Want to make the jump from YouTube video Queen or King to Big Media Boss? Here’s the deep, dark secret you need to know: It isn’t entirely about getting tons of subscribers and views. It’s also about what the ad agencies think of you. And the way they think is molded in a very great part by – oh, you’re gonna hate us for saying this – social media.
by Natalie Jarvey
Step off a New York subway or drive a Los Angeles Freeway and it’s hard to miss billboards promoting YouTube’s biggest stars by the size of their fan bases. But how much value do beauty guru Michelle Phan’s 8 million subscribers really have?
Marketing giant Ogilvy & Mather believes that subscriber numbers mean a lot less than a creator’s ability to build a community. So Ogilvy has put together a list of the 30 online stars with the most-engaged fans as part of a larger paper on the new social contract. “There’s a bias of looking at the world through the lens of TV,” says Rob Davis, executive director of content and video marketing at Ogilvy. “The value of TV is the value of the eyeballs that are tuned in at any given moment, but I think it has taken a while for marketers to understand that the value of online communities has another layer to it.”
Ogilvy weighed an online star’s reach, engagement and growth rate across YouTube, Vine and social media to determine the top three creators across 10 categories (listed alphabetically below). Says Davis, “We found that some of the people with massive audiences weren’t growing a community.”
This yogi and host of YouTube channel Yoga With Adriene has 948,000 subscribers but is quickly growing. Her videos currently average 4 million monthly views and have a total of 50 million views. Meanwhile, Mishlerhas thousands of followers across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest andInstagram.
This Southern California native has amassed more than 113 million views over the last four years with a host of DIY projects, fashion videos and beauty vlogs. Her fast-growing channel is boosted by her fans, who call themselves Macbabies and follow her across YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. And although her channel is smaller than many in the cooking and DIY category, strong fan engagement shows that her community is loyal to the content she is producing.
Schrock has been posting skate videos and pranks since 2008, but his audience has remained relatively small at a current 687,000. Even so, skateboarding fans are loyal and have driven his view count to 160 million.
Colorful drawings and peppy narration make science fun and interesting on Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown’s YouTube channel. So fun that the channel has amassed 4.4 million subscribers in three years. Earlier this year, they rode the wave of the blue-and-black dress phenomenon to 20 million views on a video that explained the phenomenon of the optical illusion with science. A book released in March answers some of the world’s weirdest questions.
Cassey Ho has been posting Blogilatesvideos on YouTube for six years, but more than 50 percent of her subscribers have signed up within the last year and a half. Thepilates instructor, who created the POP Pilates workouts, has released her own fitness DVDs and sells a line of activeweargeared toward her 2.6 million subscribers. Her fitness routine was even made the official pilates class of 24 Hour Fitness.
Boyce Avenue has been able to stay independent in recent years thanks to YouTube, where the band has racked up 7.6 million subscribers and 2.2 billion views of their covers and original songs. Their online fame led to a 2014 EP titled No Limits and an 11-stop international tour next year.