Harold Chizick, CEO of ChizComm and Beacon Media, spoke with the Toy Book about the changing landscape for content creators, shifting digital media strategies, and more in the annual State of the Industry Q&A.

In the wake of the Federal Trade Commission settlement with YouTube and increased scrutiny of content creators in regard to COPPA compliance, what should the industry be doing to protect itself moving forward?
COPPA affects two main groups of people: content creators and advertisers. Under COPPA, all content creators that serve kids or have a significant number of kids consuming their content need to be aware of regulations surrounding the collection of personal information. Advertisers need a zero-data approach, meaning they are required to contextually target their desired audience as opposed to using interest-based targeting.

Running away from YouTube isn’t the answer, as it’s still No. 1 for kids. Working with experienced and trusted partners as a guide through these muddy waters, and creating a separate kids’ content strategy where all messaging, CTAs, and links are kid-friendly (COPPA-compliant) and don’t push direct sales, is a safe place to start to protect your company. While we do fully believe in the powers of YouTube, the industry should also start looking for more COPPA-compliant platforms (sites, apps, and over-the-top [OTT] platforms) to add to their marketing mix and content strategies.

As an industry, we not only want to protect kids from the dangers of the internet, but also protect our own companies from liability. The first step to ensuring safety for everyone is following the rules put in place by COPPA and YouTube, and building partnerships with experts in the space.

What new digital media strategies are you implementing this year to drive consumer awareness about new product lines and brands?
ChizComm has always preached a multi-pronged approach, and this year we plan to bring even more digital strategies and 360-degree marketing options to the table for our clients. With our recent acquisition of Beacon Media, we have the unique ability to create synchronized plans and campaigns across all platforms, including PR, social, digital, creative, and TV, to drive consumer awareness.

One strategy for one platform is not enough. As we move more into the digital age, we will be carving out a larger portion of the budget to run across different OTT/VOD (video-on-demand) platforms outside of YouTube, as well as exploring other digital paid and organic options on platforms like TikTok.

A larger focus on retailer advertising platforms, such as Amazon and Walmart’s new offering being released this year, will also be key. These platforms are a crucial part of the digital marketing ecosystem as more and more consumers are now beginning their searches on retailer online platforms instead of Google.

This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read more!