plus monkeys, at ten million plus typewriters every month on YouTube. The thing is, that’s hard to beat when you are a savvy company. But that’s what we have to do, and that’s where we use data and insights to try to beat evolution.”

Try Not to Assume

In the same vein, Darren noted that ignoring data to follow personal assumptions can kill big opportunities. He said his team launched their original series Chicken Girls under the assumption its younger audience would want short episodes; the audience, however, demanded 20-minute episodes, which Lachtman said “still average north of 70% completion.” Essentially, hunches can hold a brand back. As John said, data is the parent that “keeps you in check when you want to go off-script.”

Establish Human Connections

Figure out what your audience wants, and don’t try to force change on them. When you lean into this relationship, you’ll be able to establish emotional, human connections with your audience which will ultimately drive desirable actions for your brand. “When I like something and I share it, that action I take then creates the reach and frequency, and I think that’s what so exciting,” John noted. “If you feel like you love it, there’s a connection to it, that there’s some sort of emotion you have with it. And that’s what creates a really beautiful moment in order to make something shared.”

Panelists discuss digital video New Year’s resolutions at Tubular’s recent Fullscreen event.

Make and Trust the Right Hires

Having the right people in your brand is vital to its digital video success. For starters, you shouldn’t hire just to “hedge” or look more impressive without actually putting in the work of building content. When you do hire the right people, you should also trust their creative instincts and ideas. Chris explained, “To me, the most important kind of data are the books that those people are reading, what they’re watching themselves, what they’re interested in. Basically, what informs their creative decisions? Then if something is interesting to us internally, the expectation is that we will find an audience for it.”

Have a Point of View

For 2019, brands need to figure out their own unique messages and points of view, and embrace them with passion. Don’t try to iterate someone else’s or repeat your audience’s back to them. As Chris said, “When people create content that’s trying to appeal to someone else’s point of view, it often falls flat. When you create your own point of view, and then you see the response to that, it often validates what you’re doing. If it doesn’t, you try a different point of view.”

Hopeful message for 2019 at Fullscreen’s headquarters

Push Past Failures

Lots of brands hit what Chris called an “idea maze.” “The distance between you executing on an idea successfully and you failing at it is this maze you have to go through,” he explained. “What that means is that business is just constantly running into walls, and then being stubborn enough to keep going.” Additionally, for brands starting from zero, Tom said it’s important to fail fast, because “you can learn incredibly quickly exactly what your brand is.”

Be Adaptable

Tom also noted how important it is to “keep your mind open,” because adaptability is key to overcoming failures. Just like Darren’s team at Brat had to do with the length of its Chicken Girls series, brands need to be able to pivot when failures happen or when content is simply no longer inspiring. “Be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” John said. “When you take a big step back and look at the last 12 years of video, some things out there feel very fatigued, and it feels like we need to get back to a time of taking more risks.”

Prepare for the “Messy Middle”

Having a vision for your brand is wonderful, and having the tactics and skills to get there is helpful, but the execution is ultimately what matters. “Everyone can understand a big vision, a North Star. And then you can understand what you do tactically right, like I’m the person who’s gonna put this thumbnail on,” Tom explained. “But connecting the tactical to the vision, that’s where almost all the fails happen.” However, if brands know they’ll have to address these “messy middle” failures and challenges every single day, they’ll be far more likely realize their visions sooner.

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