youtube starsOrdinary people sharing their lives and opinions on YouTube is a growing phenomenon and one the media industry is starting to pay serious attention to.

With very little professional production support many YouTube stars command in excess of 250 000 views per post, which considering the investment they have made in the product, is astounding.

What’s really interesting however is not the popularity of these stars, but the amount of genuine influence they have with their audiences.

Adults find YouTube stars more influential than traditional celebrities seemingly for the same reason younger audiences do: They seem more like real people and therefore are considered more trustworthy. “The celebrities that have influence today amongst audiences are those that are very much right next to them and have actually been created by the audience. And the appeal of YouTube stars is that the audiences feel that they own them, that they have an equity stake in them, that they actually made them,” Mr. Sehdev said.

“What we’re seeing here is it’s not about how popular a celebrity is. It’s the difference between popularity and influence,” he continued. “The key point here is that popularity doesn’t move the needle.”

via AdAge

Manufactured, high production media content obviously still has a place and a role to play, but pound-for-pound the ROI of Youtube stars is exciting.

Here are three that we would recommend you check out and try on for size:

Fun for Louis – a peace-loving global adventurer with nearly 1.5 million subscribers, Louis is a happy dude who appears to live an idilic life.

Casey Neistat – a New York-based film maker with a daily vlog detailing his life as an entrepreneur and family guy. He recently launched his own social video platform called Beme.

Mr Ben Brown – adding a bit of local flavour to the mix and completing the triangle of adventure overload is Mr Ben Brown who lives in Cape Town and is a professional traveler, which just sounds wrong. But there’s nothing like a bit of escapism to give you some inspiration.

Reality on steroids, that what we call it. And the future of self-made Youtube stars looks very good.