Celebrity Marketing: Social Media Stars from the Webby Awards 2017

The Webby Awards annually celebrates the best the internet has to offer, spanning hundreds of categories in six unique fields – Websites, Social, Film & Video, Mobile Sites & Apps, Podcasts & Digital Audio, and Advertising, Media, & PR.

Each category has two winners – one chosen by a body of industry experts and technology innovators, and the other by the voting public. These winners represent some of the best creators on the Internet today. The Webby Award stars are a great pool of talent to find premier social media influencers for a celebrity marketing campaign.

The social influencer landscape changes daily, which is why we’ve updated our 2016 list.

Here are some of the Webby stars you need to know in 2017:

  • Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight, identical twin fashion vloggers, won the People’s Voice for Best Celebrity/Fan for their YouTube channel BrooklynAndBailey, which owns over 3.8 million subscribers. A high percentage of their YouTube comments gush over their eyes and mascara, pushing the 16-year-old girls to possibly partner with a makeup brand or begin their own makeup line.
  • Claudia Oshry is the envy of anyone who does anything – literally. Oshry is a 2017 Webby nominee for the social media category “Weird” for her wildly popular Instagram handle @girlwithnojob. Oshry, who is unemployed, takes to her Instagram to post what she calls “relatable humor”, posting pop culture memes to engage her 2.6 million following. Captain Morgan has already taken a liking to Oshry’s high engagement, and was able to draw 4,000 people to a Las Vegas event simply because Oshry was their host.
  • Hank Green took home the honors of People’s Voice Science & Education (Channels and Networks) winner thanks to his daily YouTube series SciShow. The show’s mission is to make science applicable and interesting. The channel nearly has 4.2 million subscribers and is largely due to the fact that SciShow listens to its following. The videos posted on Tuesdays and Saturdays directly answer fan questions, giving avid viewers a reason to residually visit the channel.
  • Corinne Leigh, an eccentric YouTuber, is best known for her lifestyle DIY channel ThreadBanger. Corrine, alongside her husband Rob, are winners of the People’s Voice Film & Video Best Web Personality. Corinne and Rob are constantly posting content revolving around baking and science. Recently, the duo posted a video that revived the short lived Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, gaining 1.6 million views in under four days.
  • Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton are the winners of the Interview/Talk Show (Podcasts & Digital Audio) Webby for their booze infused podcast, Another Round. This Buzzfeed couple covers everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes. Nigatu and Clayton have the knack to get their guests to open up about hot button topics and then end their talks by getting their guests a round of drinks.

This year’s Webby bunch is a great place to find top tier creators and YouTube channels that are transforming the traditional celebrity endorsement landscape.

photo credit: www.vimeo.com

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Part I: Six Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

With the niche approach that digital influencers bring to their global platform, it is clear that the definition of “mainstream celebrity” has changed.

Especially for millennials and Gen Zers.

Variety Magazine conducted a side by side study that compared the positive Q-scores of top traditional and digital stars, a score that utilizes celebrity familiarity to further show respondent’s “favorite personalities”. Unfortunately, among all respondents, digital influencers still continue to be no match in the awareness category to upper echelon Hollywood starlets.

For digital influencers, overall awareness does not have to be an immediate goal. What matters most is the segment that they resonate with the most: age groups 6-12, 9-14, and 13-24 year olds. The non-traditional content that digital influencers produce attracts these young media message skeptics, plain and simple.

This group had an appeal to their youngest viewers that their overall Q-score doesn’t exactly reflect. What is clear by the Q-scores, is that those that are familiar with these digital influencers also consider them to be their favorite personalities and for many of these top influencers, they are equal to some well-known traditional celebrities. There are several digital celebrities that are finally reaching the same positive feedback as critically acclaimed actors such as Brie Larson and Jeremy Renner.

Unfortunately, a truly precise way to measure the effectiveness of digital influencer brand interaction is still in its infancy. As the industry climate shifted away from a traditional approach, we took a deeper look at the influencers that paved the way as a new breed of celebrity.

Based on the Variety Magazine study, here is a current list of 2016’s top six digital influencers who continue to use YouTube to leverage their brand image across multiple channels:

  • Pentatonix: This five-member a cappella got their break on NBC’s The Sing-Off, which awarded them a recording deal with Sony Music. The group has amassed 12.8 million YouTube subscribers by covering iconic songs and adding their own unique flare that appeals to a younger audience. Riding off their victory at this year’s Grammys, Pentatonix is one of the most desired influencer groups for brands that want to portray youth and vibrance.
  • Ryan Higa: This 26 year old comedian began his career as lip-synching YouTuber in high school. After experiencing difficulty with copyright issues, Higa has been able to transform his brand, owning an impressive 19 million YouTube subscribers. Now Higa spends most of his time in the parody K-pop band Boys Generally Asian, a group headlined by YouTube’s five most influential Asian YouTubers. 
  • Bethany Mota: This lifestyle vlogger loves to show off her fashion purchases and has been doing so via YouTube since she was just 19. Since then, Mota has started her own perfume and clothing line at Aeropostale, essentially saving the brand from extinction. Recently Mota broke the coveted 10 million subscriber threshold, unconventionally positioning her as a dominant force in the fashion market.

Please stay tuned for influencers 4-6, as these three have a knack for comedy that allows users to feel heightened connection to the content they create.

photo credit: www.marketingland.com

How Brands Use Influencers & Celebrity Marketing to Appeal to Gen Z

The right celebrity will forever remain an authority figure for a brand’s audience.

When the lifestyle of a celebrity ties in well with a brand, it is very simple for the average consumer to trust a brand and its message delivered by a celebrity.

Brands have been able to thrive off of millennial engagement via traditional celebrity endorsement, whether that is with a sports icon or Hollywood starlet. However, as millennials age, the focus shifts to what appeals to Generation Z: those born between 1996 and 2010.

The current 2 billion that make up Gen Z (27% of the world’s population) are the first to grow up with the internet at their fingertips. These are the individuals that trust the everyday person on social media, rather than the apparent celebrity appearance.

With an average attention span of 8 seconds, Gen Z craves transparency and instant connection to a brand. That is a large reason why Snapchat and Instagram have their highest usage from that age category.

Here are three simple influencer marketing tips to help brands thrive:

  1. Use short video clips

With Snapchat and the recent roll out of Instagram Live, it is simple for an influencer to send out a brief message to their following on a very personal level. With a brief, yet impactful influencer video, your brand can tap into an audience that will respond and trust your message.

Social media influencer Logan Paul has provided brands such as Doritos, Dunkin Donuts, Nike, and Verizon all immense success due to short video blasts. His message is concise, exciting, and immediately grabs the audience’s attention without having to stop for brand recognition. Brand recognition becomes instantaneous, because the videos are lively and provide a direct viewer appeal.

Visual content will always remain more appealing than simple text, especially with Gen Z.

  1. Ensure your brands message aligns with influencer personality

Unlike any other portion of social media users, Gen Z has an innate desire for a personalized experience with a brand. That is why the influencer market is so vast. Young people can immediately associate an influencer with an experience they have had or desire to accomplish.

Therefore, your brand’s message must directly align with the influencer chosen. The influencer doesn’t have to be colossal to have peak brand appeal. Micro-influencers, or those who have a niche in the influencer market, will play an integral role for developing brands in 2017.

These individuals are cheap, can instill immediate trust with Gen Z, and can successfully reinforce the niche appeal of certain brands. When a micro-influencer’s niche can match that of a brand, success is imminent.

  1. Store creative trust in the influencer

An influencer is an influencer for a reason. They either have an interesting quirk, style, or persona that appeals to a massive social audience. Brands will have to relinquish a lot of creative control and allow the influencer to take over.

It may be daunting for creatives to accept, but it’s a reality of influencer marketing. After all, it is the creativity of the influencer that granted their widespread appeal and the brand’s interest in the first place.

The more a brand trusts its influencer, the more the consumer will trust the given brand.

photo credit: www.pexels.com

Four Live Streaming Platforms for Celebrity Marketing

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Exponentially increase traffic and engagement using four similar, yet different platforms.

Video content is becoming one of the best ways to share information online, as video is unparalleled in engaging an audience and getting their attention. When content is shared live, it only increases the benefits of video marketing.

Statistics show live video dramatically increases both traffic and engagement to a brand’s content. With video, organic traffic increases by 157%, and consumers become 85% more likely to buy a product and 46% more likely to seek out information about your brand. Live video is a great way to make your brand more personable and engaging.

In utilizing celebrities who are already bringing in a large, engaging audience on these platforms, your brand can expand its reach and create an even more unique experience for fans and consumers. You just have to make sure you’re picking the right platform for your brand.

1. Periscope was one of the first widely-used live streaming platforms, highlighting its ability to take audiences to places not shown to the public, such as music festivals, concerts or personal events. The app offers a couple ways for audiences to engage with the platform, such as live comments and giving ‘hearts’ to show appreciation. Since the app is owned by Twitter, it makes it easy for multi-platform sharing, reaching audiences on both Periscope and Twitter. These videos can be kept on the platform forever or deleted after 24 hours, whichever you prefer.

2. Facebook Live makes it easy to connect with Facebook audiences, as Facebook controls the reach of these live videos using the same algorithm it uses for regular posts. One unique thing about Facebook Live is that users can stream for up to four hours at a time, and videos remain on the platform to be retrieved or re-purposed for later use. Facebook Live is a great platform for celebrity marketing, as celebrity pages on Facebook often outperform brand pages, and Facebook recently signed deals with multiple media companies and celebrities to grow the platform’s popularity even further.

3. YouTube Live claims to be the fastest and most reliable live streaming platform, and was notably the first to offer 360-degree streaming. Since then, brands such as GoPro, Nike and Lionsgate have experimented with it. This platform is great to use with YouTube influencers, as they can broadcast directly to their subscribers, and the stream is made available immediately after the broadcast on the influencer’s channel and in subscription boxes. It is similar to creating a regular YouTube video, but with the added bonus of live engagement from the audience through comment features.

4. Snapchat, with its 150 million daily active users, is a unique type of live streaming platform. The app has been used by brands in a variety of ways, including celebrity takeovers, product placement and revealing exclusive content. The quick, ten-second clips and 24-hour lifespan of these videos allows for urgent and exclusive interactions with an audience. Plus, many celebrities already have their own accounts and large followings on this platform.

No matter the platform, live streaming and celebrity marketing together are a great way for your brand to create exciting and engaging video content. Whether it’s special promotions, VIP access or every day moments, live streaming is great for brands to engage an audience in a new exciting way.

photo credit: Travis Estell via Flickr

Why Brands Should Take Celebrity Marketing to Virtual Reality

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Virtual reality is a must-have for those serious about the next wave of digital video.

Virtual reality (VR) puts fans and audiences at the center of the experience, allowing for more engaging and exciting content. From a brand perspective, VR creates many new opportunities to connect with their audience, play into public interest and pull more attention to their message. Brands ready to get on board with this new trend can do so with celebrity marketing.

VR is a three-dimensional, computer generated environment that allows the user to immerse him or herself into a visual world and interact within the environment. With new innovations such as the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard headsets and YouTube 360 degree video, virtual reality allows for immersive, digital storytelling that was not possible only a few years ago. There are many different possibilities for virtual reality, and brands have only just begun to take advantage of it.

Augmented and virtual reality is a big trend, gaining a significant amount of media and public attention. Anything having to do with VR seems to get favorable attention, including apps and YouTube videos. YouTube celebrities such as Casey Neistat and Louis Cole have taken advantage of the trend with 360 degree videos at events like the Oscars and places like Sierra Leone, Africa. Even YouTube itself has started live streaming events in 360. Apps such as Pokémon Go have taken the world by storm, earning up to $1.6 million daily. People who have been quick to jump on the trend have seen many favorable results.

A few brands have jumped on the trend as well, looking to the immersive experience as a way to attract attention and create meaningful experiences. The New York Times took advantage of virtual reality by sending over one million Google cardboard headsets to subscribers, and is now working with advertisers to create content to work alongside The Times’ VR videos. Etihad Airways has worked with Nicole Kidman to create a virtual reality experience for anyone on board Etihad’s A380. Both of these brands are creating unique experiences for their customers, and connecting with them in a way that is innovative and unique.

Entertainment and marketing are two natural fits for virtual reality, which makes celebrity marketing perfect for this new trend. A celebrity has the ability to deliver a message uniquely, creating attention and recognition that cuts through the clutter consumers deal with on a daily basis. We will likely start to see brands giving audiences a front-row seat to a Beyoncé concert or the Super Bowl through virtual reality, but the opportunities don’t have to end there. There are many possibilities with virtual reality, and it is a must-have for brands looking to tap into something new and innovative.

photo credit: Photopin.com

The Top Six Digital Celebrities That Can Boost Your Brand Quickly Via Celebrity Marketing

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Study shows that the most influential celebrities are on YouTube, not the big screen.

Step aside Taylor Swift; YouTube personalities are making more impact on millennials than you.

Variety Magazine conducted a study that asked participants ages 13-17 about 20 well-known personalities’ approachability, authenticity, and other characteristics that rank their overall influence. While they may not be as “mainstream,” YouTube personalities proved their influence by claiming the top six spots on the list.

In regards to celebrity marketing, YouTubers scored significantly higher than traditional celebrities in both emotional attachment to teens and engagement levels.

Meet the six YouTube stars that beat out Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and Jonny Depp in millennial influence:

  • KSI: Olajide Olatunji, better known as KSIOlajidebt (or KSI for short), is known for his YouTube channel where he does play-throughs of videogames.  Currently at 10 million subscribers, he has a large viewer base.  KSI mainly focuses on reviewing the games themselves or the equipment used to record his gameplay. Olatunji is someone who gaming companies look at as a top YouTube celebrity.
  • PewDiePie: Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, or PewDiePie, is a Swedish YouTube videogame vlogger. He is known for his ‘Let’s Play’ videos where he records himself playing video games while providing ridiculous and unfiltered commentary. Acting like the goofball friend, PewDiePie creates entertaining videos that give viewers the sense that they are hanging with a buddy; he even calls his fans the “bro army” and “bros”. PewDiePie keeps endorsements to a minimum but did an online interactive campaign with Mountain Dew earlier this year.
  • VanossGaming: Evan Fong is also a videogame commenter. His videos include “funny moments” of him and his friends playing videogames while laughing and joking around. Another set of videos are of him completing difficult game modes and challenges. His channel shares authentic and relatable content, which has attracted his 13 million subscribers.
  • Nigahiga: The fourth influencer, Ryan Higa, is a comedian. He began his career while in high school creating a lip-synching and comedy YouTube channel with a friend. After his videos kept being taken down due to copywriting laws, he began to create the music himself. Popular music videos include “Nice Guys”, “Bromance” and “Coffee Shop Love”. The channel includes other original comedy skits as well. Ryan has created 1 full length and 2 short comedy films.
  • Smosh: Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla are the guys behind the comedy YouTube channel Smosh. Smosh posts new videos every Friday that include skits such as “If Board Games Were Real” and an original music video titled “We Rule High School”. The comedy-duo has 21 million subscribers on their main channel and an additional 4 million subscribers on Smosh 2nd Channel. Smosh premiered their first feature-length film, Smosh: The Movie, on July 23, 2015, which featured fellow YouTube stars and actor Michael Ian Black.
  • Markiplier: Mark Edward Fischbach is a YouTube videogame commentator who posts videos to his channel, MarkiplierGAME. He shares his comedic “Let’s Play” videogame commentary with his 9 million followers. Markiplier goes beyond most YouTube videogame channels by also posting original comedy sketches and original animated parodies.

photo credit: www.pexels.com

Digital Celebrities Pull Millennials Away From Movies and Television for Celebrity Marketing

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Four reasons to book a digital celebrity for your next marketing campaign.

Knowing which celebrity appeals to your demographic can make or break a campaign. If the celebrity isn’t highly recognizable or influential then they’re not the right person for the brand. So, who are the right celebrities for millennials? You may automatically think Emma Stone or Bradley Cooper, but think again. Digital celebrities, such as Youtube stars, may be a better spokesperson for your brand.

Traditional TV viewership by 18-24 year-olds has dropped about 32 percent from 2011 to 2015, according to a study by Nielsen and analyzed by MarketingCharts. That decrease in TV viewers has resulted in an increase in social media users. Viewers ages 13-24 watch an average of 11.3 hours of “free” online video content per week compared to 8.3 hours of regularly scheduled TV, according to a 2014 study by Defy Media.

Here are 4 reasons why millennials admire digital celebrities and why the online celebrities are a better option for certain brands:

Digital celebrities are more relatable: According to the Defy Media study, 67 percent of millennials stated digital outlets deliver content they can relate to versus 41 percent for TV. Viewers get a look in to the everyday lives and personalities of digital stars; they see where they live, meet their families, and learn their hobbies. This makes digital stars less distant and more personable than celebrities that are only seen on the big screen.

Digital celebrities are more accessible: You can’t really take a quick break to watch an entire movie but you can for a six second video. With over 85 percent of millennials owning smartphones (Nielson), it is incredibly easy for social media celebrities to have their work reach a large number of viewers. The celebrities themselves also become more approachable than traditional celebrities by sharing authentic content on platforms with user interaction.

Digital content is basically free: You don’t need a monthly subscription to Netflix, movie pass, or ITunes gift card to enjoy these celebrities’ work; all you need is a computer or smartphone. Digital stars shine on social media platforms, such as Youtube, Instagram, or Pinterest, which are all free to use.

Digital celebrities have greater influence: If millennials are more frequently exposed to digital celebrities’ content and feel as though they genuinely connect to their personalities, the celebrities are more trustworthy and believable. In fact, the Defy Media study found that 63 percent of all respondents said they would try a product or brand recommended by a YouTube personality, while only 48 percent stated that TV and movie star powers had influence, regardless of age.

photo credit: Zoe Sugg, Caspar Lee & Joe Sugg via photopin (license)