YouTube Demonetization and Why It Should Worry You

Sometimes what's good on paper doesn't mean it's good in practice. Sometimes it veils something far more nefarious in its intentions.

 

Take YouTube and their recent controversy. In order to combat their definition of 'extremist content', the worldwide video-sharing platform responded to threat of a mass advertising boycott by "implementing 'broader demonetization policies' around 'content that is harassing or attacking people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories'".

 

Honestly, it's tough to blame them for this approach when "analysts are predicting that Google will lose roughly $750 million as a result of an international ad boycott that kicked off last month, when marketers discovered that their campaigns were running against extremist videos on YouTube."

 

"The latest companies to pull their ads from the video platform include Pepsi, Walmart, Starbucks, FX, General Motors, Dish, JP Morgan, Johnson & Johnson, and Lyft, Variety reports. They join AT&T, Verizon, GSK, and Enterprise Holdings, which pulled their ads earlier this week, citing the same concerns."

 

Sounds great, right? While YouTube is headquartered in America, the hub of equal and free speech, it still exists as a private company, meaning it can ultimately decide which content it wants on its platform. So if they find a video that promotes harassment and just blind hatred, they have the right to 'demonetize' those videos or flat-out remove them.

 

Demonetization is the process of decreasing the money a channel can make off a video once it reaches a certain view count threshold:

 

"While creators can get revenue from ads, individual views don't account for much money until they reach the hundreds of thousands. Making sure your videos can reliably have ads matched with them is essential for creators being able to have long-term revenue."

 

Here's a list of things that may result in demonetization, according to YouTube's new policy:

 

  1. Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
  2. Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  3. Inappropriate language, including harassment, swearing and vulgar language
  4. Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use, and abuse of such items
  5. Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.

 

How idealistic. Unfortunately, I, as you should as well, have two major issues with this. For one, most of it is completely subjective, and two, it's vague. The fifth point, in fact, is absurd in how broad it's defined:

 

"Guidelines that contain something as broad as 'subjects related to political conflicts' do not provide creators with useful information. It makes it sound as if YouTube is no longer going to monetize channels that cover current events, which of course is not the case."

 

And in the case of subjectivity, who is ultimately deciding what constitutes as hate speech, especially in this day and age where something as simple as challenging a different opinion can be defined as such. If I'm a conservative with millions of subscribers and I have thoughts on illegal immigration, what's to stop enough people with different beliefs and a large following to report me enough times to have my video demonetized.

 

Take for instance the YouTube Heroes program rolled out last September; perhaps one of the greatest attacks on free speech based on subjectivity you'll ever witness on a social media platform:

 

"YouTube heroes gives users the option to flag a video for being inappropriate, and as a result you can get your video demonetized by it becoming age restricted or removed completely, which will add a strike to your channel and possibly lead to it being deleted."

 

 

Oh, but it gets better. And by better, I mean much, much worse. Here's the five-step process:

 

  1. Become a hero
  2. Learn more in seminars
  3. Unlock super tools that allow you to mass flag videos
  4. Get behind the scenes access, contact YouTube staff directly, and try new products first
  5. Top hero perks, basically become a full-time unpaid Google employee.

 

Imagine my shock when I saw comments were disabled on the official video, which currently sits with a Like/Dislike ratio of 30,722:956,895.

 

This is where a huge problem lies. A video can get demonetized simply because it offended the wrong person or people. What offends some may not offend others. This isn't as simple as a hardcore racist saying "I believe Race X is better than Race Y and Race Z is worse than all of them!".  A vast majority of the time it comes down to innocuous beliefs that other people simply don't agree with.

 

But again it isn't as simple as that, either. What it appears to be is an outright attack on YouTube content creators with good intentions. Because this demonetization process isn't just attacking the likes of virulent racists like David Duke. It's going after creators like H3H3 Productions, Philip DeFranco and even Jenna Marbles, who "have all had hundreds of videos no longer qualify for advertising revenue, and other YouTubers are claiming they didn't have a chance to appeal to their demonetization."

 

 

 

"It isn't just large channels that are being affected by these changes -- YouTuber Tim TV, who has been a fulltime YouTuber for about six months, told Kotaku that he saw that his revenue was, 'tanking faster than ever before,' and that he found the changes 'terrifying'".

 

Here's a little background from H3H3's Ethan Klein on just how out of line and lacking in transparency YouTube can be when it rolls out these vague stipulations:

 

 

You heard that right. Even tagging things like 'Suicide', 'Rape', and 'Drugs' can get your video demonetized, not taking any of the context whatsoever into mind. That means someone who tagged 'Suicide' because they wanted to give advice on suicide prevention, or a rape survivor who wanted to tell their story and tagged 'Rape', or a doctor who wanted to give medical advice and tags 'Drugs' would have had their videos demonetized.

 

And the worst part of it all? YouTube didn't even warn the creators. Just read how lacking in foresight this approach was:

 

"In 2012, YouTube began demonetizing videos based on new advertising-friendly guidelines. This was not done by people, but by an algorithm that looked at metadata of videos and other factors to decide whether it was likely to be something as an advertiser wouldn't want to be associated with."

 

But don't worry, because everything is better now, right? Well..

 

"Google currently uses a mixture of automated screening and human moderation to police its video sharing platform and to ensure that ads are only placed against appropriate content."

 

Look, we get it. YouTube is a massive platform with billions of videos from all over the world. Sometimes automation is the only way to keep some things in check that a human can't reach. However, this is a significant issue when YouTubers like Matan Uziel is no longer getting ad revenue on their videos dealing with "women about hardship, including sex trafficking, abuse and racism."

 

Why did it get pulled? Isn't it obvious? One of those automated screeners saw "sexually suggestive content", maybe some "violence", and "controversial or sensitive subjects and events", and was programmed to demonetize the video of a creator with obvious good intentions.

 

But they're not alone:

 

"Dr. Aaron Carroll runs a channel dedicated to healthcare policy and research and discovered this week that 27 of his videos were demonetized and had been for months. It seems likely that the algorithm regularly flagged a program discussing prescription drug costs, the opioid epidemic, and treatments for diabetes because it thought those videos were celebrating illegal drug use."

 

How is that for a precedent set by YouTube? If you dare used your large following to discuss the evils of addictive drugs or tell the stories of abused victims, no ad revenue for you. Oh, and like Ethan explained in the video, they wouldn't tell you about it, either. You wouldn't get notified and your video wouldn't even become age restricted. Your video would just be demonetized.

 

Fortunately, this policy changed last fall. YouTube now:

 

  1. Lets you know when a video has been demonetized
  2. Shows a notice next to demonetized videos
  3. Allows you to request a manual review of demonetized videos
  4. Re-monetizes videos that the review finds to be not in violation of YouTube's ad-friendly policy.

 

It's a great gesture sure. But why did it take four years to correct, and why were channels not even notified in the first place?

 

It was a shoot first, ask questions second policy. By thinking they're doing the right thing and acquiescing to the demands of their advertisers (Not surprising considering YouTube operates at a loss), they negatively affect innocent YouTube content creators who treat the platform as a full-time job and livelihood.

 

As YouTuber Arin 'Egoraptor' Hanson' said, "he wanted YouTube to 'be more clear about what advertisers are opposed to having their ads displayed on. What can creators do specifically to make their content more advertiser friendly?'"

 

But to really get into the meat of YouTube and its advertisers' intentions with subjective censorship and constant threats of demonetization for ThoughtCrime, I don't think we can go anywhere until we explore what I have dubbed The PewDiePie Situation.

 

For those who don't know, PewDiePie is basically the face of YouTube. He has over 54 million subscribers, and his videos are basically him talking into a webcam talking about one thing or another. His audience is mostly made up of the younger generation, mainly middle and high school kids.

 

But about a month ago, PewDiePie was attacked, seemingly at random, by the Wall Street Journal who took some out-of-context jokes and videos and decided to go on a character assassination spree.

 

"According to the Journal's analysis, over the last six months the YouTuber posted nine videos that included either anti-semitic jokes or Nazi imagery, including one, posted on January 11th, that featured two men holding a banner that stated: 'Death to All Jews'. Another video, posted January 22nd, featured a man dressed as Jesus saying, "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong."

 

The entire premise was based on Fiverr, a company that asks buyers to pay just $5 to do absurd things, like having two people dressed in traditional native garb to hold up a sign that says 'Death to All Jews', or having a man dress as Jesus and saying "Hitler did absolutely nothing wrong." PewDiePie was convinced they wouldn't do it because of how insane the statements were, but they actually did it.

 

Out-of-touch, narrative-driven journalists who worked for traditional outlets discovered the videos and went on a crusade to take down the evil PewDiePie empire. They went through his videos, chopped up more out of context clips in his videos, and said, "See! See! Look how evil he is! How can parents let their children watch this?"

 

PewDiePie was not contacted by the WSJ to defend himself for their first hit piece.

 

As a result of this attack, PewDiePie actually lost out on a partnership with Disney's Maker Studios. Also as a result of this attack, PewDiePie's 50 million+ subscribers realized traditional media outlets are using out of context video clips to defame the character of a YouTuber who had exhibited zero anti-semitic or racist tendencies in the past.

 

The Wall Street Journal, worth noting, has 2.1 million subscribers. It was also voted as one of the least cool brands by 18-24 year olds.

 

And isn't it just ironic that the author of the original hit piece of PewDiePie was written by Ben Fritz, who composed a tweet in 2009 stating: "Just attended my first chanukah party. Had no idea jews were so adept at frying." Here's another in 2015 talking about having a "hard on purely for the Nazis" and one more stating "well obviously I'm not counting jokes about black people. Those are just funny."

 

So what's the meaning of this? Why is the Wall Street Journal of all publications going after YouTube's most popular YouTuber? Well, I did some research into the WSJ and have a theory, but let me preface it with this response from PewDiePie on the whole ordeal:

 

"Old-school media does not like internet personalities because they are scared of us. We have so much influence and such a large voice, and I don't think they understand that. The story was an attack towards me by the media to try and discredit me, decrease my influence."

 

While I would like to personally cite and specifically quote the Wall Street Journal's findings and rebuttals, I can't because I need to pay for a subscription. It's exemplary of how a bitter, dying, and desperate publication from the old guard is lashing out and attacking the new; latching onto a statement or joke that could be misconstrued as racist or anti-semitic, which is basically a death sentence to someone working in the public eye, and selling that to uninformed users.

 

In perfect media collaboration, the Washington Post, Vox (who had the slimy audacity to, once again, use an out of context clip of PewDiePie raising his arm and equating it to a Nazi salute as their cover image for the article), Wired, and Salon were all quick to jump on the "Is PewDiePie a Nazi/Alt-Righter/Racist?" bandwagon.

 

YouTube content creators, people like PewDiePie, H3H3, and Philip DeFranco, are independent and don't answer to anyone other than what appeals to their subscribers. They don't answer to advertisers, high-profile donors, boards of directors, executives, or producers. These are people armed simply with a webcam, a microphone, and a platform reaching tens of millions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BBmu_kFHrs

 

To the traditional media, this isn't just terrifying, it's a threat to their information monopoly.

 

Independent media, courtesy of the unbridled internet and social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube, have been on the rise and have shaken traditional media to its core. Distrust in these institutions is sewn as more and more people realize they're not getting the full story, while independent media, free of influence, is providing a perspective that's never discussed.

 

How do you attack these independents when they don't have a higher power that they answer to? It's simple. You hit them where it really hurts: Their ad revenue, their character through out-of-context clips, enlisting critics with opposing beliefs, employing other mainstream outlets to join your crusade, broad and extremely vague definitions of 'extremism', and using the platform they post on to crackdown on them.

 

But this isn't just an attack on popular YouTubers. It's an attack on counter-narratives and content creators not shackled by the constraining chains of producers, boards of directors, and advertisers.

 

So it's only natural that these dying publications in their death throes, like a cornered animal, are lashing out at its threats. Like YouTubers with over 50 million subscribers, or simply any YouTuber who is developing a following strong enough to take eyes off traditional outlets that are pushing a narrative delivered from on high.

 

Remember: "Whoever controls the media, controls the mind." There is nothing more integral to controlling the whims of the masses than the control of information. There should be nothing surprising that in the age of "fake news" a popular YouTuber is getting randomly attacked, advertisers are threatening boycotts, and traditional media outlets are doing their best to defame independent sources of info.

 

The only question that remains now is, just how long do the traditional media outlets think they have left?


What the NFL Can Learn from the NBA On Social Media

About a week ago, I, along with millions of other people, were treated by the NBA's official Facebook account with a behind-the-scenes look at reigning MVP Stephen Curry taking shots before the game.

 

 

Not only was I able to indulge in this pull-back-the-curtain moment, but I was able to control my view, too! Fans pay thousands of dollars, and arrive hours before tip-off, to see a player of Curry's caliber practice and here I have a front-row seat for free!

 

The NBA just gets it. Most importantly, they know how to connect with milennials. The NBA has the youngest audience among all American sports leagues with the average fan being 37-years-old. The NFL fan by comparison is 47-years-old, while the MLB fan is 51.

 

Reaching out through the right platforms is also key for the NBA, who is a major employer of Snapchat and Vine to peddle out clips:

 

"A cursory search on Vine shows that just under 100,000 videos have been posted with the tag NBA, while fewer than 50,000 have been posted with the tag NFL, and fewer than 15,ooo with the tag MLB."

 

They also connect through fashion, as explained by ESPN's Darren Rovell:

 

"Young basketball stars today are ingrained in culture and fashions and life in a way that the stars from other sports here are not," said Darren Rovell, who covers the business of sports for ESPN. "People talk about Russell Westbrook's glasses and Dwyane Wade's shoes. When you look at the numbers in terms of most Twitter and Instagram followers, the NBA blows other sports away."

It's no wonder why the NBA is even being predicted to overtake the NFL, in terms of popularity. They have a message they want to convey and they won't allow copyright restrictions from spreading that message globally.

 

If the fans want NBA all the time on any outlet, why not give it to them? Why deprive fans of your product when all they want is more of it? It would be like making a great sandwich and only offering tiny bites when you can easily just give each of your fans a whole sandwich.

 

Thus, you get awesome controllable videos like the one above featuring Curry.

 

As an avid NBA fan, there's nothing that can appeal to me more than even more basketball on top of the basketball I already watch.

 

The NBA is extremely gracious in its content availability, far more than any other league. They see widespread use of game clips by the media and fans of the game not as copyright infringement, but as an opportunity to spread its influence. This runs contrary to the vice-like grip the NFL and MLB have on clips of their games, which are generally kept close to the chest.

 

The NFL, in fact, is so strict that it actually issued a cap on the amount of video clips its teams can provide on Facebook or Twitter during games. As a result, you get clips mocking the practice like this one:

 

 

The NFL has since walked back on its policy to fine teams for using game clips. Nevertheless, it goes to show just how little the league values social media as an outlet to create a larger following for its sport.

 

Just compare their Twitter followings. Despite the NFL being the country's biggest sport, it has 4 million less followers than the NBA. The MLB and NHL lag far behind with 6.68 million and 5.51 million followers, respectively. This isn't due simply to demographics, but to the NBA having a liberal clip-sharing policy.

 

The difference is even more substantial on YouTube, the ultimate catchall for video clips. While the MLB and NHL both flounder with less than a million subscribers, and the NFL musters only 1.8 million, the NBA boasts a staggering 7.4 million followers.

 

Plus, I can find channels that exclusively make videos using NBA content. For example, the channel 'FreeDawkins' regularly creates individual player highlights from games night in and night out. So while I was busy watching the Miami Heat, I can wait a few hours and check out 'Dawkins' for highlight videos of other players who played that night:

 

 

While 'FreeDawkins' has had their channel shut down before (They were originally just known by 'Dawkins'), the NBA isn't cracking down on it heavily. No such channels exist for the NFL, MLB or NHL. It would be impossible to find an independent account that would exclusively give me highlights of a certain player I want to see.

 

The NBA embraces its the participation of their fans and their love for the sport. It's the country's fastest growing sport because it ran full steam ahead into the social media era populated by milennials who want their highlights and info fast and concise. They didn't purposely restrict their presence as other leagues did.

 

And maybe the NFL is comfortable with their standing, despite losing viewers. It's not surprising from the league that issues penalties and fines for players that want to celebrate touchdowns or any other accomplishment. Their outlook has long been an authoritarian one with widespread control of its players' actions and now the potential media outlets it's product can be promoted on.

 

There isn't a better time for the NFL to start embracing social media, either. Like the NBA, the NFL is facing a shortage of recognizable names that even the most casual viewer can identify. Basketball has already lost Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, and will soon lose the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony likely within the next five years.

 

So rather than wait it out, it builds up the personalities, aura, and names of its new league faces (Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Karl Anthony-Towns, etc.) through outlets such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Vine.

 

The NFL is facing a similar issue. Peyton Manning has retired. Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton's teams are in shambles. Tom Brady is 39 years old. Ben Roethlisberger is considering retirement. Household names that casual viewers can easily identify are disappearing. While there are studs like Odell Beckham, Jr. and Ezekiel Elliott that will keep interest in the individual, it's a stark difference from the likes of Brady or Manning that anybody could recognize.

 

This would be the perfect time for the NFL to allow independent viewers of the game to create channels to showcase these players. If I wanted to tell a friend about a rising star in the NBA, for instance, I can easily find highlight video after highlight video of games that show just how skilled that player is. You may not know a rookie like Karl Anthony-Towns, but you might want to know more after watching this well put together highlight video of a 47-point outing:

 

 

It would be difficult to do the same with the NFL. I would have to go directly to their YouTube channel and hope they're as detailed in their highlights as a channel like 'Dawkins' is with NBA games.

 

In fact, I did the same with the NFL, searching for rookie Ezekiel Elliott's best game, and found one highlight video. If you're surprised it was made by the official NFL account, you haven't been paying attention. That video has 111,000 views.

 

The video posted above has 74,000 views, but take note that Towns is playing in Minnesota, while Elliott plays in Dallas, and isn't hyped up by mainstream outlets like ESPN nearly as much.

 

The onus of building up player personalities and legends is squarely on the shoulders of the NFL, while the NBA raises few qualms on allowing its fans to distribute its product without proper licensing. As a result you get channels like 'Dawkins', which has nearly half of the subscribers the NFL has on YouTube.

 

And that's after having their channel taken down on a number of occasions.

 

But this isn't to say the NFL is completely tone deaf because they do put out quality content. Here's a video by the Seahawks using a 360 cam to showcase their players running out of the tunnel:

 

 

So the NFL and its teams has embraced some features of the social media era. But will it ever loosen the reins it has on its product, or will it allow its game to be seen a wider scale?

 

Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.


Making the Case for Social Media

There’s no debating it: Social media, and the digital medium as a whole, has emerged as a substitute to traditional advertising practices for brands of all sizes.

 

Add in the growing number of those cutting the cord and you have even more incentive to advertise predominantly online.

 

Almost all major brands have realized this, resulting in portions of their marketing budgets from common mediums, such as television and radio, being deviated to build a social media presence.

 

Smaller brands have also taken advantage of the medium’s cost-effective advertising, but have seen their reach taper off in recent years due to heavy spending from larger brands:

 

"The State of Retailing Online 2016, an annual study conducted by NRF and Forrester Research, found that 92 percent of retailers are investing in social media marketing to some degree and looking for ways to update content to stay on trends.

About 55 percent of retailers surveyed also said they are increasing their online merchandising budgets, a portion of which is clearly earmarked for social media activities that engage consumers to promote two way interactions."

 

Regardless, social media’s ubiquitous platform provides small and medium-sized businesses with exposure they would have never dreamed of. In a survey of over 7,500 local businesses that purchased local ads in 2016, Borell, the organization behind the survey, found that "local businesses have ramped up their use of social media to help drive business and generate new customers."

 

As much as it seems that every person you know has a social media account, you may be surprised to learn that social media is only gaining users. While Twitter is pulling up the rear with only a 3.15% increase between the 3rd quarters of 2015 and ’16, Facebook experienced a 13.6% increase in the same period and LinkedIn a 15.2% increase.

 

Instagram witnessed a 20% increase between September 2015 and June 2016. All of this may seem like a boom, but it also muddies up the landscape because there are so many platforms to post on. It’s up to the brand to do the research on where the audience is.

 

Unsurprisingly, "Facebook was the number one choice for local advertisers with 96% responding they have  Facebook page. Twitter was a distant second at 51%, and LinkedIn came in at 41%."

 

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-47-55-pm

 

It can be daunting to a newbie. You need to ask yourself a few questions before stepping up to the task:

 

Which social media platform is best for me work on?

 

How much money should I invest?

 

What type of posts should I make?

 

How often should I post?

 

The greatest issue with starting out on social media is the idea that it’s easy. Failure and frustration is a common characteristic among new businesses starting out on social media because they believe it’s as simple as making a sales-y pitch, attaching an image, and sending the post out.

 

It doesn’t work like that, at least not anymore. Strategies need to be put in place. Budgets need to be created. Research into best practices needs to be done. Basically, an entire comprehensive rundown of your social media plans should be resolved before you even begin posting.

 

Now, does this mean you should keep a rigid schedule? No. While you should have prepared copy to pitch your product, you should also have a free-flowing schedule that allows for transparency into your business.

 

Or, to make things even easier, a brand can simply hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in social media strategy, copywriting, implementation, and moderation.

 

Social media is simply too valuable a resource to waste. Without the proper funds and research invested, an inexperienced brand is doomed.

 

Experts in the field are a necessity; an expert at crafting concise copy that delivers an impactful message, an expert at graphic design that can create appealing images; an expert at website design that can make a landing page that converts; an expert at moderation that knows just what to say to disgruntled commenters; and an expert at SEO that can identify the right keywords, among others.

 

It takes a village to raise a brand on social media. Going at it alone and without the tools and people necessary to help it succeed are only going to hamper your efforts.

 

Interested in raising your social media standing or looking to start out? Visit our Facebook for more info, email us at ask@one12th.io or visit: https://one12th.io/contact-modern/


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s Move to YouTube Sets a New Precedent

For the first time in its 64-year history, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be visually broadcasted on a medium other than NBC.

 

In fact, you can watch it without even turning on the TV at all. In an unprecedented medium transition, the annual event that solidifies the beginning of the holiday season will be live on YouTube and available to see in 360 degrees.

 

 

“Under the terms of the package, Verizon will stream the parade with five cameras placed along the route capable of beaming 360-degree views to users, and festoon the view with pop-up graphics offering facts about the proceedings.”

 

The parade will stream from Verizon’s YouTube account.

 

Hardcore viewers of the Macy’s Day Parade—Yes, they exist—will receive an early Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gift with the choice to watch the parade from five different angles. It’s a huge difference from the NBC perspective, where viewers were allowed to see only what NBC shows them.

 

The traditional option of watching on NBC will still be available, but this pivot to embracing the digital medium could signify more to come. The Super Bowl and Olympics are already available via live-stream, so this is nothing new.

 

However, it does open up an entirely new audience. Sports fans have long been acquainted with the availability of games online, which is partly why an event as significant as the Super Bowl was brought online to watch.

 

The Macy’s Day Parade, which is mainly watched by families with young kids, is the first major non-sporting event to earn the TV-to-YouTube treatment. Unlike major sporting events that were moved to the digital medium, on top of already being available on cable, this event doesn’t have a core fanbase that’s already reliant on the Internet to watch many of its games.

 

Access to YouTube is easy, but the tradition of gathering the family together to watch the Macy’s Day Parade on NBC may play a large part in whether or not the move succeeds. It’s far more likely to believe the family would rather huddle around the big screen, rather than their laptop.

 

Plus, it may just be too much. It’s early in the morning and many families like to have the Parade on in the background while they prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. Sure there will be those extreme viewers who want to get a look at everything from their new vantage points, but many enjoy the simplicity and ambiance of turning on NBC and glancing from time to time.

 

Of course, there are far more practical, financially stimulating reasons behind the move, according to Variety:

 

“The new means of watching an old TV institution arrives as Madison Avenue is seeking different ways to partner with the industry overall.

 

While traditional TV commercials thrive, marketers are placing new emphasis on devising content that dovetails with the programming that attracted viewers in the first place, rather than interrupting a show with messages routinely viewed as something on an annoyance.”

 

Commercials are a point we have yet to consider that may significantly benefit the event on YouTube. Excluding the Super Bowl, nobody’s watching an event for the commercials. A commercial-less experience on YouTube could compel people to make a switch.

 

It certainly works for platforms like Netflix, where episode after episode can be watched without a single commercial or stoppage.

 

However, at least in the case of the Parade, it all comes back to convenience and tradition. Turning on the TV Thanksgiving morning, putting on NBC, and watching the Parade, no matter in what capacity, is an American tradition that has persisted for decades.

 

Placing it on YouTube and implementing the 360 feature is great for novelty, but it’s just that: a novelty. It’ll be fun to use for a short time. You’ll get your fill of the five vantage points, but that’s not how people are going to watch the majority of the Parade.

 

I’ll use my own personal experience as an example. Even though I’ve never been particularly interested in the Parade, my mom has always made a big deal of it, loves it because of the tradition, and I can always bet that when I wake up an hour after it started, it’ll be on.

 

She watches it as I imagine millions of moms across America do: in the background and glancing at it from time to time while she prepares her contributions to Thanksgiving.

 

A demographic I do expect to take full advantage of it’s availability on YouTube, and its 360 feature, are the young children of those moms; otherwise known as the kids who you give an iPad to in order to distract them.

 

Needless to say, an interactive video that allows kids to watch their favorite cartoon characters float by from a bunch of different angles for 3 hours is a great solution to keep them out of the kitchen.

 

And this just may be the generation to either eliminate cable altogether or to make it seriously reevaluate its approach to reaching viewers.

 

With a steadily increasing number of people cutting the cord, the idea of watching major events like the Macy’s Day Parade may one day end up becoming more popular online. It isn’t that far-fetched of an idea when you consider what’s available on TV is also available online, but faster, with less commercials, and with more immediate information.

 

ESPN has become the biggest victim of this trend, with “ESPN subscribers declining at a rate of about 4% over the previous year versus a rate of about 2% last year.”

 

The declines are in part because of the lower quality of the channel (namely SportsCenter), and the availability and easy accessibility of games online, as well as all the stats and info needed to become an educated fan of the game.

 

Remember what I said about convenience? Rather than waste time with the filler on SportsCenter, fans would rather just watch their team's full highlight videos online.

 

But even with the availability of Netflix and Hulu, and major events dipping their toes into the burgeoning waters of the Internet, a full cutting of the cord and transition is still far out of reach.

 

At least until the iPad generation takes the place of the ‘Mom cooking Thanksgiving dinner’ generation.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!


You Have to See Royal Caribbean’s New 360 Ads

Advertising can feel like an arms’ race at times. With the biggest and most financially stable brands employing bold new technologies to promote their message, it only leads to other brands, or marketing agencies, finding newer, more innovative ways to spread their message.

 

Think about it in terms of two world superpowers jockeying for position as the world’s most super superpower. One country makes a gun that shoots four bullets at the same time, so the other makes one that can shoot eight. The other country then makes a rocket that can wipe out five cities, but that’s followed up by their rival making a rocket that can wipe out ten cities.

 

The two will go back-and-forth, back-and-forth until they either use those weapons against each other, or one collapses from the mammoth amount of funds they are pouring into their warfare budget.

 

Finally! I have successfully analogized the Cold War to digital marketing! I didn’t think it was possible, but 2016 has proven the impossible to be possible, hasn’t it?

 

Now let’s bring it back to advertising. Companies are compelled, and are faced with more and more pressure, to give their online audience a customer experience that nearly equates to having the product in your hands or using the service.

 

At any sporting event, you want to create the best fan experience. With any video game, you want to create the best gamer experience. With any car, you want to create the best driver experience. Advertising and instilling brand loyalty is focused on providing those unforgettable experiences that are as close to the real thing as possible.

 

People want to feel like their part of the moment, but sometimes they need the moment brought to them. A cruise line, for example, can only show so many of its past customers smiling and playing on a beach before the advertising market is overloaded with bronzed families and couples.

 

They need to try something new that will separate itself from the competition; that can put people on the ship without actually being on the cruise. I’m talking about the full experience here. No more stock images and film of happy white people on a beach.

 

Enter Royal Caribbean.

 

 

In stunning 2160s quality, you are granted a first-row, interactive seat to explore an exclusive show on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas cruise ship.

 

Thanks to the 360 feature, however, I have access to watch the show, to look up and gaze upon the immensity of the ship, and to observe the audience around me.

 

Their initial video to start the 360 On campaign literally places you on top of the ship, while a spokesman offers you directions on where to look and what happens there:

 

 

The exclusivity here is a huge plus. It’s one thing to offer viewers a 360 view from the front row of an event, like in the first video, but it’s another to offer them a view from somewhere they’d never get a view from.

 

Think about it like this: A video from the ground watching the Northern Lights is cool and can be done by anybody in the right area. But a video of the Northern Lights from the inside of a plane gives a much better view and is rarely seen.

 

Naturally, you’d want to see the Northern Lights from the plane not just because of the view, but also because of the exclusivity behind it.

 

So it’s safe to assume people would prefer the view we’re getting from the top of the ship, where we can get a true gauge of the immensity of the ship and how many services it provides. Rather than a traditional shot-by-shot look, I can easily see the two swimming pools, jacuzzi, a central park area, and the island we are visiting with my 360 view.

 

The style of advertising works mostly as a novelty than it does as an advertisement, and that’s exactly what it intends to do. I know for a fact I will remember this video, as opposed to any billboard I see on my drive home or any commercial on TV of those same happy white people drinking out of coconuts on a beach.

 

It’s not because of the content. Any cruise line can tell you about their pools or the island they’re visiting. This ad works better than others because of the newness and access of the medium we’re using to consume our advertising.

 

In fact, I can actually specifically recall looking at my first Facebook Canvas ad. Once again, it wasn’t the content that enthralled me, it was the tool I was using. I had the same reaction to an interactive M&M’s ad, which I wrote a blog about because it fascinated me so much.

 

Because technology evolves, every other industry has to evolve with it or face the consequences of becoming obsolete. The goal of advertising has always been connecting with their audience on an emotional level, and what better way than to almost literally have them as the center of attention with full control in your advertisement.

 

Royal Caribbean’s ad will no doubt force advertisers to reconsider their strategies, perform research into the latest trends and technologies, and then create ads that are somehow more immersive to satisfy their customer’s growing desire for a more interactive advertising experience.

 

This is the new age of advertising, at least in the digital medium. However, specifically because it’s in the digital medium may continue to force marketing agencies to allocate even more money to digital, rather than to television or radio.

 

The ads you see on TV may actually decline in quality because of the versatility of advertising in the digital medium. So rather than going through the process of hiring actors and all that comes with shooting a commercial and buying ad space, ad execs may just use the latest technology, such as the 360 On feature, turn it on, and place it on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter for free.

 

They’ll of course have to spend money on boosting, but it’s still far cheaper than the finances that go into an ad for TV audiences.

 

It’ll be intriguing to see where social media advertisers with the resources to afford tools like the 360 feature move from here. The status quo will only persist for so much longer before new technology comes along to replace it, because the technology of today will always beget the technology of tomorrow.


YouTube 101 for Business

Most of you know already about YouTube and how it works. But, is it the right social media site for your business' overall goal? Do you know how to measure the results? Do you know how to get more views?

 

These are some questions you probably never thought about, but if you did probably you did not now how to answer them.

 

First of all, lets start with the basics.

 

What is Youtube?

 

It is the most popular go-to site for videos on the web. It enables people to upload, share and watch originally-created videos around the world. It was founded in February 2005 by two former Paypal employees and acquired by Google in 2006. It include videos ranging from personal films to company commercials.

 

The online video network has invested $100 million in developing premium content channels catering to subjects such as business news, food, dance, education, pets, fashion and fitness.