Celebrities have a lot of competition these days. The battle for share of voice goes farther than “TV vs Film”. Now, celebs are vying for audiences with online personalities who can easily outcompete them in terms of hours of content. To stay relevant, even big name celebrities need to take a cue from online influencers and get connected to their fanbase. Social media helps, but the best way to connect is through a custom mobile app.

Heavy Competition for Digital Attention

If the battle for relevance were an actual war, online personalities would have struck the first blow. A Variety survey found that YouTube hosts are much more widely-known among teenagers than A-list celebrities. Of the top ten most recognized names, 8 were YouTubers. The first Hollywood celeb to make the list was the late Paul Walker in sixth place, followed by Jennifer Lawrence.

How did YouTubers win over this demographic? According to the survey, it’s the personal relationship that appeals to young people. Teens find videos and posts from online personalities to be “intimate and authentic” because they haven’t been run past layers of PR staff. They feel connected in a way that’s hard to do through the big screen.

Social Media Limitations

Social media is one way to reach out to young people, but they have a lot coming at them online. Over 95 million pictures are shared on Instagram every day. Twitter reports an average of 6000 Tweets per second. It’s easy to be lost in the crowd.

Social media platforms aren’t helping, either. Organic reach - the number of people who see your content without paid promotion - has been shrinking over the last few years. Instead of all posts from followed celebrities being added to a person’s newsfeed, only those approved by the platform’s relevance algorithm make the cut. For Facebook pages with more than 500,000 likes, an average 2% or less of their followers get their posts.

There’s also the issue of control. On social media, celebrities have none. Just by posting the platform gains a license to use their content which does not end when they delete the post (or even the page!). Page owners have no say in what advertising content visitors are shown, and data about page activity is shared only at the platform’s discretion.  

Custom Apps Get Results

This lack of control has inspired many celebrities to focus on custom mobile apps as a way to engage fans. Apps are where teens and young adults spend their time online: 71% of digital activity in the United States is done via mobile, and 90% of that happens within apps.

Out of the top celebrities on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list, 30 have their own apps. Tom Hanks, Taylor Swift, Snoop Lion, Hunter Hayes, and several of the Kardashians are among that number. Tech-savvy celebrities use their social media mainly as a funnel to their app. Once fans reach the app they can be treated to personal video or blog content, life updates, sneak peeks at upcoming appearances, and more.

Perhaps the best thing about a custom mobile app is the complete, end to end control over content and advertising. There’s no risk of accidentally being associated with something that runs counter to your image. Also, you retain full rights to your own content and data.

The long view

To have a long, active career, celebs need to build relationships with younger fans. Relying solely on social media can impose limitations on those relationships. Take control of your digital presence and meet them where they are with a custom mobile app.


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