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The Rise Of Influencers: From YouTube ‘Celebrities’ To Mainstream Media

At one point in time, the majority of people pictured a teenager videotaping themselves talking in their childhood bedroom whenever the term “influencer marketing” was mentioned. But with influencer marketing on track to be a $10 billion industry by 2022, it’s safe to say that the term has transcended the traditional and expanded into an entirely different beast.


In addition to a wide variety of advertising industries leveraging an even wider variety of influencers, the one-time YouTube celebs are now making their way to the TV screen. Just ask Lilly Singh, who is NBC’s newest addition to the network’s late-night lineup. And the Canadian-born, female YouTube personality is not just shaking up the white-male-dominated landscape with her show, “A Little Late With Lilly Singh.” But she’s also motivating a younger audience of cord-cutters and cord-nevers to reconsider how they look at TV.

A look at Singh’s audience across social platforms quickly uncovers the weight she carries with the Millennial and Gen Z demographics, which most certainly played a role in NBC’s decisions to give the creator her own show. According to influencer marketing platform CreatorIQ, 54.4% of her audience is in the 18-24 age range, with another 20.8% in the < 18 demo. Additionally, Singh’s engagement rate is in what CreatorIQ considers the “Excellent Range”, proving the passion and dedication of her audience.

For brands, agencies and media networks, influencers present a valuable opportunity to forge relationships with the next generation of consumers. And while many advertisers eased into the space due to growing-pains like fraud and brand safety, the undeniable ability of influencers to attract eyeballs across platforms is why 65% of influencer marketing budgets will increase in 2019. It’s also why we can expect to see more like Singh transcending their native platforms, and inhabiting TV screens in the future.