YouTube currently has 8.6 million unique monthly views and a 70% YoY growth of watch-time, most of which is taking place on mobile phones. If you want to reach and engage with your customers at scale, YouTube is the place to do it.
In online marketing terms, YouTube is referred to as a ‘lean-in’ environment, which means that users have chosen to engage with your content and are therefore more likely to absorb your brand messaging.
In recent years, South Africa has built up its own bevy of YouTube celebrities, and there are plenty of new faces on the rise. Here’s a summary of 2016’s YouTube All Stars, and a pick of 3 innovative entertainers that are on the rise to massive YouTube fame.
22-year-old Caspar Lee started his self-titled YouTube channel in 2011. Today he is South Africa’s most popular YouTube star with just under 7 million subscribers and a whopping 679 935 993 views. His quirky, upbeat teen videos include cameo performances from celebrities such as Seth Rogan and Cara Delevigne. In his most recent video, Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick give him singing lessons – a skit that has earned him almost 3 million views. In 2013, Yahoo News named him one of the world’s 12 Web-savvy entrepreneurs to watch, and they weren’t wrong. This blonde-haired, blue-eyed vlogger, actor and YouTube star continues to steal the hearts of teenagers the world over.
Die Antwoord is number 2 on the list, with 1,125,487 subscribers. Since they joined YouTube in January 2012, this Zef duo comprised of Ninja and his ‘platonic soulmate’ Yolandi Visser has inspired both great adoration and massive controversy worldwide. Their most recent video, Banana Brain, in which Yolandi drugs her parents and sneaks out for a depraved night with Ninja, has over 17 million views since it was uploaded 3 months ago.
Die Antwoord was formed in 2008. Today, Ninja and Yolandi move between the US and South Africa, with an ever-increasing counter-culture following and a growing performance art repertoire. Love them or hate them, their fan base is here to stay and their videos spark conversation and mass engagement across platforms and cultures.
In 2001, Cobus Potgieter attended an outreach function at his local church in Humansdorp. During the finale, a drummer from one of the bands encouraged the audience to play around on his drum set. Young Cobus took a shot and was transformed forever. By 2002 he had saved enough money to buy his own drum set, and started teaching himself how to play by listening to CD’s of his favourite bands. In 2006, he uploaded his first cover video and by 2009 had become a renowned YouTube musical prodigy. With over 650 000 subscribers and 203,155,992 views, Cobus Potgieter is the third most popular South African YouTube star.
Trevor Noah, South Africa’s comedic sweetheart, ranks in at number 4. Born to a Swiss father and a Xhosa mother, Noah’s unique brand of comedy appeals to a wide range of audiences. Although he has been the face of South African comedy for many years, his recent position as the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central has made him a household name both locally and on American shores. His channel is a smorgasboard of stand-up comedy sketches, Fantasy Kidnap series and excerpts from the You Laugh But Its True documentary. With over 370 000 subscribers and 43 726 828 views, Trevor is the fifth most popular South African YouTube celebrity.
Suzelle is hugely popular among her South African and expat audience, despite a more limited global reach. Played by local actress Julia Anastasopoulos, Suzelle’s inventive and quirky DIY channel has quickly become a South African favourite. Her videos include demonstrations that range brilliantly from ‘How to Make a Braai Pie’ through to ‘How to Make Leopard Print Bread’. Her channel was started in 2014, and has 111,012 subscribers and over 20 million views.
Stars on the rise
Two years ago, Moshe Ndiki accidentally deposited his rent money into the wrong bank account, leaving him with nothing but R30. He spent it on a bottle of Autumn Harvest and uploaded a tipsy rant to YouTube titled #Woozementation. Within a few hours, the video had gone viral and Moshe had become an overnight star. But the comedian and entertainer didn’t stop there: He has developed a base of 95.k subscribers and just under 1,5 million views, as well as a popular vlog titled No Love Back. We expect to see more from this star as his following continues to grow.
The absolute definition of beauty and grace, Cynthia Gwebu runs a beauty and lifestyle channel which boasts 7 253 subscribers. Young, eloquent and passionate about fashion and make-up, this glamorous Cape Town local provides tips and tutorials on make-up as well as amusing anecdotes and general life advice. Her personal brand continues to establish itself at the forefront of make-up and beauty for young South African women, and we can’t wait to see her empire expand into 2017.
Better known as Pharoahfi, this diva of South African Social Media is a talented singer, voice over artist, actress and all-round queen of entertainment. At just 25 years old, Farieda’s YouTube channel has 2683 subscribers and almost 2 million views. We’re excited to see what 2017 brings for this dynamic comedian and entrepreneur.