Teens and Video Creators are Now BFFs

Do the names Hannah Hart, NoahJ456, or Bethany Mota sound familiar? Chances are that if you’re over the age of 22 they may not, but these names along with thousands of others have become today’s ‘celebrities’ of choice for the teenage demographic, and are paving the way for capturing their enthusiastic engagement through video. In a study conducted by Google in 2016, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers said they relate to YouTube Creators more than traditional celebrities and 40% said their favorite creator understands them better than their friends. Add the fact that teens now make up nearly a quarter of the population and that, according to Awesomeness TV, 71% of them consume entertainment through streaming video, and the mission for brands, publishers, and content creators is clear — capture the attention and engagement of teens through video and watch your metrics reach new heights.

Today’s video landscape makes it virtually effortless for gamers, comedians, musicians, and anyone with a voice to easily reach passionate teens. YouTube and Facebook Live have tapped in to their already active teen audiences, and the creators that are accessible, authentic, and relatable are winning the race.

E-gaming broadcasters like The Tauntfest use Facebook Live for bi-weekly livestreams in which they stream people playing the break-out video game King of the Kill. To engage their fan base, they ask fans to guess when their player is going to die by posting a comment, and if they’re the first to guess correctly, they win a prize. Their streams now have a cult following with fans going to extreme lengths to win their coveted H1Z1 hoodies. As the host of The Tauntfest, Todd Roy, puts it, “One of the biggest challenges with marketing targeted to younger demographics is how you market to those groups that hate to be marketed to? The key we have found is simple: Make your content never feel like marketing. The show has a high entertainment factor, which keeps viewers engaged with a variety of special guests (like Jamie Lee Curtis and Rick Fox), as well as a way for the audience to get involved to win prizes. The show never feels like a sponsored show, but it is.”

Young YouTube creators like Christian Collins and his three siblings, Kirsten, Crawford, and Karisma, found a meaningful way to leverage their social audiences by hosting a live stream to promote International Day of Peace and saying no to violence. By hosting a live video Q&A, not only were Weekly Chris’s five million Facebook followers able to find out about their favorite television shows and musicians, but they had the chance to engage in thought-provoking conversation related to the political climate and ways in which their peers could enact change. With nearly one thousand comments posted in fifteen minutes, Christian leveraged BumeBox to connect with his fans and used his influence for the greater good.

While creators continue to create unique opportunities to reach their communities, media companies like Disney are also finding innovative ways to capture their audiences. Through the Disney XD YouTube channel, Disney recently hosted a Live Chat featuring the two stars of their animated show Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Through the genius of Disney animation, their characters, Star and Marco, entertained tens of thousands of young fans as they discussed scenes from the show, previewed upcoming clips, and answered fan questions live. With almost half a million views and 46,000 comments, Disney XD’s audience turned out in droves and couldn’t type fast enough in hopes of talking with two of their favorite characters. Using the BumeBox application, Disney XD is now able to identify their most passionate fan base and acknowledge them on air, which not only gives young fans a reason to brag at school the next day and continue tuning in, but adds an essential element in the cycle of engagement.

When it comes to video, teens demand to be included and acknowledged by content creators. While YouTube stars understand how to best reach this lucrative demo, Facebook also recognizes their impact and is developing strategies to lure creators and their communities to its platform. Meanwhile, it’s still unclear how traditional television will retain their young viewers in the years to come, but the opportunity is bigger than ever before.

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