June 27

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Nearly Two-Thirds Of Gen Z Considers Themselves Content Creators

Social Media, Stats, YouTube

Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z'ers consider themselves video content creators. The remarkable number comes from a new study from YouTube in partnership with SmithGeiger. It appears as part of YouTube's annual trends report, which identifies different trends on the platform and online culture as a whole. 

While 65 percent of Gen Z responders self identified as video content creators, an impressive 40 percent of respondents overall considered themselves content creators. 

How We Went From Passive Audience To Active Content Creators

Gen Z is generally currently defined as people born between 1997 and 2013, but for the sake of the YouTube study include only those aged 14 to 24. According to a Pew Research Poll, YouTube dominates the video content consumption world, with nearly 90 percent of teenagers saying they use the platform. The next three most popular platforms are TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, which are all relatively close in popularity, with 63 percent, 60 percent, and 59 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 using them, respectively. 

YouTube paints a picture of Gen Z as a generation of fans who were inspired by their favorite creators to get in on the fun. The platform attributes things like reaction videos, commentaries, and "clipping" features in video platforms to the rise in number of people who are going from passive consumers to active creators. 

Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s global director of Culture & Trends, credits Gen Z viewers with "breaking the fourth wall" to become part of the story. In a statement to The Washington Post, Alloca says, “It’s exciting to witness how Gen Z is evolving fandom. They’re actively moving audience behavior from passive viewing to finding and adding their voices to a unique content's dialogue."

Accessibility Is Everything

While there's no denying that new ways to create have made a huge impact on the rise of people who identify as content creators, accessibility also plays a major role. The increase in technology means more people have access to higher quality filming devices (usually attached to their phones) as well as access to high speed Internet. 

With fewer barriers to entry, it's never been easier for younger fans to get inspired and turn into creators themselves. Coupled with platforms that prioritize algorithmic discoverability and make it possible for anybody to get tons of exposure without a following, it's not hard to see why young people in particular get hooked on the process of content creation. 

In a 2022 Stanford study, the average child received their first phone at 11.6 years old. That's a huge contrast from 20 years ago, when only 45 percent of teenagers period had a cell phone. Now 95 percent of American teens report having access to a cell phone. 

The near ubiquitous access to high-quality technology and free publishing platforms certainly play a huge role in the number of new content creators. While the way people create will always change, the dominance of short-form vertical video also allows people to create without needing to spend an entire day working on a video. 

What It Means For The Future

With more and more people identifying as video content creators, it's only a matter of time before a portion of them see the economic opportunity in content. The aspiration is already there.

Nearly 30 percent of children aged 8 to 12 want to be YouTubers when they grow up. And nearly half of teenagers say they would like to be a social media influencer. While the definition of what it means to be an influencer or YouTuber seemingly changes every year, the reality is that these creators have an immense sway on the younger generation, and this type of content is only growing in popularity (even if we sometimes already seem saturated with it). 

Now that high school and college student athletes can make money from their name, image, and likeness, we've seen a whole new world of brand opportunities open up. brands are consistently on the hunt for product ambassadors and content creators who will help them be present in vertical video zeitgeist. 

There's a reason experts expect the creator economy to grow as much as six times in the next six years. 


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