YouTube has established itself as the premier video sharing platform on the Internet.
This has encouraged people to publish videos regularly, gathering a following in their niche. Some of these YouTubers have millions of subscribers and make a good living from their channels.
South Africa is not left out of this trend, and boasts popular YouTube stars with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
These YouTubers have made it online despite not being from Europe or the United States – showing that you can garner a global following from anywhere in the world thanks to the Internet.
To learn more about what it takes to make it big online, MyBroadband spoke to vlogger Caspar Lee, and Rob Vamplew of the Rob The Ranger channel about being popular South African YouTubers.
Hard work and hustle
Vamplew said that one of the key elements to his success was that he had consistently been uploading videos to his channel for over 10 years, building up a slow and steady subscriber base.
He added that due to the timeless content he produces, focusing on wildlife, his videos continue to gain views years after they were uploaded.
Caspar also highlighted how he developed his following over 7 years of content creation.
Key to his success, he said, was that he started at the right time and found the right audience for his videos.
Vamplew said it is possible to make a living as a South African YouTube star, but “not without some major hustle.”
While YouTube offers you money from the ads it runs on your channel, Vamplew said that only channels with incredibly high views can make a living from this income.
Fortunately, there are other ways to make money from YouTube.
“One very common way is having sponsored videos where a company pays to have a product advertised by you in your video,” said Vamplew.
Another means of monetisation is through crowdfunding platforms such as Patreon, which “allow viewers to donate to you in return for various rewards”.
Don’t do it for the money
Vamplew said that if you go into YouTube content creation for the money, however, you’re doing it wrong.
“My advice to others is this: Do what makes you happy, make what you enjoy making, expect nothing in return, put the ‘You’ back in YouTube and with time and consistency your channel will grow,” he said.
He added that a good idea is to seek out other YouTube creators so that you can grow together.
Caspar echoed this suggestion, and said that one of the keys to him achieving his success was his collaborations with other YouTubers.
He added that his biggest piece of advice to aspiring YouTube stars is to collaborate with other creators.
Obstacles in South Africa
Caspar believes that the most difficult part of being a YouTuber from South Africa is finding a South African audience.
“Data costs are very high compared to other markets, making it more difficult for locals to stream YouTube on mass,” he said.
Vamplew agreed, and said that “those producing content for a largely local audience are restricted by reach and those that are trying to compete internationally are restricted by speed”.
Vamplew added that the rise of Indian YouTubers, for example, is down to their cheap, accessible high-speed Internet access – something we “seemingly won’t have for another couple of years”.
South Africa’s most popular YouTubers
Caspar Lee is the most popular South African YouTuber, while Vamplew is the 9th most popular, according to SocialBlade.
Other famous YouTubers from South Africa include rap duo Die Antwoord, fitness buff Peter Carvell, and foodie Liezl Strydom.
Top YouTubers in South Africa
|6||Liezl Jayne Strydom||706,362|
|8||Pastor Alph Lukau||565,948|
|9||Rob the Ranger||493,930|
|10||Caitlin De Ville||440,922|