Emma Chamberlain is a YouTuber, entrepreneur, stylist, podcaster and Internet personality. She is 19 years old and has 1.3 billion views on her YouTube channel since uploading her first video in June 2017.
Her weekly YouTube uploads are mix of 10–15 minute daily vlogs, fast food taste testing, travel vlogs, thrift shopping hauls and a whole bunch of things in between. In the words of George Costanza, “nothing happens on the show. You see, it’s just like life. You know, you eat, you go shopping, you read.. You eat, you read, You go shopping”.
Emma came from a humble upbringing, no mega rich parents or famous connections. She started Vlogging at the age of 16 and became an icon for Gen Z, especially women and girls aspiring to live her lifestyle. Throughout the years, Emma has gradually upgraded houses (as seen in her Vlogs), now living alone in an open-plan $3.9 million WeHo house in Los Angeles.
Despite a quick rise to fame and wealth, Emma has remained relatable. She chills and does day-to-day activities, like everyone else. She’s funny and obsessed with coffee (more on that later). Occasionally she’ll feature her best friend Olivia or her parents but it remains solely on Emma and her life.
Emma has struck a chord with a huge fanbase of Gen Z women and girls around the world. They can relate to Emma but also want to be her. They want her personality, her house, her fashion sense, her ‘chill quirkiness’ and her fame. The value exchange is escapism and aspiration. Emma is your cool best friend who drives you around LA, drinks coffee and eats avocado toast all day. Of course Emma doesn’t have to ‘work a day job’ so it’s the ultimate lifestyle, right?
As someone watching from the outside in I see Emma as a creative. She plays a character that is herself, which in Vlog form is similar to staring at a TV from 10cm away —all you see is the final edited product with fast cuts and sound effects packaged into a neat 10min video. But taking a step back, Emma has created a seamless and multi-channel world for her fans to enter into. A place to escape. A community!
Emma is doing what every musician should be doing by using all facets of the internet to express her personality, utilising different mediums to show a different side to herself. With the anchor point being her Youtube Vlogs, Emma’s 10M subscribers are diverse and disperse themselves outwardly to their social media of choice. As an entrepreneur and creative, Emma’s brand is her livelihood. She depends on her own success to grow her wealth and lifestyle. She is the driving force and understands that the more presence she has online, the bigger her impact will become.
So how is she making money?
- Ad revenue from her videos
- Brand sponsorships in videos
- Merchandise/Clothing line
- Her own coffee company called Chamberlain Coffee
What platforms is she on?
- Youtube — 9.85M
- Instagram — 12.1M
- TikTok — 9.5M
- Snapchat — 4.9M
- Pinterest — 406K (10M+ Monthly views)
- Spotify — 342K
Total = 37.05M total fans
The Emma Chamberlain Fan Funnel
Emma’s social media funnel draws new fans into her world across 6 channels, each providing a nuanced content style true to her brand. From there, fans gradually discover Emma across the other channels, solidifying their loyalty and frequency to her brand.
With such a committed and entrenched fan base, Emma (and her team) has a huge opportunity to market her merchandise and Chamberlain Coffee to the warm audience who are more likely to buy her products. This high intent audience can be retargeted using the Advertising tools available on each platform.
Of course, a proportion of fans will never move from the ‘Fan Phase’ into the ‘Buy Phase’, instead providing Emma other forms of ‘currency’ such as algorithmic favourability, followers or Youtube ad revenue.
Case Study of a Fan
What Emma does so effectively is treat each platform as unique, carving out different content types and tone of voice to suit users on each platform.
For example — An 18 year-old fan named Stacy from Boston, who uses TikTok and Youtube as her core platforms will discover specific content that is tailored to each platform. Emma connects in a meaningful way with Stacy, who becomes a lifelong fan and then follows Emma on Instagram 2 months later. From there, Emma’s team can market new merch and Chamberlain Coffee items to Stacy who will happily purchase, once or multiple times.
Chamberlain Coffee — Facebook and Instagram ads — see them all here* (*business ads publicly available for all Facebook pages)
Emma’s Merch — Facebook and Instagram ads — see them all here* (*business ads publicly available for all Facebook pages)
What can musicians learn from all this?
Emma’s success demonstrates how much her fans love her personality. Her content is a form of escapism and belonging. In exchange, Emma is candid with her audience and provides them with a constant stream of high quality video content.
Musicians provide a similar proposition to their fans. Instead of Vlogs, they release music (and music videos). Music is escapism and provides a sense of belonging for listeners. Being a successful musician requires vulnerability in both happiness and sadness.
Whilst music itself can drive an artist’s career purely through listening, there are huge opportunities to grow the pie of their online presence. Directly copying Emma’s strategy doesn’t work for all artists, but the strategy of being omni-present and consistently present to new and old fans is key to establishing a bigger online footprint.
Creating as many opportunities as possible for discovery is vital in growing a fanbase over time, in turn increase all facets of an artist’s income.
Content > Fan > Buy — Funnel for Artists*
(*Not including music itself/music videos/visualisers/lyric videos)
Some of the fastest growing artists are able to capitalise on the success of their music by developing a robust content schedule. Treating your brand like a business, allows opportunities to be maximised and long term success far more likely.
I’ll leave you with 10 artists who are using content and a multi-channel strategy to their advantage: