I Finally Went to VidSummit, and Here’s What I Learned

This past week, I hopped on a short flight to Los Angeles to attend VidSummit 2017. If you’re not familiar with the event, it’s a conference dedicated to the business of video marketing run by none other than one of the most well-known video marketing consultants around, Mr. Derral Eves himself. A few colleagues of mine in this industry insisted I had to check out VidSummit, so I went all-in and bought an ultimate access pass.

After being back home in Phoenix now for three days, I’ve had a chance to reflect on what I learned during my time at VidSummit. Here’s what I found most interesting about the event:

VidSummit is every bit as business-focused, genuine, and personal as was promised me.

Those of you in the digital video industry know there are some pretty huge events you’re likely to attend every year. For example, almost no video professional I know misses VidCon, and still others visit Playlist Live or StreamCon. But for the most part, these events seem to focus more on the fan and creator sides of video. Not so with VidSummit.

Instead, VidSummit and all its presenters very clearly discussed problems, solutions, and predictions related to the business of online video and video marketing. Official tech demonstrations were all focused on upcoming trends in video, like augmented reality. Speakers ranged from professional entertainment lawyers to affiliate marketers to live streaming gurus. I loved all of it; finally, a conference where I didn’t have to avoid hordes of screaming 13-year-old girls just to learn one new snippet of information about my industry.

In all fairness, I was at first hesitant to shell out money for Eves’ event was because I thought I wouldn’t learn anything new about the online video industry. I mean, I didn’t learn anything at VidCon this past year which I didn’t already know or suspect, so why assume I’d learn more at a smaller event with less professionals attending? Boy, was that some stupid thinking. VidSummit was intimate despite having about 900 or so attendees this year, and that resulted in some fantastic personal connections and networking opportunities. The entire conference was probably the most genuine I’ve ever experienced. And speaking of experiences…

In the coming years, online video will be a lot more about delivering top-notch experiences.

What would you say the future of digital video and online video marketing is? Live streaming? Virtual reality? Augmented reality? While many of these video formats are likely to continue to see growth and success, the reality is that delivering valuable experiences is more important than the delivery method.

We’ve already seen television and cable moving away from impersonal, rigid “experiences” for consumers. Audiences can now cut the cord, select smaller bundles of channels, and pay for a plethora of streaming services instead. Even online video has become more and more targeted via algorithms and demographical information, and for the most part, online viewers seem to be okay with this since it means they can watch what they want to watch and avoid everything else.

But the thing is, anyone can now make digital videos, so what will set apart the brands, creators, and marketers from the rest of the pack? Again, I firmly believe and heard a few mentions at VidSummit 2017 of the fact that giving your audiences a great experience is what will count. I’ve always trusted the power of storytelling and connection regardless of the medium, so the experience gospel is nothing new. It’s just we have to find our way back to it.

If you’re in any sort of non-traditional attire, people will assume you have a YouTube channel about it.

I’ve been obsessed with retro and vintage fashion for over a year and a half, swapping out my oldest wardrobe pieces for “new” ones that bring back the nostalgia of bygone eras. I’m particularly interested in the pre-, during-, and post-war styles of the 1940s and ‘50s, as well as whatever garments of the ‘60s I believe Audrey Hepburn would gladly don. (Sorry, not a fan of the years after this… and since I was born in the ‘80s it blows my mind those clothes were just “in style” again.)

So as you can imagine, I appeared in retro-inspired looks for the pre-networking event and both days of VidSummit. My clothes, makeup, and hairdos were what 90% of people who came up to me wanted to know about. Most of these people also assumed I ran a YouTube channel about vintage style and beauty.

On a few occasions, actually, I noticed other attendees wearing costumes or non-business attire were asked if they had YouTube channels. And this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite the compliment to be told that you look so unique (in a good way) that your admirer assumes you’re passionate enough and/or expert enough to be dedicated to growing a YouTube channel. For me, this isn’t the case, but all those inquiries actually made me consider turning on that camera and pulling out some of my favorite pieces out of the closet…

Overall, my experience at VidSummit 2017 was far more rewarding than I ever imagined. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event, and am even considering throwing my name in the hat as a speaker… we’ll see. 🙂 Regardless, Derral Eves, thanks for a great conference and here’s to an even more awesome VidSummit in 2018!

Bree Brouwer
Bree is a professional business blogger, copywriter, and content marketer with an unbridled passion for online video, digital media, and any sort of technology which entertains and connects people.