The Voice of YouTube

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that YouTube is a video-sharing website growing in popularity since it was founded in 2005. But do you know just how influential this website is becoming?

In 2014, the University of Southern California conducted a survey among 13-18 year-olds in the United States. The teens were asked to rate the influence English-speaking YouTube stars and “traditional celebrities” had on them. The top 5 places on the list were taken by YouTube stars. In 2015, they conducted the survey again and this time, YouTubers took the top 6 places; they were ranked even higher than some of the most influential celebrities like Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. Yes, T-Swift.

There is another interesting phenomenon among YouTubers: they all seem to have the same voice. Julie Beck wrote an article about this in December for The Atlantic. The article describes how Julie began noticing certain commonalities between the way YouTubers enunciate and pronounce their words. She lists several examples of YouTubers that speak in this “bouncy” way, including Tyler Oakley, Franchesca Ramsey and Hannah Hart. Julie decided to investigate; she spoke with a linguist named Naomi Baron who not only agreed with her, but also actually explained the components of what she calls the “YouTube voice:”

  1. Overstressed vowels
  • Ehxample
  1. Sneaky extra vowels
  • This example is tericky
  1. Long vowels
  • Exaaample
  1. Long consonants
  • Exammmple
  1. Aspiration
  • Exampuhle

Additional techniques used by YouTubers include changing their speaking pace, moving their head and hands, raising and lowering their eyebrows, and even opening their mouth more.

This is not only an effective way to keep an audience, it’s also a popular way of speaking. Naomi Baron says, “Things become stylish. That happens with language all the time.” Hosts of TV Newscasts and satires, such as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, can also be found speaking this way.


YouTube did not invent this way of speaking, however. Another linguist named Mark Liberman calls it the “intellectual Used-Car Salesman voice” or the “talking to the audience voice.” The example he gave was of a carnival barker shouting to people passing by to attract them to their carnival booth. Since they had only their voice and their words, they had to make what they were saying as enticing as possible. This principle also applies to YouTubers and salespeople that perhaps have only themselves and a camera, or themselves and a car.

Speaking with this voice is common, whether a person is making a sales presentation, selling a car or talking to a camera. There’s a reason it’s becoming more and more popular: it works. Just ask some of these YouTube stars’ millions of viewers:

Name YouTube Channel # of Subscribers (approximate)
Felix Kjellberg PewDiePie 40 million
Ian Hecox & Anthony Padilla Smosh 22 million
Benny & Rafi Fine Fine Brothers 14 million
Olajide Olatunji KSI 11 million
Lindsay Stirling Lindsay Stirling 7 million

These young stars are also making a lot of money with their YouTube channels; Felix Kjellberg earned about $10 million last year, for example. So what could these videos possibly be about, you ask? Certainly, it is not only their voice and speech mannerisms which earn them this kind of fame, right? Well, Felix’s videos, for example, consist of his commentary on videogames he plays. To see what other famous YouTube celebrities are doing, you will just have to watch for yourself.

Social Media Video Marketing Is About to Explode!

There has been a lot of hype concerning using video social media platforms for use in the marketing world in 2014. Popular among these is Instagram video and Twitter owned ‘Vine’. Some brands have taken an early lead in establishing themselves as effective viral video marketers including the following brands:



And, of course, technology giant Samsung

The attraction to this form of marketing comes in part from how short the videos are. A company can create an enticing video that only takes 6 or 15 seconds (Vine or Instagram, respectively) to capture the attention of a potential customer. This short length makes it much more enticing than, say, the 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute. This is not to say you should stop making YouTube videos to engage with your customers, but the new form of short-video advertising is having a large impact on the up-and-coming tech-savvy generation and may be another channel to add to your list.



“Brand Vines are shared 4x more than other online videos, and 5 Vines are shared every second on Twitter.” — Heather Taylor, Vice-President, Ogilvy.

As Vine is a largely community based social network, you must carefully choose how you want to communicate. Posting regularly would be best to stay current and keep the “Re-Vines,” or shares, coming. There are large opportunities here for creative ideas and with short-video marketing being such a new segment, there are many video effects such as stop-motion and product-demo edits that are easy enough to do and can have a large effect on the audience. However, remember that in the end you want these clips to drive users to your business.

GE Soap Effect


Instagram introduced their video feature to compete with Vine and since its inception, “59% of the world’s top brands are now active on the app,” according to Simply Measured. The 15 second video clips can be a pro or a con depending on how you use it. Brands must remember to keep videos engaging because, as is the fickle nature of social network users in this day and age, if the content does not keep them interested, then they will simply skip over the rest of the video.

Instagram can be a great tool because the portfolio of your account can showcase your company’s atmosphere and ‘mantra’. Through the use of pictures as well as videos you can create a community that will be engaged with your content ideally driving them to choose you over your competition.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Instagram has reached 150 million users which is a huge database a brand can tap in to. And HubSpot reported that 40% of people respond to visual content versus written, and videos generate 3X the amount of inbound links than written posts.

And important factor for the automotive industry would be to make sure we are not coming off as a “car salesman” mentality. But using these platforms could prove to be a great way to eradicate that belief.


Social Media Video marketing is slated to explode in 2014. When interacting in Social Media, remember to showcase your community and/or office appeal as this can create more of a community than your actual product. You should not be using social media to sell your product, but rather to interact with your customers. Most importantly, be different —quirky,funny—or whatever angle you choose.

In a dealership’s case, some examples include doing 360-degree picture stitches to showcase new vehicles for a more informative angle or taking the funny route and showcasing a quirky aspect of your sales team. Best of luck and film away!