In 1979, pop band The Buggles released a song entitled Video Killed the Radio Star. Fast–forward to VidCon London 2020, however, and audio is back with a vengeance, with the podcast renaissance leading the charge in this list of digital trends.
Podcasts: The four-day event hosted in London’s docklands had no fewer than nine podcast recordings on the schedule, alongside dedicated talks and workshops. Discussions highlighted how Millennials and Generation Z have driven the podcast resurgence through their appetite for audio content relevant to their passions and interests consumed on their mobile devices and in their own time. With the number of podcasts continuing to rise, creators were encouraged to be original with their podcast topics and formats to help them stand out in an increasingly saturated audio space. The announcement of “Streaming Ad Insertion” by Spotify in January was music to marketers’ ears, as this will provide deeper insights into audience demographics and targeted podcast reach.
TikTok: The world’s fastest growing digital platform was another key platform at the event. Rich Waterworth, TikTok’s UK General Manager, used his talk to announce a new “link in bio” functionality for UK users and highlighted sport as a topic rapidly gaining momentum on the platform. Half of all Premier league football teams are now active on TikTok, with Liverpool being the first to sign up in May last year. Also discussed was how a recent partnership with the Brit Awards reinforced TikTok’s ability to provide compelling content from behind the scenes at iconic music events. TikTok creators highlighted how “off the cuff” content performs better than premeditated and highly curated videos. They also commented on how TikTok feels like a “much more positive” online community than other social media platforms.
New Players: Lesser known platforms highlighted as ones to watch included Firework, a short–form video app that Google is rumoured to be interested in buying to rival TikTok; also, Community.com, a text messaging app which enables direct communication at scale. Early adopters of Community.com include Ashton Kutcher and Diddy, who have tweeted their digits, enabling fans to get in touch. Community.com is a unique platform as it allows users to communicate one-to-one with millions of people without social media algorithms getting in the way.
Social e-commerce is something to watch in 2020, as Instagram hopes to become the shopping mall of the future with its checkout feature. Currently in testing, it will enable customers to purchase from Instagram feeds with just two clicks.
Finally, one of my favourite talks from the event focused on the complexities of the YouTube algorithm. The talk highlighted how the hormone dopamine influences our video consumption rate. After between five and eight minutes, the average viewing duration on YouTube, users seek a fresh dopamine kick with fresh video content. The talk revealed how, in the U.S., adults spend an average of six hours per day watching videos. Such stats suggest that, despite the rising popularity of audio, it hasn’t quite killed the appeal for video stars.