Early April 2017, I had the pleasure of visiting Amsterdam for the very first time. As VidCon branched out to Europe with the aptly named VidCon Europe.
For those of you who don’t know. VidCon is a video based conference, where community members, creators and industry members get together to learn and share their love for video. I’d never been to any of the VidCon events in America, so I had zero idea as to what to expect.
- Location - 80%80%
- Speakers - 60%60%
- Atmosphere - 40%40%
- Value for Money - 50%50%
From a business perspective I really am unsure as to whether VidCon will come back to Europe. If they do, I only hope they put a little more effort into some really mainstream speakers. In the meantime it looks like I'm going to have to travel across the pond for the true VidCon experience...
This was perhaps a good thing. I’ve been in the ‘events’ industry for a while now (selling Lego at various Lego conventions and toy conventions across Europe) one thing I know is that no matter how well established an event is. The first year at a new destination (when the event isn’t already designed around moving to a different destination year on year) can be a bit of a letdown. An while I’m unable to compare the US VidCon directly to the VidCon Europe. I feel as though this might have been the case.
The event was hosted at the RAI in Amsterdam. It’s the main conference centre in Amsterdam. The RAI had plenty of space with one large hall on the ground floor designed for the VidCon Europe community (people who watch video) with organised areas for stalls, stages and meet and greet.
In fact I think the space was almost a little too big. It really seemed to show how empty the event really was.
The travel connections to the RAI were great. With around an 8 minute walk to the RAI station and a 15 – 20 minute ride into Amsterdam city centre.
Finally, I have to mention the Wifi. It was the best Wifi I’ve ever experienced in my life. For you video buff’s imagine being able to upload a 3GB file to Youtube and it go straight from uploading to processing before you can blink – Yes, we’re talking that good!
The majority of the time I attended sessions on the Creator path. Designed to help me learn more about how to create better videos, and grow my Youtube channel. It was great to speak to some of the creators – In fact, I’d have loved a lot more of that. Especially on topics which I feel are more video specific. For example two sessions we’re dedicated to time management. “How to manage a Youtube channel part time” and “How to manage a Youtube channel full time”. I feel as though those sorts of sessions should be saved for a time management conference, instead I wanted to talk about managers, working with brands, social media, replying to comments, dealing with negative and positive feedback, collaborating with other Youtuber’s and video networking.
The best speech had to come from Matt Gielen of Little Monster Media. His discussion of the white paper he wrote ‘Reverse engineering the Youtube algorithm’ changed my ‘Youtube life’ forever. In fact it was one of the reasons I started an entirely new channel dedicated to our daily vlogs.
Unfortunately the worst speech came from what I believe was a PR firm. They discussed how to work with brands. This sort of thing always proves popular at any conference I go to and yet the 45-minute session contained three poorly designed slides and a 40 minute Q&A. What made things worse was the lack of answers they had for the questions.
Esssh… Personally, I felt as though for the most part the atmosphere at VidCon Europe was awkward. I think this was mixed with the clear fact that the event had clearly been undersold.
I started to wonder whether the VidCon I imagined only existed with the enthusiastic American personalities.
I think a lot could have been done to use the ‘underselling’ element of the event as a real advantage to those who were there. Making the whole experience more intimate. It was nice to see that within the Community area some creators had taken it upon themselves to do just that. Mingling with ‘fans’, taking selfies, and chatting.
Value For Money
The tickets to this event alone as a creator were €175 including tax for the two days. However, including travel from the UK, accommodation, food and drink the total cost came in at nearer £700 (that included Helen coming with me to Amsterdam, but not to the conference)
In this case, I’m going to talk about the cost of the ticket and it’s value for money alone. Which on a whole I thought was okay. That included basic amenities such as tea and coffee – although it would have been nice to see a couple of snacks, and perhaps small sandwiches in the creator lounge. As well as one 30 minute session on a round table with a creator. I opted for Hannah Witton as my first choice but got my second – Jack Maynard. (Considering I’m a daily vlogger, that probably worked out for the best) as well as access to all the creator and community sessions.
My experience at VidCon Europe hasn’t put me off going to the one in America. In fact, I think it makes me want to go even more! (if only…) however, I think going back to the one in Europe should they host it next year would be entirely dependent on the speakers.