VidCon 2018: Why Paid Media Is a Win-Win for Both Brands and Creators


In today’s world of algorithmic social feeds brands and creators can’t expect an outcome of scale unless they have a paid media strategy, said WHOSAY EVP, Talent Harvey Schwartz at the VidCon panel “The Hidden Truths of Paid and Organic Media,” featuring creator Brent Rivera.

“You just don’t have a guaranteed audience, even though you have millions of followers,” said Schwartz, adding that even YouTube is now working algorithmically. “So, for your millions of subscribers, you just can’t guarantee any or all of them to see your content because the game has changed.”

Schwartz and Rivera

Schwartz and Rivera

Rivera, who boasts almost 4 million YouTube subscribers and a total social audience of close to 20 million followers, explained the changes behind YouTube’s new algorithm. “They tested based on how many views, likes and engagement a post gets in the first thirty minutes,” he said. “Then, if it doesn’t perform like it should perform, with what they think is right, they’re not gonna
push it out to as many people.”

On the brand side, "there’s no way around it: you absolutely need to guarantee outcomes by using paid media" explained the WHOSAY EVP, Talent adding that the influence marketer—recently acquired by Viacom—has employed this strategy with success for the last five years.

For creators, however, there are still ways to optimize content for increased organic reach on YouTube, said Schwartz. “YouTube also works well when you create a hub,” he said. “If you’re driving people to a YouTube video, you don’t want them to watch the video and go right into a random feed. You wanna drive them to the hub so that they can view other videos that you created and keep them there and hopefully become a subscriber.”

Influencers should also post across social networks to promote their YouTube content. “You can’t just upload a YouTube video and then expect it to have a bunch of views just on YouTube,” Rivera explained. “I always post an Instagram story to promote it, then I may go live on Instagram, Facebook, post a Snapchat, tweet it out. I always expand it to that just because I wanna make sure that everyone sees it and if I’m proud of the content, yeah, I wanna share it with everything and it only helps.”  

Brent Rivera and Team WHOSAY

Brent Rivera and Team WHOSAY

Rivera added that even though YouTube is still his core platform mainly because of the length of the video and its monetization strategy, he’s still open to distribute content through other networks if it contributes to the overall growth of his audience.

And speaking of long-form video, Schwartz brought up IGTV, Instagram’s own long-form vertical video platform launched the same day VidCon 2018 kicked off. “I love the concept of it, I think it’s a great tool on top of what’s already on Instagram,” said Rivera. “The vertical videos are gonna get a little to get used to but I think it should be kind of cool.” He went on to compare IGTV with the Instagram stories in terms of its increasing popularity overtime. “I think that maybe in two weeks or a month we’ll see.”

Schwartz then moved on to the marketing funnels strategy, specifically the possibility to combine both organic and paid media as a successful plan of action. “If you’re actually trying to boost views on YouTube, use paid Facebook and Instagram targeting so you’re maximizing the funneling strategy outward,” he explained.

That’s why targeting is such a critical part of any paid media strategy. “You have to target a specific audience when you’re putting paid behind it,” Schwartz said ‘Build out the actual demographics so you know who your audience is.” He explained that using analytics, one can see which subset of who is engaging the most with which content, which then allows you to “create lookalike audiences” to hyper target.

In addition, a paid media strategy can also be beneficial for the talent creator beyond the deal itself. “If you’re working with a brand, there’s a lot of paid media that goes on behind branded content,” said Schwartz, adding that creators have grown their audience by 10 or 15 percent after participating in a paid campaign. “They can put a billion impressions behind a great video and you’re definitely reaching new audiences, so that’s really an effective growth strategy, an add-on for working with the brand.”

Last but not least, Schwartz and Rivera talked about the experience when creating and distributing paid content. “I like campaigns that are gonna just provide me with an experience that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” said Rivera, explaining that partnering with Coke and Nickelodeon allowed him to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live and making a Kids Choice Awards style video where he got slimed. “It was a really cool video, nicely produced and my fans loved it and it performed really well on my page.”