British Invasion: Influencers and the Power of Accents on YouTube


It’s difficult for some people to believe (especially Americans) that 80 percent of the views on YouTube come from outside the United States. Because YouTube is an international platform, and British YouTubers are seemingly everywhere, it is possible, and downright easy, for Americans to become Anglophiles.

American viewers are watching international content and international viewers are watching American content. It is important for brands to understand that in the online sphere, especially from the perspective of the audience, borders are disappearing. Influence and culture are no longer so tightly tethered to geographical locations.

The Gleam Team

American YouTuber Tyler Oakley refers to one British social circle as “The Brits.” This group includes the members of StyleHaul’s all-male talk show, The Crew with Alfie Deyes, Jim Chapman, Marcus Butler and Caspar Lee. (Lee is actually a British-born South African YouTuber.) Also included in “The Brits” are beauty gurus, Tanya Burr, Zoe Sugg, and Louise Glitter. After signing with Gleam Digital (an agency devoted to managing British social-media stars), many of “The Brits” have started to land lucrative brand partnerships.


Jack and Finn Harries have grown so popular that their presence at VidCon caused security issues. While the presence of some YouTube personalities incited small stampedes, these two attractive British twins are far and away the heartthrob superstars for swooning tweens and teens. This pair of young men have harnessed the YouTube equivalent of Beatlemania, replete with hoards of screaming fangirls. However, not content with mere crush-worthy fame, they also admirably do a lot of philanthropic work via their channel.

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Each of the British YouTubers mentioned has a higher concentration of average views per video in the past 30 days than even the wildly popular Doctor Who television series. For example, Doctor Who has just over 300 uploads in the past 30 days, while YouTube talent draws more viewers with only 30 to 90 uploads. Specifically, Jack and Finn far outperformed Doctor Who on YouTube by garnering over 5 million views in the past 30 days alone (including both videos featuring them and videos about them). Also in the past 30 days, Tanya Burr is trailing Doctor Who, but only by a slight margin, with 4.5 million views to Doctor Who’s 4.9. In the same time period, Zoe and her brother Joe drew 3.1 and 3.9 million views respectively.

Advertise, Integrate, Ideate

For Brands working in the YouTube ecosystem, thinking beyond “trends” and what is typically deemed “viral,” is paramount to understanding what advertising spends or strategies will be most effective. Trends exist around communities of up-and-coming YouTubers as much, if not more than, individual videos that get replicated and remade. Brands need to focus their energy on identifying these communities, as new personalities gain traction on the platform and their audience grows.

It isn’t just about working with the PewDiePies and Michelle Phans of the world. It is about working and growing with communities, like “The Brits,” or BookTubers, or Sneakerheads, or foodies. The list goes on and on. It is imperative to reach audiences on the ground floor and grow along with them. When brands work to support talent over the long term, they become a more integral part of their communities. It fosters authenticity, which should be the ultimate aim of any brand strategy. If you simply advertise without integrating and ideating alongside of the communities that are emerging, YouTube will not be kind to your content strategy.

To learn more about what drives fan communities download our e-book Anatomy of a Fan.

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