Whether it’s through celebrity endorsed products or branded content on a YouTuber channel, it’s clear that both celebrities and influencers have a say in what we do. According to a new survey by Variety, YouTube influencers and creators are the ones with the real pull when it comes to teens. It may seem surprising to find that certain top YouTube influencers hold more sway than Jennifer Lawrence or even Seth Rogen, but YouTube is drawing in teens by the masses and starting to become their first viewing platform of choice (also see our post on fashion celebrities vs. digital influencers).
Jeetender Sehdev, a celebrity brand strategist, conducted the survey for Variety and asked 1500 teens between the ages of 13-17 an array of questions to assess how celebrities and YouTube influencers compared in terms of approachability, authenticity, and other criteria. With 20 well-known personalities to choose from, the teens ranked their favorite YouTube stars. The results are astonishing.
A paltry number of adults over 30 would recognize even a single YouTube star in the assortment. Smosh was one of the original breakout YouTubers, starting out in 2007. Though Smosh has managed to stay at the forefront of top YouTube stars, both PewDiePie and the Fine Brother’s are the new guard of YouTube, a crew of fast-rising, superstars. PewDiePie alone commanded nearly 500M views in a single month — to put that in perspective, as of 2014, Red Bull, YouTube’s most successful brand channel, had amassed an equivalent amount of views over it’s entire history.
Furthermore, Sedev found that YouTube influencers are more relatable because of their perceived authenticity and approachability. Celebrities can be encumbered by the perception of having to embody and perpetuate a certain image. YouTubers are not confined by the same rules or encumbered by a public image because they’re writing the rules as they go.