Video killed the video star

Video killed the video star

Vloggers are earning attention and money from marketers, but change is on the way.

YouTube is currently the go-to platform for people to voice opinions, share experiences and promote themselves or their product/service. It has also created a new breed of celebrity, with vloggers propelled into the spotlight and a few of them making a lot of money on the back of their enterprise.

With over eight million followers on YouTube and 25 per cent of girls aged 11-19 avidly following her fashion and beauty site, Zoella is the perfect example of the enormous power of shared video content. Her lively, informal blogs and videos on all things to do with fashion and beauty have resulted in brands such as Simple and Estee Lauder lining up to get their names linked with her.

Vloggers such as Zoella have been heralded in some quarters as a new route for marketers and advertisers to engage with consumers, their USP being a freedom to say what they actually think of a product, person or idea. Freedom from corporate-speak and obvious marketing tactics makes them an appealing alternative, particularly to a youthful audience. Here is a real person, saying exactly what he or she thinks, with no strings attached.

But two factors mean the vlogging status quo may not endure. The first of these is the recent action taken by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), imposing strict guidelines on vlogging activities to ensure that they don’t breach advertising regulations.

If their promotional activities are identified for all to see, this material may have less sway with their fans. That means marketers could see smaller returns and may invest less money in vlogger promotion.

It will have less effect on vloggers who are currently successful, as many have already begun selling their endorsements like any other celebrity. In the case of Zoella, a book deal, tie-ins with major companies and a statue in Madame Tussauds mean she is well on her way to becoming an establishment figure.

The second factor – information overload – will affect their successors, the future vlogging stars that have yet to emerge. More than 70 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube every minute, much of which is white noise: irrelevant, poorly produced content that devalues the platform. Sifting through the trash to find the gems is tough work, and loyal audiences are hard to grow. Many vloggers give up soon after setting out on their bid to rule the vlog-waves.

Video killed the video star

Perhaps this means that new sites will arise, curating content, sorting the wheat from the chaff and – ultimately – undermining YouTube’s dominance.

The site’s supremacy is already under attack. There are new options for video content. Facebook and Vessel are pushing subscription-funded video content, thereby doing away with the need for sponsorship or payment by companies.

We might start to see new players on the market – SnapChat and WhatsApp are platforms with the power and capacity to develop their video content offering for example – or there is always the possibility of a totally new player emerging to claim the vlogosphere, challenge the established platforms and write the next chapter in the social media revolution.

Sammy Todd Former Marketing Manager CIM
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