Influencers

If you saw Forbes’ second annual list of the highest-paid YouTube stars, you know that big name digital influencers are bringing in big money. That means that if your brand is looking to reach the millennial and Gen Z viewers who rabidly consume the content they produce, it won’t come cheap. A brand activation featuring a single YouTube video amplified with posts on the creator’s other social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) might earn a Forbes list-caliber digital star as much as $200K.

But an open checkbook won’t necessarily be enough to attract this upper echelon of creators, because not only are they swimming in cash, they’re drowning in opportunities, so credibility and oversaturation – not income – are now their primary concerns.

Within any significant influencer group (moms, cooking channels, tech reviewers, gamers, etc.) there are a top 5 to 10 channels that have become “name brands,” meaning they’ve not only cultivated a devoted audience, they’ve crossed over to mainstream recognition – at least within digital entertainment and marketing circles. They’ve been featured in industry press, sat on VidCon panels, appeared on “Ellen” or some in some other way elevated their exposure beyond their core fan base. The bottom line is, if you’re an informed digital marketing professional, you’ve heard of them, and so have your peers at every major agency and brand across the nation (maybe globally).

Every month, the big name creators and their reps field dozens of lucrative offers to make a branded video, a sponsored livestream or a personal appearance. They could run a major brand activation every week if they wanted to. But they don’t want to. For one, their fans would stop watching them because all they’re producing is ads. Also, the sponsor activations take more time and energy. They can’t just turn on the camera and post what they want. They have to review creative briefs, go through rounds of collaboration and review, make extra edits, etc. So they don’t just chase the highest paycheck. They pursue a select number of partnerships that best promote their brand and advance their career. And sometimes a great opportunity comes along and they’re unable took take advantage, because their schedule is already booked for the next six months.

So what’s brand to do?

Our advice: Look for the next wave.

The social universe is a dynamic talent pool teeming with highly successful creators who just haven’t gotten the recognition … yet. Brands and agencies often see it as a failure if they don’t get big name influencers like Forbes list topper Felix Kjellberg (a.k.a PewDiePie, who earned an estimated $15 million in 2016) or UnBoxTherapy or Dude Perfect for their campaigns. But there are scores of up-and-coming, under-the-radar stars who can serve as effective substitutes for their starrier counterparts.

These influencers produce comparably high-quality content and reach similar real-time audiences as their “name brand” counterparts, but they’re generally more available and eager to make their own names as marketing superstars.

For instance, instead of pursuing Colleen Ballinger (better known as Miranda Sings), who ranks #9 on the Forbes list with an estimated $5 million in 2016 earnings, a brand could use a lesser known influencer with comparable demographics, such as Ariel Martin (a.k.a. Baby Ariel), a 16-year-old Floridian who rose to fame on the musical.ly app in 2015 and has gone on to build a large following across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

With more than 7.45 million subscribers and a billion views on YouTube, Ballinger might seem like she’d be eminently more effective as a brand ambassador than Martin, who has under 2 million subscribers and just north of 104 million views. But view counts and subscriber numbers are accrued over the life of a channel, so they are not necessarily representative of an influencers’ current popularity and reach.

That’s why ZEFR has developed a proprietary method for determining an influencer’s trending engagement, which tabulates thousands of real-time data points – including the recent number of views, likes, comments and shares – and corrects them for outlier posts, such as paid promotions or a video that got an atypically high number of views because it got shared on Reddit. By this measurement, Martin has a higher engagement rank, in the 97th percentile, compared to Ballinger, whose engagement is in the 96th percentile.

There’s no denying that Ballinger is the bigger star. She’s inspired imitators, staged successful concert tours, ridden shotgun with Jerry Seinfeld and even scored her own Netflix series, “Haters Back Off.” But in today’s rapidly-evolving social media space, the transformation from nobody to celebrity can happen in the blink of an eye. By aligning themselves with a “next wave” influencer like Martin, brands not only get a powerful but cost-effective brand ambassador, they demonstrate that they are authentic and ahead of the curve.

Ballinger and Martin are not isolated examples. For virtually every big name digital influencer who’s scored a loving AdWeek feature or a segment on “Entertainment Tonight,” there is a “next wave” alternative with comparable demographic and trending engagement. A brand interested in well-established comedy duo Rhett & Link (tied with Ballinger on the Forbes list with $5 million in 2016 earnings), could instead choose Coyote Peterson, whose YouTube channel Brave Wilderness, featuring up-close animal encounters went from just 588,000 subscribers in March 2016 to more than 5 million in January 2017. Both have engagement rankings in the 99th percentile. Or instead of vlogger Tyler Oakley (#5 on Forbes’ list with $6 million in 2016 earnings), who has an engagement rank in the 96th percentile, a brand could work with Thomas Sanders, who has an engagement rank of 94.

The “next wave” concept might be easy for traditionally-minded marketers to ignore. After all, nobody ever got fired for landing a big star to headline a campaign. But up-and-coming creators have an enthusiasm and freshness that has its own undeniable value. And, in the authenticity-obsessed social media space, they represent a value that goes way beyond mere dollars, because they make brands look like forward-thinking trend-makers instead of trend-chasers.

To learn more ZEFR’s approach to identifying influencers and find the next-wave influencer that’s right for your campaign, contact ZEFR at info@zefr.com.

 

Thought Leadership

This article originally appeared in edited form in AdAge on Nov. 2, 2016.

The World Series is in full swing, and there’s a common thread between the The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs: a data-driven approach to building a franchise that wins. Both teams have best-in-class analytics departments that leverage data on every at-bat, pitcher matchup and defensive alignment in order to assemble and optimize a roster that gives them the best chance to win.

Brands should take the same approach to building their influencer rosters, looking at influencers like athletes and using data to create smart and impactful relationships and strategies that deliver results. Much like batting average and RBIs are not enough to determine a great baseball player, metrics like reach and subscribers don’t tell the whole story for influencers. By looking at statistics like cross-platform engagement, engagement percentile, top content topics and 4-week engagement trends, brands can assemble a winning influencer roster.

baseball-influencer-image

We broke it down into simple categories that can lead to success:

Superstars

Within every team, there are a few superstars that can carry a roster to victory. The key is to define the superstars when they are entering their prime, and not based on past performance — as the Angels learned the hard way with Albert Pujols. The Cubs and Indians have invested in superstars like Kris Bryant and Corey Kluber, and built rosters around them. To find the right superstar influencers for a brand, project the average engagements per post vs. every other influencer, on each platform. At Zefr, influencers in the 80th percentile for engagement are deemed superstars.

Specialists

Certain situations require particular set of skills. Andrew Miller, the Indians lefty, is brought in to protect a late-inning lead, and some influencers will also specialize in very particular types of content. For back-to-school campaigns, look to influencers that drive millions of back-to-school-focused engagements, such as MsTiffanyMa or Chelsea Crockett. By tapping into the specialty of influencers, you can expect optimal performance, rather than tasking them to work outside of their strengths.

Veterans

While they may not be as flashy as the up and coming superstars, the veterans have been there before, and have a professional approach that warrant results. That’s why it was so important for the Indians to sign veteran Mike Napoli and for the Cubs to sign last year’s World Series star Ben Zobrist. While neither of these players are the core of their respective teams, they come through when it counts. Shonduras, a hardworking Snapchat star in his mid 30s who built his audience, is a perfect example of a veteran influencer who delivers breakthrough results based on craftsmanship as opposed to being a flavor of the month.

Glue Guys/Fan Favorites

On every team, you need one or two players that bring up the morale of the team because of the pure joy they bring to the stadium. Examples include Cubs catcher David Ross and Indians utility man Coco Crisp. For fan favorites like these, it isn’t about eye-popping stats, but the authentic bond that they have with fans. For brands looking to round out their roster with Glue Guys, seek out these authentic fans and ask them questions like, “How often do you shop at our store?” and “What makes you love our product?” Chances are, if they give an amazing answer, they’ll also be a fan favorite.

Conclusion

When a baseball season is over, the entire roster doesn’t disappear, leaving the team to build next year’s roster from scratch. Instead, players develop, work to improve and come back the next year better than before. Data can get brands into the “big leagues” in the same way, identifying influencers that will work with them over the long term, as opposed to one-off campaigns. Data also provides the ability to learn what works, so rosters can be optimized based on what’s gaining traction. By building an influencer roster with the same care that Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein builds a team, you’ll have a massive competitive advantage versus every other brand.

Trygve JensenTrygve Jensen is the GM and VP of Influencers at ZEFR, which takes a data-driven approach to influencer marketing, identifying and activating the most relevant influencers for campaign goals across every social platform.

Black History Month YouTube ZEFR Data top influencers
Influencers

To celebrate Black History Month, ZEFR Insights tracked and ranked five of the top black influencers on the rise across YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine. As we’ve watched the digital influencer landscape continue to grow and evolve, what ties all these creators together is their ability to build highly engaged audiences by carefully maintaining authentic relationships with their biggest fans. By just being themselves and celebrating what makes them unique, they transcend expectations and deliver a singular voice that draws people into their world.

1. Marques Brownlee

Platforms: Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube
Total YouTube Reach: 3,223,615
Total Social Reach: 4,504,119
97.7th Percentile in Cross-Platform Social Engagement*

Brownlee, better known to his fans as MKBHD, has been a YouTube creator since 2009, honing his unique voice as a technology reviewer. In that time he has attracted over 3 million subscribers to place him third overall in the tech category on YouTube. Originally from New Jersey, Brownlee attended the Stevens Institute of Technology before becoming a full-time YouTuber in 2015. Brownlee’s most-watched clip—a review and “scratch-test” of the Apple iPhone 6 sapphire crystal display—catapulted him to YouTube stardom when the footage was featured on NBC News, TIME’s website, and numerous other tech outlets that Brownlee beat for the scoop.

2. Tré Melvin

Platforms: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Vine
Total YouTube Reach: 3,028,686
Total Social Reach: 5,860,756
97.9th Percentile in Cross-Platform Social Engagement*


Originally from Cincinnati, Melvin has studied both theatre and business marketing, uniquely preparing him for his influencer role as both performer and entrepreneur. His LA-based YouTube channel, This is a Commentary, features new webisodes every Monday. The content draws from his performing arts background (comedy sketches, music, and parodies of vlog culture) and his newfound status as a bisexual role model. In less than five years, Melvin has grown his audience to 3 million subscribers and 272 million total views.

3. Teala Dunn

Platforms: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Vine
Total YouTube Reach: 1,239,337
Total Social Reach: 3,082,098
97th Percentile in Cross-Platform Social Engagement*


Known to her YouTube fans as Tealaxx2, the 19-year-old Dunn already has an impressive resume as an actress with appearances on the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? and in the feature film Expelled. Her on-screen experience is evident in her engaging YouTube uploads; among Dunn’s most-viewed videos are variations on the timeless “Truth or Dare” game and glimpses into her daily rituals (makeup tutorials, school lunch ideas, etc.)

4. Todrick Hall

Platforms: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Vine.
Total YouTube Reach: 2,042,900
Total Social Reach: 3,057,103
89.9th Percentile in Cross-Platform Social Engagement*


Hall shot to YouTube fame when his carefully orchestrated (and choreographed) Target store flash mob (set to Beyoncé’s “End of Time”) went viral. Currently the third most-watched clip on his channel (hovering near the 14.5 million mark), the joyous stunt got the attention of Beyoncé herself (who filmed her own YouTube response) and laid the groundwork for an official partnership with the retail chain. With over 2 million subscribers and 300 million views, Hall keeps his fandom engaged with unpredictable content ranging from Disney tributes to prank calls.

5. Tianne King

Platforms: Facebook and YouTube
Total YouTube Reach: 683,428
Total Social Reach: 708,264
95th Percentile in Cross-Platform Social Engagement*


Tianne King, and her daughter Heaven, first caught the public’s attention when they appeared on The Ellen Show as a mother-daughter dancing duo. That video alone has pulled in more than 70 million views. Since their career-defining television appearance three years ago (when Heaven was just 3 years old), Tianne King’s YouTube channel is approaching 700,000 subscribers with over 250 million views across her videos. The family business has expanded into a full-on dance troupe and choreography studio, which provides fresh content for King’s YouTube channel in the form of dance tutorials and behind-the-scenes footage from the studio’s popular dance productions. The Kings’ audience appeal has been recognized by brands such as Cheerios and Gymboree.

* Percentile calculated based on 55K top-tier influencers tracked in ZEFR’s Influencer Management System (IMS)

Data Insight: Most Engaging Content Topics

ZEFR Insights also conducted an analysis of the most popular content topics from top black influncers, identified through ZEFR’s BrandID IMS data platform.


trending-black-influencers-digital-video-zefr



Get future posts delivered to your inbox



Celebrities-influencers-YouTube-engagement-zefr-data
Thought Leadership

TV launched the notion that reach is king. In this new era of celebrity, there’s a new king in town: engagement. In the TV world, being able to reach the largest audience possible was the measure of success. Now, we can actually track and measure the influencers that deliver deeper connections and engage with their audience, rather than simply reach a wide audience. This is what makes today’s social driven media world so interesting.

For brands, this means re-thinking some of your traditional strategies on reach, and shifting towards engagement. ZEFR did an analysis comparing the reach and engagement of “traditional celebrities” with some of the today’s biggest social-media influencers, and the data tells an interesting story.

Take Grace Helbig, the YouTube star whom E! recently tapped to take over its late night talk show franchise. Helbig has over four million followers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That’s a lot of people, but what does that number really mean? And, when measuring her level of influence, how should those followers be compared to her ability to carry a nationwide TV audience four nights a week? Clearly, social stars are being tapped for mainstream platforms, but success on one platform doesn’t necessarily translate to another.

Brands must answer these important questions if they ever hope to understand celebrity and its influence online. A brand needs to gauge the value of “influence” before aligning itself with an influencer, let alone the right one. As new platforms continue to emerge, forcing us to rethink what “fame” even means, brands can no longer rely on an old framework that no longer fits the current picture.

To help brands navigate this new terrain, ZEFR did an analysis comparing the reach and engagement of so-called “traditional celebrities” with some of the today’s biggest social-media influencers. If you haven’t heard of some (or most) of these new multimedia stars, therein lies the problem we have described above. If you are a brand, you need to know them and here, ZEFR shines a light into the darkness, uncovering data that calls for nothing less than a new definition for celebrity itself.

Why Jimmy Fallon Is ‘Less Famous’ Online: Different Metrics for Different Contexts

When YouTube star Grace Helbig appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon recently, she revealed two important lessons for anyone trying to understand this new era of social influence. She explained to Fallon that when her new show debuts on E!, she would eschew the conventional TV talk-show format in favor of a set without a studio audience. This approach would help her to avoid alienating the fanbase she earned online, by focusing on intimate conversations that mirror her well-established YouTube show.

While Fallon seemed shocked by the notion, the lesson that he and others are missing is that social influencers came up through a far different proving ground than traditional television.. Influencers like Helbig gained a following on YouTube precisely because of the more intimate, authentic experience that digital platforms allow. When Helbig looks right into the camera from the comfort of her own home, her audience connects with her on a personal level. The addition of a studio audience would only sever that connection, not enhance it.

Just look at the top comment right now on Fallon’s official YouTube channel for Helbig’s appearance, and you begin to see the roots of a highly engaged audience that cares deeply about how their favorite YouTubers are portrayed when they appear on TV:

engagement youtube comments zefr

But, what’s likely even more surprising to Fallon is that some of these new social influencers are drawing more engaged audiences than Fallon himself. TV, the world’s greatest reach potential, is amazing for scale. But it lacks the interaction that makes social media so revolutionary. With influencers, reach isn’t what matters. It’s engagement.

Why engagement?

Everyone knows the old adage: if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Similarly, if a tweet is sent around the world and gets zero engagement, did it really exist? The promise of social media is connecting the world and allowing people from all walks of life to communicate with each other. User activity reveals in real time what’s resonating and what isn’t by how individuals interact and engage with content. The value of engagement cannot be understated, It is quite literally the data equivalent of millions of people telling brands and content owners exactly what they care about most.

ZEFR looked at the data, and it just may shock you to see just how engaged these new audiences are when compared to traditional celebrities.

Connor Franta vs. Jimmy Fallon

Engagement is what matters for influencers today. If you are creating content that is very personal and intimate, you would hope that your audience will respond to that openness by taking an action of some kind – liking, favoriting, commenting, etc. Consequently, the amount of engagement that new social influencers generate often dwarfs what you’d expect from “traditional celebrities,” who are better known for their potential to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Compare someone like Connor Franta to Jimmy Fallon.

ZEFR YouTube data - Fallon v Franta

Yes, Connor Franta has a more engaged fanbase on social media than the most popular talk show host in the United States. Not only is Franta’s engagement rate higher that Fallon’s – Franta also manages to drive more total engagements despite having of reach of 25 million fewer people. If Fallon was surprised by Helbig’s approach, wait until he hears about these numbers.

Grace Helbig vs. Kelly Ripa

Need more evidence? Compare Grace Helbig to someone like Kelly Ripa:

zefr youtube data helbig vs ripa

See that? Helbig – supposedly the more unknown quantity – already has more online engagement and reach than Ripa, a traditional star who’s been on TV for more than 20 years dating back to her soap opera career. Yet, with the younger generation getting raised online, should we really be that surprised?

Meanwhile, coming back to Helbig’s Fallon appearance, she is presumably hoping to get a boost for her new TV show. And, while she’d probably love some of his ratings-driving expertise to expand her reach, he might want tips from her on how to actually engage digital fans – Helbig’s engagement rate is 7.55%, more than double Fallon’s rate.

Digital vs. Digital: Jenna Marbles and Prank vs. Prank

For good measure, ZEFR also dived into a “digital vs. digital” comparison, since being “digital” doesn’t automatically mean that you’re flying high in the world of online engagement. To help show the nuance going on in this new online world when it comes to knowing who to trust, compare YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles with the comedic stylings of digital creators Prank vs. Prank.

As we saw in last month’s Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, It’s not just the number of punches thrown – it’s about the number of punches landed.

zefr youtube data jenna marbles vs prank prank

Again, as illustrated above, just because a digital star like Jenna Marbles can boast about widespread reach, Prank vs. Prank reveals just how crucial it is to measure actual engagement once a campaign gets underway. Reach will only tell you so much. Engagement is where the real connections take place. And, this holds true across celebrities, across platforms, new and old alike.

Conclusion

Its important to avoid any oversimplifications here. As traditional celebrities continue to better adopt and integrate new platforms as part of their image and reach, we should expect engagement rates to rise. Ultimately, brands can’t reduce this new age of influencers to a one-size-fits-all strategy. You need to track the rise and fall of different personalities across each platforms to make sure you end up working with the right people.

And, the amazing part of all of this is that these influencers are willing to work with brands in creative ways. Combine that creativity with passionate audiences and the result is a level of authenticity and accreditation that only engagement metrics can truly speak to.

Get future posts delivered to your inbox




devin supertramp zefr interview
Influencers

Recently, ZEFR Insights took a deep dive into the high flying world of YouTube superstar Devin Graham, better known as Devin Supertramp. With so many quality brand deals under his belt, we decided it was necessary to speak to the man himself, to find out exactly how he has managed to maintain authenticity with his fans, while amassing an enviable roster of integrations.

Graham recently sat down with ZEFR to speak about his process, offer advice for both brands and creators, and how he hopes to continually inspire his ever-growing fan base. Pay attention: His answers are practically a manual for how brands should work with creators in the native ad space and an invaluable insight into the mindset of creators on YouTube.

 

ZEFR Insights: Your ability to capture high energy, cinematic, family-friendly moments on film is a unique combination that has led some to call your work “ready-made for sponsorship.” Was your style and vision always clear to you when you first launched your channel? What kind of audience were you hoping to build from day one?

Devin Graham: The style and vision has grown and evolved as I have grown and evolved as a filmmaker and as our team has grown. Starting off, I just knew that I had a passion for filmmaking and wanted to do what I loved for a career. After stumbling into the YouTube scene and creating a few viral videos, I began to see the power of advertising on YouTube as people began to contact me about promoting their products in my videos. Then, I just continued to build my following and my voice voice all along the way and stayed true to my standards and morals. Now, when brands come to me, I let them know that we are a family-friendly channel and we’ll only promote wholesome, positive products. I have always had a vision for what I’m doing, but it has definitely grown and evolved over time as new opportunities present themselves.

ZEFR: When brands first approached you, what was your reaction? Did you have any concerns or hesitations? And, what led you to say yes to that first brand deal?

DG: The first brand that approached me was for the Flip camera, and I was excited at the prospect of getting paid to live my passion. I worked closely with Vooray, a start-up clothing company owned by friends, early on as well. I helped them get off the ground to run their business and they sponsored my videos to help me get off the ground.

There is always the concern of your audience being upset with product placement, but I realized that if I established early on that I work with brands that it wouldn’t be nearly as big an issue once my audience got bigger. To me, the right move early on was growth and progression, and working with brands helped me do both.

ZEFR: For brands that have never worked with a creator before, what message would you hope to get across to them upfront? What have you learned about managing expectations and establishing trust?

DG: The message we would hope to get across is that working with brands is a win-win for both us as a production company and for them as a sponsor. We get to fund our awesome ideas and continue doing what we love, and they get the amazing worldwide exposure to the right demographic. We have seen tremendous power in viral marketing and have been able to help a lot of businesses get off the ground through our worldwide YouTube audience. We love seeing others succeed and make a career out of doing what they love and through our videos we have been able to promote so many businesses, people, and talents to make that possible.

As for setting expectations, they can vary depending on the projects and brands that we are working with. But, I’ve learned that you need to voice everything up front from both ends so that everyone is on the same page before the deal even begins. Trust is established through execution. If both parties can execute on their expectations, trust will be gained.

ZEFR: While shooting your Assassin’s Creed Unity video for Ubisoft, you sprinted across rain-soaked rooftops in Paris carrying a 25-pound camera. In the behind-the scenes footage you admit that you are afraid of heights. We have to ask: Why build a career filming crazy, high-flying stunts? What is your relationship to fear?

DG: Taking on a career in filmmaking has pushed me to do things I would have never done otherwise in my life. Through our videos, we hope to inspire people to live life to the fullest. And so, how can I inspire people to do that if I’m not doing it myself? How can I tell people to go out and live a life full of faith and love and passion if I’m not willing to do it myself? Facing my fear of heights has pushed me to be involved in so much, such as filming crazy stunts, sometimes doing the stunts, even skydiving! All these things I would have never even considered if it weren’t for me wanting to push myself and live by my own motto of living life to the fullest rather than living by fear. And that concept of overcoming my fear of heights leaks over into every other aspect of my life. If I fear the unknown, I can never grow as a filmmaker and as a human being. It is that principle of living by faith, rather than fear, that helps me reach my highest potential.

ZEFR: What are some red flags that creators should watch out for when entering their first brand deals? Any regrets or things you would have done differently?

DG: Check all the fine print. Make sure everything is out on the table so there are no surprises. When a brand throws in a surprise in the middle of the deal because they pull it up in the fine print of a document, it makes a good shoot go sour real fast and relationships are hurt. Brands: Be honest, be upfront, discuss all expectations, and don’t hide something under-the-table to “trick” a creator into working with you. Creators: Once [the brand has] put everything on the table, live up to your word by coming through on their expectations. By doing those two things, a great relationship will be born.

ZEFR: What connection or impact can you deliver with your branded videos that traditional TV advertising can’t? How has YouTube evolved over the years, and what sort of challenges, as well as potential opportunities, do you see for the space going forward?

DG: The demographics that most advertisers want to hit all live online. They all live in the social media world. TV is not in that realm. Therefore, for the age groups that most brands want, they aren’t going to get them through TV. YouTube is only growing as well. In my opinion, the internet is the future of advertising because that is where everyone in the new generation is spending their time. And no, TV can’t touch that because they are TV. They are not on the internet. YouTube is evolving its way of making it a space for creators to make a living by incentivizing creators to continue releasing regular content. However, the market is becoming saturated and it is harder than ever to enter into the online creator space. I was lucky enough to get in early, so I am well established now, but for many new creators, it is much more difficult to find a niche that hasn’t already been taken and saturated. I see the space continuing to grow and evolve and I am excited for what the future brings.

“The demographics that most advertisers want to hit all live online. They all live in the social media world. TV is not in that realm. Therefore, for the age groups that most brands want, they aren’t going to get them through TV.”

ZEFR: It’s clear that maintaining a close, authentic relationship with your audience is paramount to your success. Across YouTube and other social platforms, how do you bring your audience into your process? What do you hope viewers walk away with after they watch one of your videos?

DG: People connect with people. YouTube is about personalities, so I try hard to share my life with people, let them know who I am, let them feel like a part of my life, bring them into the adventures I’m living, and make them feel like they are a part of the adventures themselves. Everything from the filming to the editing is all with the mindset of making the viewer feel like they are there. The way we film is very different than most as we try to connect with people by working with them like real human beings and capturing their authentic reactions rather than trying to direct them like actors. We hope that each viewer walks away thinking, “Wow!, Life is beautiful. There is so much good in life, in the world. So much to live for. So much to see and do. So many positive happy people in the world. I want to be positive and happy. I’m going to live a fuller life and not only be a part of all the good out there, but create and share the goodness in me with everyone else in the world.” Our goal ultimately is to inspire others to live life to the fullest and to see the good in life. There is enough negativity about how bad the world is. We are doing our little part to help the world focus on the good.

Get future posts delivered to your inbox