Content Creators Are The New Madmen

ByArshad Mahmud

The Golden Age of Advertising has long gone. For decades adland has yet to produce another Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, Howard Gossage, and other legendary admen who made their mark. And perhaps, with the current status quo, adland will never produce another legend.

The hunting grounds for advertisers today

Print, TV, and billboards used to be the hunting grounds for admen. Today, most of the hunting takes place on the internet. The global population now lives digitally.

The place with the largest amount of eyeballs is on social media. These platforms allow for content sharing from anyone coupled with social interaction features.

This simple mechanic removed gatekeeping. Suddenly, the gates of media entertainment were wide open. Left unguarded.

Anyone can become famous.

The Attention Span myth

It’s not easy to keep an audience engaged.

In the early 2000s, the usual tactic for engaging videos was to make them crazier, shorter, and snappier. Shock value was the horse to beat.

When Vine came into the picture. Short-form videos became a hit. Often making the case that “people don’t watch long content.” This belief continued until TikTok came to the scene.

According to Pew Research Centre, a whopping 77% of teens spend time on Youtube. Not TikTok.

And I’d like to point out, that the average Youtube video is 10 – 25 minutes long.

Despite popular belief, people watch long-form content. Just like how people read long-form articles. The problem isn’t length.

It is delivery.

Enter the new Madmen

Mr Beast has 136 million followers. Each video averages 100 million views.

By Youtube’s standards, each of his videos is a viral hit.

It’s safe to assume, he has a formula on how to make Youtube videos go viral. And if you watch through a typical Mr Beast video, you’ll notice techniques that naturally make the viewer watch till the end.

It’s not heavy to watch a 10-15 minute video when Mr Beast makes it.

But what if I told you, his video formula is a rehash of something old?

Virality is not an accident

Every agency tries its best to understand what makes things go viral. And some agencies, to their demise, ignore it altogether. Is it difficult to understand?

No. In fact, it’s particularly easy. It’s so easy that Mr Beast shares his secrets with the public for free. There are many Youtubers replicating the Beast formula and found success.

Brendan Kane, author of “How I got 1 million followers in 30 days” describes virality as something that can easily be replicated, no matter the subject. He goes on to say that humans easily respond to a set of cues, and if we know how to apply them, we can achieve our own viral hit.

The formula is a rehash of an old truth

Study history long enough, you start seeing patterns. We repeat the same things over and over again. And so it is with advertising. Let me explain.

What makes a good ad? Well according to the greats, it’s a message conveyed interestingly, grabbing and retaining attention, whilst offering beneficial value and inspiring action. So a few things here:

  1. Grabbing attention
  2. Retaining attention
  3. Offering beneficial value
  4. Inspiring action

Now, compare that with what MrBeast does in all of his videos:

  1. High contrast and leading thumbnails
  2. Intrigue and specificity in the video title
  3. Careful pacing and edits
  4. Building and releasing tension
  5. Tell an intriguing story/situation

He does this for his Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok content. And today, most Youtubers with a million or so subscribers implement some form of this formula. So what happens now?

The creator economy is booming. Brand deals, sponsorships, advertising, and even building a marketing agency are normal opportunities every creator, today has access to.

And it’s all thanks to their ability to rehash old truths and gain a massive audience.

Advertising isn’t dead, it got taken over

Rightfully so. Thanks to the internet, anybody can become the next Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, or Claude Hopkins.

According to Hubspot, the creator economy market size is estimated at $104.2 billion in 2022. It’s expected to grow more in 2023. Independent brands are now relying on content creators to push their products. And content creators are doing it masterfully.

Just hop on to any social media, and you can see how much science, iteration, thought, and intent are put into content from top creators. The result?

An outstanding, creative, and most importantly, effective piece of advertising. Raking in millions for long periods of time.

From afar, you may see content creators having the most fun. But behind the scenes, they are also the ones doing the most work.

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