Reshared from www.businessinsider.com, Summary List PlacementIn late 2019, YouTuber Elliot Choy, took a trip to Harvard University and filmed himself around campus quizzing the college’s students as part of a competition. If a student answered all five questions of his correctly, they’d win a new iPhone 11.
The deciding factor came down to one question: “Which music video on YouTube has the most views?” (Answer: Luis Fonsi – Despacito ft. Daddy Yankee; 7.2 billion views.)
At the time of filming, Choy said he had just $500 in his bank account, after spending $2,500 on the two phones and a round trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts from Nashville, Tennessee.
“There’s the narrative of the broke college student — and that was totally me,” Choy told Insider.
Within the first week of the “Giving Harvard Students an iPhone 11 If They Can Answer THIS Question” video going live, Choy had made a just over $32,000 from YouTube’s AdSense program, where the platform shares ad revenue with creators. In total, the video has notched up more than 23 million views and earned Choy more than $90,000 in AdSense revenue since then. (Insider verified the earnings of the study influencers’ earnings mentioned in this piece by viewing screenshots of their AdSense dashboards.)
Choy, 22, said the success of his YouTube channel, where he posts videos about productivity and college life, has enabled him to pay for his tuition and fund his way through college at Vanderbilt University, where he is a business senior. The channel now has more than 880,000 subscribers. Choy has worked with several brands, including the mobile network Verizon, and he has launched his own clothing line.
Choy now plans to take his YouTube work full-time after graduation.
“It’s really inspiring to know that one video could change everything for you,” he said.
Choy is one of a growing tribe of “study influencers” — creators still attending school or college who post content on social media ranging from productivity hacks, to exam advice, and campus tours. A number of these hyper-productive, often high-achieving student creators have found success on “StudyTube” — shorthand for the YouTube version of the trend — and are generating notable ad revenue and forging marketing deals with major brands and colleges.
Advertiser interest in study influencers increased during the pandemic
Hester Bates, brand and communications director at marketing agency Influencer, said her company had seen “almost 100% growth” in the number of campaigns it ran for education-focused brands in 2020. The trend is continuing into 2021. Bates said Influencer has delivered almost as many education focused campaigns in the first three months of this year, as in the first nine months of 2020.
Study content has long existed on platforms like YouTube, but the genre appears to have thrived during the coronavirus pandemic, with students learning from home away from their usual support networks. Take “The StudyTube Project,” which launched in March 2020, with UK study influencers coming together to provide tangible help to students whose education was disrupted. The project’s videos have covered everything from the history of anthropology to advice on looking after your mental health.
Jasmine Shao, an 18-year-old YouTube whose channel largely revolves around guiding viewers on how to maximize their productivity, partnered with several brands in 2020. A video she posted last year in partnership with Squarespace, for example, looked at current trends on “StudyTube’ as Shao assessed whether iPad Pros and pricey Kanken backpacks were study essentials. Shao has also worked with brands including Audible and McDonald’s, where she has helped draw attention to its Education Workshops scheme.
Shao said she never considered she could make an income from her YouTube content, or even gain a following to the extent she has. Shao, whose channel currently has around 715,000 subscribers, generated around $40,000 through AdSense last year. (Insider verified the figure by viewing a screenshot of her AdSense dashboard.) She said she has used the money partly to help cover her living expenses while she studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Study influencers find success largely because of their relatability factor, said Ben Ricciardi, founder of influencer marketing agency Times10.
“Young people best relate to their peers. They trust other young people that they believe share their experience and values,” he said. “And they actually want to be influenced by influencers.”
Hannah Ashton, 21, runs her study and productivity YouTube account alongside majoring in entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville. She started the account in 2010, long before she became a college student, posting stop-motion doll videos when she was just 10 years old.
“In high school I found the niche that really helps me thrive, and that’s in productivity,’ she says, “People wanted to know my routines, how I managed my time, and in high school how I was able to have multiple extracurriculars and do internships while running my YouTube and making money from it.”
Popular videos on her account, which now has 177,000 subscribers, have included “Must have apps and websites for students” and “How I prepare for the semester.” Ashton’s overall AdSense revenue for 2020 came in at just over $8,000.
Through posting videos within the study niche, Ashton said she was able to launch her first range of study planners in June 2019, investing $5,000 from her YouTube earnings into the business. She also has a range of free downloadable guides on her website including a monthly budget Excel sheet and college grade and GPA calculators.
Ashton’s long-running and varied career as a YouTube creator also offers a playbook for how study influencers can maintain their popularity after they graduate. Tim Xuereb, talent coordinator at British influencer agency Sixteenth, said the audiences loyal to these creators are also graduating and moving forward to the next stage of their lives.
“It is a similar experience to most of their audience and I believe we’ll see a shift from more formalized education to the broader topic of education and learning through life,” said Xuereb, whose agency manages British study influencers like Exeter University student Ruby Granger, and Durham and Oxford University graduates Jack Edwards and Vee Kativhu.
To be sure, some study influencers’ YouTube fame could be short-lived, said Times10’s Riccardi. But, he added, “For those willing to learn how to master the complexities of social media, a real opportunity exists to make this activity, in some form, a part of their professional future.”Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world’s most expensive liquid Source: Read More