Thursday, October 27, 2016

One Unique Vlogger

In the world of content, bloggers are still important providers of information (hi!) but the rise of vloggers cannot be discounted. It makes sense to see more vloggers coming onto the scene given our shorter attention spans and preferences to watching over reading. What intrigues me is the way toy manufacturers have pounced on this medium – and smartly so.

There are vloggers for just about every subject matter: food, video games, lumberjacks and more. In addition to being a great creative outlet, #YouTubeMoney is also a big influence behind the increase of vloggers. The following video does a great job of explaining the confusion about the amount of money YouTubers can make. You can watch the full video here but I really want you to drink in these stats about a particular vlogger that’s popular in my home:

There are a lot of highly-viewed YouTubers with which I am totally unfamiliar but thanks to my son, I’ve been aware of the Ryan ToysReview channel since his channel was created in March of 2015. As a matter of fact, I believe my son is responsible for 25% of those views mentioned in the video above!

Here’s the gist: Ryan’s videos aren’t really product reviews. They’re really just videos of him playing with all kinds of great toys. The footage is presented along with cheerful music and respectable (but not flashy) video effects that appeal to children. I’ve always gotten the sense that this channel grew from videos of Ryan enjoying his toys, recorded by his mom as all moms do. Once the number of views started piling up, Ryan’s mom upped her editing skills.

How Toy Manufacturers Come Into Play

If you haven’t taken a trip to Toys”R”Us lately, let me tell you that the toys featured in Ryan’s videos are EXPENSIVE. It’s not likely or feasible that all of these toys are purchased. I imagine that toy manufacturers are taking note of Ryan’s high number of video views and identifying his YouTube channel as an additional marketing avenue. With this in mind, they supply complimentary toys to be featured in his videos. Ryan probably gets to keep the toys, his mom gets #YouTubeMoney and the manufacturer’s products are seen by children from around the world.

In order to continue receiving free toys to review, it would make sense for Ryan’s mom to boost the number of channel views as much as possible, right? That’s why I think it’s even more interesting to take a look at how Ryan’s channel is promoted. Look in the description of Ryan’s latest video and you’ll find a long list of links to his other videos. Not his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Branding be damned, that’s a smart way to add quick views.

More evidence that Ryan’s video views take precedence over branding:
  • The weird phrasing of his YouTube channel’s name. Be sure to note that it is Ryan ToysReview and not Ryan’s Toy Reviews. When researching Ryan’s channel for this post, my instincts steered me to input the latter into my search query. Ryan’s website URL (which features the same weird phrasing) isn’t the first listing on results page - - his videos receive top ranking. That’s either a convenient coincidence or a very cunning approach to the Google search algorithm. (Also, at the time of this post, the website URL redirects to the YouTube channel's URL.)
  • His Twitter Feed. Each tweet is just a link to the latest video on the YouTube channel. The Twitter account seems to serve no other purpose. 
  • His Instagram Feed. Only one photo that’s almost a year old. 
  • His Facebook Feed. Very sporadic links to videos with little-to-no responses to the numerous comments each post garners. 
Ryan is unique vlogger in that his video views soar to new heights without much promotion from other social media channels. Such support may not be needed since his primary audience does not use social media. 

Ryan’s videos inform viewers like my son about the latest toy trends. Because of Ryan and his “reviews”, my son has knowledge of toys without ever seeing said toys in a store or TV commercial. Toy manufacturers know this all too well - - and so do vloggers. I am impressed with the way the two sides work hand-in-hand, knowing their success depends on each other.

As impressed as I am with the manufacturer/vlogger relationship, I’m equally disappointed for Ryan on special days. Can you imagine how much of a letdown his birthday and Christmas must be if he gets to play with new toys almost every other day of the year?

Thank you for reading!

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