A few weeks ago Tubular hosted an event at YouTube Space LA. I moderated a panel on audience development – and I absolutely loved everyone’s insights – the data, advice, trends, jokes, all seemed especially relevant and fresh. Here are the top 8 things I learned – and I wanted to pass them all along to you.

Genius panelists: Yuval Rechter (First Media – publisher of most shared Facebook video of all time), Gwen Miller (Kin Community), Trevor McNeal (UNINTERRUPTED) and Matthew Labate (Fine Brothers Entertainment).

8 Fresh Insights Into Online Video 2017

#1 In 2017 Audience Development = Programming. When I first started Tubular in 2012, audience development really meant responding to YouTube comments, engaging the community, and sharing on social media. In 2017 – audience development and content strategy are synonymous. It’s not about conversations around the content, it’s about the content itself. At the top online video publishers, the head of Audience Development runs programming as well. Insights from the audience are what directs the programming.

#2 Hands Beat Faces. Gwen from Kin Community blew me away with her insights from A/B testing thousands of videos. For example, hands perform better than faces. If you have a woman with a face cooking – only people who look like her will identify and watch; but if you only have hands cooking – anyone can put themselves into the scene. Gwen had even more data-driven insights – here’s a full podcast of the panel if you’re interested in learning more.

#3 Know your audience. Create for your audience. That’s it. That’s the secret. It’s simple, but never forget who your audience is – their tastes, likes, shares, views, will drive what you continue to create and what you stop creating.

#4 I’m fascinated by the idea of online formats. For example, The ‘React’ format the Fine Brothers Entertainment created, which Matt talked about. On TV: game shows are formats, sitcoms, American Idol, and more. Online there are completely different formats – clear formats that work and are different: hands stirring dishes, vlogs, gaming play with me’s, hauls. How do you incubate these formats, create extensions of these formats – Matt discusses in the full podcast.

#5 For traditional celebrity – it’s about behind the scenes authenticity. Trevor at UNINTERRUPTED works with LeBron (the little known YouTube star – just kidding – the well known Basketball star). His company partners with athletes to help them tell their stories. For traditional celebrities – it’s not about porting regular content to new screens; it’s about new content that fans can’t see anywhere else. Trevor discusses more on the podcast link below.

#6 “Live video is not a thing.” This from Gwen and Yuval. I agree with some of their points – not all. Listen below to hear more. I think there’s a lot of power in live, but it’s not for all publishers at all times. They are having a lot of success in non-live and it makes sense. Concurrent live viewing is hard – but semi-live for example Instagram Stories, Snap, Facebook Live after the fact (Chewbacca mom) is an amazing trend at the moment.

#7 Healthy food on YouTube, Unhealthy food on Facebook. That’s another Gwen A/B testing trend. Great, actionable insights. I can’t get enough!

#8 “Don’t steal people from Zuck’s party” Yuval Rechter from First Media had many insights on the panel – one especially powerful was the idea that you build communities separately on each platform. As he says: if Zuckerberg had a party and you were invited, would he be happy if you showed up and started taking people away to another party? The answer is no – and the algorithm won’t be happy either. Every platform is different, there’s different content strategy, and different audience behaviors. It’s important to learn each platform separately and think of the audience as separate. You should certainly cross-promote, but it’s important to build organic audience on each and listen to the audience separately on each so you know how best to program to their tastes.

Get More Insights from Tubular!

If you want to listen to the full podcast version, please check it out here via this link. If you want to read Tubular’s Q2 state of online video trends, which I talked about on the panel, please download here.

We’ll be running these regularly so hope to see you at the next Tubular Connect event!