Q&A With Tyler Oakley: The YouTube Star Whose Fans Raised $500K For His Birthday

Meet Tyler Oakley. His “YouTube family” (subscribers) grew by over 3 million last year and today stands at 4,324,655—a following that rivals top entertainers on the platform. His vlog posts are deceptively simple, filmed in the same colorfully decorated room, spotlight on, and Oakley ready to share whatever is on his mind. But watch him tell one story and it’s clear that he has tapped into Millennial tastes with his personal storytelling style. Always charged with intense positive energy, Tyler reveals intimate details, and can talk non-stop without missing a beat. He claims to be fluent in five languages: “English, emoji, sexting, sarcasm, and sass” and has gossiped with President Obama himself. While his best friends include the elite of Millennial YouTube entertainment, the magic in Tyler’s videos lies in his ability to make every viewer feel like they too are his best friend.
 
Wanting to use his influence as a high-profile LGBT vlogger for something more, Tyler began a birthday fundraising campaign last year benefitting a charity close to his heart: The Trevor Project. This year, the campaign reached its goal of raising $150,000 in just six days. By the end of the full 50 days of fundraising, Tyler’s online “family” had raised over half a million dollars—$525,679 to be exact— for LGBTQ youth. We got the chance to speak with Tyler about his monumental rise on YouTube, the success of his birthday campaign, and how views on the LGBT movement are changing within the next generation.

Ypulse: Tell us about how you got started on YouTube.

Tyler Oakley: It was back in 2007 and I was a college student at Michigan State University. All of my high school friends went off to different colleges, so I wanted to find a new way to keep in touch with them. I had Facebook, but I also wanted…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the food and getting ready for Black Friday” –Female, 19, CA

Brands are continuing to learn that labeling toys by gender is not always ok with the next generation. In the latest case, a photo of seven-year-old little girl reacting to a sign saying a superhero clock was a “fun gift for boys” has gone viral. The girl is a big fan of superheroes and told her mother the brand was “being stupid” by labeling a product she liked in that way—but really her facial expression tells the whole story. In reaction to the photo, Tesco has taken down gendered toy signs from all of its stores. (The Daily Dot)

Teaching kids about danger today involves a whole that parents probably didn’t have to contend with when they were growing up. Between privacy online and the dangers of technology overload, they could use a little help, and PBS Kids has launched a new show with exactly that goal. Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius is a new animated series starring a “manic” dog (Ruff) who tackles a new technological issue in each episode. The show is streaming on the PBS Kids website and YouTube, and plans to continuously evolve to “keep pace with kids’ changing media usage.” (Fast Company)

44% of Millennials 21-27-years-old have never drank a Budweiser, and the brand is shifting to try and attract this new generation of consumers. New TV spots will drop the traditional Clydesdales and instead feature young people, and a new campaign will also involve music festival partnerships, and parties in college towns featuring Jay Z. But some are warning that to really appeal to Millennials, Budweiser shouldn’t look like they’re trying too hard. (TimePR Newser)

According to a report from BuzzFeed, more than 50% of Millennials 18-34-years-old read the site each month, which makes their reach higher than many TV networks, including CBS, NBC, FX, Comedy Central, MTV, and AMC. The report indicates that “BuzzFeed is definitely becoming a media destination among young people — not just a habitual browse,” and with the site continuing to build their video content, they could rival TV in even more ways. (Business Insider)

Tech is often blamed for isolating young users and disrupting real social connections. But interestingly, a recent study has found that teen loneliness actually declined between 1978 and 2009, which means today’s teens could actually be less lonely than their parents were. The study also found that though young people today are more independent, and less likely to join clubs, “they have less need for feeling attached to a large group of friends.” (CNN)

On an average day, 33% of Millennials spend money on fast food/take out, 26% spend on groceries, and 14% spend on dining out. Our tracked data trends have all the stats on that and more, thanks to our monthly survey of 1000 13-32-year-old Millennials nationwide. Our Silver and Gold subscribers get access to regularly updated charts following average daily spend and items purchased, with spending broken out by age and gender. We do the heavy data lifting for you, and we’re constantly adding new data to our trends. (Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies