Influencer Orchestration Network

Social Media Creators Are More Influential Than Celebrities

Social Media Creators

Google's research on millennials and Gen Z shows that YouTube stars are much more influential than traditional celebrities.

Social media creators, not celebrities, shape our culture and set trends, says the largest living generation of consumers. Think With Google’s new study highlights this fact based on analysis from a number of studies they commissioned with various research houses, including Nielsen, Visible Measures and Ipsos Connect.

The 75 million member strong generation we call millennials trust and relate to social media creators more than people made famous because of their involvement in film, television, sports or music. While these traditional celebrities may have better name recognition with the overall US population, they aren’t building the kind of trust with US millennial audiences that social media creators command.

In contrast, social media influencers inhabit a place between celebrities and friends. They’re seen as both aspirational figures and someone with whom the consumer has built a relationship through regular interaction. Social media creators forge bonds with their audience from shared interests, from interaction and responses to the content they create on channels they control. This just isn’t possible with traditional media stars.

In fact, the community involvement and interaction between fans and creators is so strong that Google found that 4 in 10 millennials say their favorite creators understand them better than their own friends. Twitter noted similar comparisons of friends versus creators in relation to direct product recommendations just a couple of months back.


Generation Z has a similar response to YouTube stars. Seventy percent of teenage subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities. This perception translates into real actions, too. Social media creator content performs far better than traditional celebrity content on the same channels. Views and actions on social media creator content are two and three times higher than that from celebrities. Even more impressively, social media creators get 12 times the number of comments that a traditional celebrity does.

Social Media Creators Can Help Brands Market To Younger Consumers

Younger consumers continue to move away from traditional media and the celebrities associated with them are losing influence over them as a result of it. While brands that are still advertising on TV may seek a celebrity with large name recognition to be part of their campaign, marketers targeting younger generations know they need to go mobile, social and digital to reach their targets. Collaborating with social media creators that are passionate about the products they’re discussing and have built-in trust from younger audiences is the ideal way to achieve those goals.

Graphic: Google