- Insider surveyed more than 1,000 people three times in 2021 to learn more about influencers.
- The data revealed the most adored, vilified and famous internet stars and how their popularity has changed over time.
- Insider has found that the more famous a designer is, the more likely people are to dislike them.
The internet has changed the nature of fame and fame. Influencers have found rapid success and adoration in their web niches – much without ever being noticed by the general population – and the tides of popularity can die out as quickly as they come.
Insider surveyed 1,105 people to find out their knowledge and opinions on 99 internet influencers in the first three quarters of 2021.
Changes and trends help reveal the new inner workings of online fame.
How being canceled can change your career
Data plotted in Insider’s Influencer Index shows that the more famous a creator is, the more likely people are to find the influencer “unfavorable”.
This notion is consistent with an earlier conclusion from Insider: “being canceled” can ultimately be incredibly beneficial to creators, often increasing their overall recognition and prolonging their careers.
David Dobrik, a Slovak YouTuber and frontman of “The Vlog Squad”, has gained the most notoriety in Insider’s three polls. The Tesla gift and vlogging star rose a total of 5 percentage points between the start of the year and the third quarter of 2021, with nearly one in five survey respondents telling Insider they knew it.
Matching the trend found in the Influencer Index, as Dobrik’s recognizability increased, he also became more obnoxious to many people surveyed by Insider. a Insider investigation uncovered in March rape allegations against a former member of Dobrik’s Vlog Squad, Dominykas Zeglaitis. A month later, Jeff Wittek, a member of the group, revealed that he had broken his skull performing a stunt on a crane operated by Dobrik.
The allegations against his teammate and the shooting accident apparently precipitated a drop in Dobrik’s “favorability” score by 35 percentage points while increasing his “disadvantage” score by 11 percentage points throughout 2021.
Logan and Jake Paul were also among the top five influencers in the survey. In addition to creating YouTube videos and podcasts, each of the brothers has remained in the public spotlight by moonlighting – and by most accounts, succeeding – as professional boxers.
Both also kept their names in the press via major scandals during their careers – Jake Paul was charged with criminal trespassing and illegal assembly after a riot at a Scottsdale, Arizona mall. Logan Paul, perhaps best known for a scandal involving his video in Japan’s “suicide forest,” began rebuilding his reputation by becoming a Pokémon card collector with the most expensive card in the world.
There are a few outliers in the data, however, such as children’s TV star JoJo Siwa and podcasting giant Joe Rogan, who was the best-known person named in the survey. The two creators are the only two people in the Insider survey known by more than 15% of respondents who have a positive “net favorability” score, which shows how well regarded an influencer is.
Some influencers are more popular than others
Insider has also learned from their polls how favorable each influencer is to a general audience.
Piper Rockelle, a 14-year-old YouTuber known for her challenge videos involving friends, family and her boyfriend, had by far the biggest increase in “favorability” of any other influencer surveyed by Insider. She recently made headlines in a feud with singer Pink, due to the daring vignettes on the underage star’s videos.
Rockelle’s favorability jumped 15 percentage points in 2021 – no other influencer has increased their favorability by more than 5 percentage points.
Doctor Mike, YouTuber and Doctor with nearly 7.8 million subscribers, consistently ranked as the most favorable creator on the platform, garnering around 60% favor in the three quarters of 2021. Doctor uses his platform to post humorous medicine-related videos that often draw her from her full-time family medicine job.
Online drama can have real consequences
Conversely, some influencers have become less favorable to audiences throughout 2021.
Onision, a YouTuber who first rose to fame in the first wave of content creators on the platform for wacky and eclectic skits, tied with beauty guru James Charles for the biggest push in in terms of the disadvantage of all the influencers surveyed.
Discovery + released a four-part documentary on Onision in early 2021 detailing his fall from grace after a former fan accused him of grooming himself. Unlike some creators whose unfavorable character fluctuated over the year, Onision systematically became less favorable to the American public. He was the most unfavorable influencer of all in the Insider survey, with 77% of respondents saying they didn’t like him.
Makeup expert James Charles’s disadvantage has increased from winter to summer at the same rate as Onision, but Charles is hated by 20% fewer people. Grooming allegations were made against Charles in early 2021 after several boys said Charles sexted them when they were under 18. The YouTuber said he was deceived about the ages of some boys at the time. Charles’ net disadvantage stands at 57% in 2021.
Walt Hickey contributed reporting.
SurveyMonkey Audience surveys based on a national sample balanced by census data on age and gender. Respondents are encouraged to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital surveys tend to favor people with internet access. SurveyMonkey Audience does not attempt to weight its sample based on race or income. The survey data collected 1,105 respondents between August 16 and 17, 2021 with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.