Meet the YouTube generation

Half of all New Zealanders watch online videos via YouTube during any week – so the chances are that many of your colleagues and employees watch YouTube; but many of them aren’t just consumers – they’re content creators too. They’re creating vlogs and posting them to YouTube to connect with peers and build their own community.

YouTube offers Gen Y and Z (and the rest of us) a social media platform to vlog (video blog) about life and about specific passions and interests – from beauty, travel, cooking, to video gaming and lots more. As well as building a loyal community of subscribers and commenters to their YouTube channel, they can monetise their videos, earning some cash along the way. For many, vlogging on YouTube is their preferred way to express themselves and connect with others online.

The YouTube generation – dubbed “Gen C” by Google because they thrive on Connection, Community, Creation and Curation – are considered to be “a powerful new force in culture and commerce. Sixty-five percent of Gen C are under 35 but they span the generations, empowered by technology to search out authentic content that they consume across all platforms and all screens, whenever and wherever they want.”

YouTube is undoubtedly a social media power house – with three days of content uploaded every minute; four billion views per day and 800 million monthly unique users.
Here in New Zealand, the two most subscribed YouTube channels are produced single-handedly by young women. Twenty-one year old Shannon Harris produces the Shaaanxo channel. The beauty channel boasts over 1.5 million subscribers (with 121 million video views) and she is followed by almost three million fans across her other social media channels.

Eighteen year old Jamie Curry produces Jamie’s World channel with 1.3 million subscribers (47 million video views) and has 10 million fans on Facebook and almost a million across Twitter and Instagram.

Eye-watering numbers for any brand or business in New Zealand – let alone a single person.
Thanks to brand sponsorships and YouTube advertising revenue both women create YouTube videos for their channels full-time. Yet the YouTube scene in New Zealand is still very much in its infancy – the world’s top YouTuber, Pewdiepie, is estimated to earn US$4 million a year from his YouTube channel.

Brands are beginning to realise the influence YouTube vloggers have with the digital generation. YouTubers can connect and engage with audiences in a unique and authentic way – and on a platform that the majority of us love to use regularly.

One example is Coca Cola. Recognising Jamie’s audience was also their target audience of 13 to 24 year olds, Coca Cola recently collaborated with Jamie for one of their campaigns in Australia.

Acknowledging the growing community of YouTube creators in New Zealand, YouTube held its first roadshow during February this year; You Tube: Insider’s Guide to Success, visiting three main centres.

As a guest speaker Jamie noted; “Brands, because they’re older, struggle to relate to teenagers, they bounce ideas around, say it’s cool and hip and I’m like; no it’s not!”
With over 12 million fans and followers she knows her stuff.

The YouTube generation offers brands and businesses an opportunity for collaboration to reach younger and niche audiences – as well as an insight into the minds and hearts of Gen Y and Z. M

Fiona Powell has presented, trained and managed large and small businesses in social media. She is currently publisher/producer of WebShowCentral.tv and an aspiring web series creator. She is also the former editor of Management. 

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