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Vine came and went almost faster than we could truly appreciate the impact it had on the internet. Now TikTok is dominating the creator economy — becoming an irreplaceable influencer marketing tool. Yet there is still one powerhouse social media platform looming behind them both: YouTube. In recent years, why has there been a continuous migration of Viners and TikTokers to YouTube?
YouTube: The Heart of the Internet
YouTube could very well be considered the central hub of the internet space. Since 2005, the platform has transformed from a simple video website featuring cat videos and top charting music artists into an actual marketplace for content creators to reach billions of viewers.
YouTube has seen many waves of trends and changes throughout the years, particularly in its composition of top creators. The classic household names on YouTube include gamer PewDiePie, the comedy duo Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning, Jenna Marbles, and many more.
All of these big names have something in common: their careers on the internet as Creators all began with YouTube. Yet in recent years, the rise and formation of what is now known as the Creator Economy means many top accounts on YouTube aren’t just “orthodox” YouTubers. On the contrary, many YouTubers that are closely associated with the platform owe their rise to entirely different platforms: Vine and TikTok.
Now it is clear, creators who found success on Vine and TikTok are making their way to YouTube.
If you enjoyed learning about the cycle of Viners and TikTokers to YouTube, check out this article.
The Rise and Swift Fall of Vine
Vine was a video-sharing app that allowed users to create six-second videos. Officially launched in 2013, its popularity skyrocketed in the mid-2010s, and it soon became the most popular video-sharing app on the market, launching hundreds of creators into internet stardom.
Top Vine creators such as King Bach and Lele Pons created micro skits on the app for millions of fans. Many of the videos are now celebrated as integral moments in internet and pop culture. Drew Gooden, a previous Viner and now commentary YouTuber, is remembered for his ever quotable “Road Work Ahead” vine. Twitter, Vine’s parent company, eventually cut the cord on the app in 2017, as it was no longer making any money.
In the wake, displaced creators of Vine were left with enormous followings and nowhere to take them except YouTube.
Viners to YouTubers
Lele Pons is likely the most popular influencer that originated on Vine. Lele Pons rose to fame with her signature physical comedy skits and videos. She became known for tripping throughout all her vines and Instagram skits. When Vine died, Lele transitioned her comedy content into longer scripted skits on YouTube to match the algorithm.
Although Lele Pons had created and made YouTube videos prior to the end of Vine, when the app ended, she and many other Viners became full-time YouTubers. Since 2017, Lele has amassed over 17.7 million subscribers on YouTube with over 5 billion views on her channel. One of her most popular videos has over 200 million views. Lele Pons along with her fellow ex-Viners Rudy Mancuso and Juanpa Zurita would consistently collaborate to maximize their reach, and their method proved extremely successful.
Exploring beyond comedy skits, Lele Pons began dabbling into music, a rite of passage for many creators today. Lele Pons released her first single and music video entitled Celeso, honoring her Latin roots with her Spanish song. The music video, released in 2018, is her second most viewed video to date with over 300 million views. This video marked a defining moment in the creator to Influencer arc. A content creator started on Vine and transformed into an internet celebrity and music artist. However, the rise did not come without backlash. For a long time, Lele Pons was criticized for her lack of comedic depth and her obsession with numbers and followers.
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Like any influencer in the spotlight, Lele Pons became entangled in an internet feud. Fellow Viner turned YouTuber Amanda Cerny, with 2.7 million YouTube subscribers and over 20 million Instagram followers, is a prominent influencer in her own right. The drama began when Cerny accused Pons of deleting a video Cerny had posted onto her account. Pons eventually admitted to deleting Cerny’s content and even claimed it was because she was Latina. Cerny detailed the drama on her channel in 2016, receiving millions of views and creating the now iconic meme “I’m Latina!”
TikTok: A Platform Presaged by Vine
TikTok is the internet’s newest golden child and is likely the most popular platform on the internet in 2023. Household names include TikTok’s top creators such as Addison Rae and Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. However, Vine’s trajectory made creators in this age aware of the fickleness of the internet. To prepare, creators diversify their presence across platforms, YouTube being the most stable.
Charli D’Amelio is currently the most followed female creator on TikTok. In 2019, she posted her first YouTube video. Since then she has amassed nearly 10 million subscribers and over 300 million views. Her older sister Dixie followed suit and her stats aren’t far behind. Dixie has nearly 8 million subscribers on her channel featuring her popular parody talk show entitled “The Early Late Night Show with Dixie D’Amelio”.
Addison Rae, another prominent internet figure, has over 39 million Instagram followers and over 88 million TikTok followers. Similarly to the D’Amelio sisters, Rae started a YouTube channel of her own following her newfound influencer fame.
Want to read more about the economic power of everything from Viners and TikTokers to YouTube stars? Read this breakdown.
The Legitimacy of Old YouTube
Although their transferred followings provide a base audience, YouTube relevance comes from collabs. All three of these stars have collaborated with YouTube and beauty star James Charles.
That name is an internet buzzword — for better or for worse. One of Addison Rae’s most viewed videos is a mukbang collaboration that garnered over 10 million views. While eating burgers and fries, the two influencers discuss their rise to fame and future goals.
Charli and Dixie D’Amelio also featured in several collaborations including an episode of a makeup series on his channel, “Beauty Battle ft. Charli & Dixie D’Amelio” that amassed over 22 million views and bolstered their presence to an entirely new audience of YouTube viewers.
Through these kinds of collaborations with an established YouTuber, TikTokers who may have been hesitantly accepted by the YouTube space became privy to a new audience.
The migration of Viners and TikTokers to YouTube demonstrates the volatile nature of content creation on the internet. The permanence of YouTube as a platform is a rarity online, and creators are very much aware of this fact. Therefore, to ensure safety in their online presence and longevity in their careers, becoming YouTubers is simply a rite of passage.