BEN has attended VidCon since its inception in 2010. After a week of VidCon, CEO Ricky Ray Butler gives his take on this year’s convention.
What was your biggest take away from the event?
It’s been amazing to see the growth of the creator community over the last decade. At events like this, we’re finally seeing brands recognize the true power of content creators and the impact they can have on a business. This is evident in the way that a new platform like TikTok is no longer a secret known only to generation Z; celebrities and brands see it as a serious content platform and they want to get involved.
The other biggest theme at VidCon 2019 has been the introduction of technology—specifically AI—into the influencer marketing process. AI has the potential to increase the scale, feasibility, and growth of influencer marketing far beyond where it is today. As brands continue to adopt AI as a tool for better, more engaging influencer marketing, we’re going to see ever greater expansion of creators’ capabilities. I look forward to seeing how this community will transform and evolve the future of entertainment, in television and beyond.
How has VidCon evolved since you’ve been attending?
I remember the beginning of VidCon, when it was in a small room at the bottom of a hotel with just a few dozen creators. Today, the scale of the event is massive, and it’s been thrilling to see the marketing world embrace creators as part of the mainstream entertainment industry. The conference topics have steadily advanced; today they are much more varied yet focused, with ideas like how to scale a channel beyond a single social network or personality, monetizing a brand beyond YouTube, navigating copyright questions, and how to emphasize more diversity and inclusion. The topics naturally change as issues become more or less relevant over time, and it’s great to watch the collective industry take away new learnings each year and continue to become more and more sophisticated.
Final Thoughts on VidCon and its value to BEN?
I always love being part of VidCon because it gives me an opportunity to learn from my peers, connect with people, and see how the industry is evolving year after year. Technology has advanced this space in many aspects, but a lot of it is still relationship-driven. Since the early days of influencer marketing, we always worked diligently to build a wide, collaborative network, and that has led to many great successes. VidCon helps us cultivate that network, keep a pulse on the market, and reconnect with some of the top creators in the business.