In the past, movie stars, Grammy award winners and radio stars have occupied the spots for ultimate fame. However, due to Youtube’s beginnings in 2005 and Instagram’s debut in 2010, much of America’s youth has grown up in a culture where social media outplays traditional entertainment. By the end of 2015, millenials had accounted for 1.7 billion dollars spent in technology. This substantial and motivated chunk of consumers pushed businesses to take note in who exactly bought their products. As reaching out to millennials became a priority, so did sponsoring America’s budding celebrities: YouTubers.
In a study Defy media conducted, 63 percent of participants aged 13-24 agreed to try a product promoted by a YouTuber, but only 48 percent said the same for a movie star. The casual and sometimes daily postings of YouTubers often make viewers feel less distant from living the life of a celebrity. When Google conducted a study regarding this, 70 percent of YouTube subscribers admitted to relating better to Youtubers than celebrities. Subsequently, YouTubers have become one of the most influential members of pop culture for today’s millennials with 70 percent of YouTube subscribers agreeing that “YouTube personalities change and shape pop culture.” In a 2014 experiment conducted through Variety, teenagers ranging from ages 13-18 compiled a list of the 20 celebrities they thought had the greatest impact on Gen Z. With movie stars like Jennifer Lawrence taking up the bottom rungs on the social ladder, YouTubers including Pewdiepie with 60 million subscribers, KSI with 19 million subscribers, and Vanoss Gaming with 23.8 million subscribers. held the titles for the first three positions.
Although the emergence of Youtube may seem limited to older generations, for many, Youtube has become Gen Z’s staple form of entertainment.