The growing power of the YouTube Superstar

The YouTuber. Regular people, doing things that often aren’t that out of the ordinary, recording it on a camera, and broadcasting it to the world. This growing pool of individuals, many still in their teens, are being viewed BILLIONS of times, becoming multi-millionaires along the way.

The first video on YouTube to hit one billion views (PSY’s Gangnam Style) did so on the 15th July 2012. As of now, 55 videos have surpassed one billion views, with Gangnam Style at almost three billion.

This exponential rise of online video content gives no indication of slowing down.

Ask today’s school kids what they want to be when they’re older, and there’s as much of a chance they’ll respond with ‘YouTuber’ as they are ’Footballer’, ‘Astronaut’, or ‘Singer’.

The power and influence of these individuals is immense. The colossal rise in popularity of the YouTube influencer amongst the teen generation has only been realised in the past five years; and right now it’s in full swing.

So why have these people got such an enormous following?

For me, it’s the personal touch. As a viewer myself, it feels more like spending time with a friend. We become emotionally invested in these people. It appeals in the same way a traditional soap opera does, it tells a story.

Increasingly brands are tapping into these influencers to promote their goods and services; and it makes sense.

Travel companies sponsoring travel YouTubers, sports companies sponsoring football YouTubers, cosmetics companies sponsoring beauty YouTubers. This captive audience is far more likely to trust the opinion of their favourite YouTuber, over conventional marketing.

Brands know this, and are increasingly incorporating these individuals into their public relations strategies. Video across all social platforms is booming right now, and YouTube offers that home where content creators can live with, nurture and build their audience. A passionate community who tune in to watch, every single day.

The main stream media appears to still look upon these internet creators with an air of disdain. Perhaps this is born from fear, fear that media consumption is moving away from the conventional outlets. The goalposts are moving faster than you think, and people need to take note, or get left behind.

For those interested, Socialblade has a great YouTube live analytics article, and Brandwatch goes into more depth regarding the numbers behind YouTube.