Gen Z & Millennials’ 15 Favorite Online Celebrities

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

As fame continues to fragment, we asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to tell us their favorite online celebrity. Find out who made the list...

In the months since we released the Ypulse Quarterly report that took a deep dive into The Influencer Effect, influencer marketing has only gotten bigger—and more amorphous. While the online-famous are making big bucks (for themselves and brands) and companies are clamoring to strike partnerships in an effort to reach the elusive ad-skipping Millennials and Gen Z, The Influencer Effect is further fragmenting another youth mainstay: celebrity. We’ve covered the redefinition of fame plenty in the past, but the lines between what constitutes a celebrity and what doesn’t are getting even blurrier. It has everything to do with social media: today’s young consumers prefer online content and prioritize an intimate connection with their idols over the top-down inaccessibility of the celebrities of yore. And while this means that an Instagram personality with a million followers is as much of a celebrity as the actor du jour in the eyes of 13-35-year-olds, it also means that those more classic celebrities—the pop icons, film starlets, and rock stars—are better received when they maintain a strong social media presence.

That’s making the question of fame even more complicated. In each of our quarterly social media tracker surveys, we ask 1000 13-35-year-olds, “Who is your favorite online celebrity?”* We clarify that this could be a blogger / vlogger, social media star on YouTube, Vine, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. and let them tell us their top pick. This time around, Millennial and Gen Z respondents listed upwards of 700 stars, the majority of which had just one vote, confirming that the days of a reigning handful of celebrities are dead and gone. But more…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

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