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The Things Gen Z & Millennials Have Done Because of An Influencer

Nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials follow online celebrities—but what are those influencers most likely to influence them to do? We’re breaking it down…


According to YPulse’s recent celebrities and influencers behavioral report, 47% of 13-39-year-olds in North America follow online celebrities and creators on social media. That number is, not surprisingly, even higher among Gen Z, with 60% of the younger generation saying they follow online celebs. We’ve talked about the fact that influencer marketing only got more important during the pandemic, and recently told you about the online creators and gamers that young respondents tell us are their favorite famous people, and there’s no doubt that many of them have a major sway over the actions and purchases  Gen Z and Millennials are making. After all, they are influencers.  

 Half of young consumers tell YPulse that they have purchased something that an online influencer has spoken about or recommended, and we’ve reported in the past on what exactly they’re most likely to buy because of influencers. This year, we once again asked those who reported that they’ve purchased something because of an online celeb what they’ve bought, and ​​clothing, makeup, skincare, and food/bev remained at the top of the ranking. But influencers’ halo of influence isn’t just about online purchases (though of course many brands are after this ROI). Influencer marketing can also be about spreading awareness, prompting action, and more. Our influencer and celebrity survey also asks 13-39-year-olds what they’ve done after learning about it from an online celebrity, and here’s what we discovered: 

The top things that young consumers are being influenced to do because of influencers are watching videos/TV shows/movies or listening to new music. In other words, influencers might be entertainment to young people, but they’re also influencing their choices of entertainment off social media. Looking at our data, Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to do things related to entertainment, like watch a video / TV show / movie and listen to a new artist or band after learning about it from an online celebrity. YPulse’s music report shows that Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to say they discover music on social media, and our entertainment report shows that they’re also more likely than Millennials so say that social media is how they find out about new TV shows. (Though we should note that social was the top response among both generations on that one.) Another area where Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to be influenced by influencers is activism: over a quarter of the younger gen says they have signed a petition after learning about it from an online celebrity. Gen Z is an activated group, looking to make change and using their collective online power to make their voices heard, and we can see that influencers play a role in that space for them. That said, Millennials are more likely to have donated to an organization because of an online celeb, which can be attributed to the fact that Millennials are probably in a spot in their lives where they’re more financially stable.

Meanwhile, Millennials are also more likely than Gen Z to be influenced to do more tangible activities like reading a book (which the #BookTok subculture may be playing a hand in), going to a restaurant or trying a service compared to the younger generation. 

But while these generations are being influenced to try or buy different things in some cases, both are clearly under the influence of online celebrities, with only one in five of either group saying they have never tried or learned anything because of an online celeb. Brands should understand that while influence campaigns that lead to immediate purchases are of course one of the holy grails of working with online creators, they are influencing Gen Z and Millennials to do even more than that.

YPulse Business users can access the full celebrities and influencers behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.