More young Americans are hoping to capitalize on the rise of social media by getting paid to sell products, much like their favorite celebrities.
According to a new study conducted by market research company Morning Consult, 86 percent of people aged 13 to 38 would like to become a social media influencer. Out of those who participated in the study, according to Bloomberg, only 12 percent considered themselves to be influencers already.
As the outlet noted, an increasing number of young people are turning away from conventional avenues of media consumption, like television, and are instead turning to social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
While the companies behind those apps do not typically pay people to use their platform, if a person can generate enough of a following on any of these popular apps, brands will pay them to post an advertisement on their behalf. This can prove to be a lucrative business for someone with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers.
“Influencers with up to 1 million followers can get $10,000 [per post], depending on the platform, and 1 million followers and up, you’re getting into territory where they can charge $100,000,” Joe Gagliese, one of the co-founders of Viral Nation, an influencer agency, told Vox in November 2018.
“Some can even get $250,000 for a post! Especially if the content is on YouTube and the influencer is in the gaming industry,” Gagliese added.
The most widely recognized influencer is Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie, as noted by Variety. He has more than 102 million followers on YouTube, where he has grown in prominence by streaming his playthroughs of video games.
One of the study’s most interesting findings, Variety noted, is that while Gen Z participants rated PewDiePie and NBA superstar LeBron James with the same name recognition, they said they trusted PewDiePie more than the 34-year-old Los Angeles Laker.
“These influencers have moved into celebrity territory. An endorsement from them is just as valuable as working with LeBron,” Gagliese explained to Vox. “They have incredibly engaged audiences and have an ability to push really big numbers.”
“We actually believe influencers are more impactful than athletes and TV stars because they are more relatable and so their audience is more tapped in,” he continued. “So it’s like, why pay a celebrity $50 million for a deal when that can be split up among influencers and make real impact?”
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