From 100m to 200m subscribers in 15 months

122 | What's behind MrBeast's super-charged business flywheel

Issue #122 | Your reading time this week is 5 mins. 45 secs.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing. Here’s a taster of what caught my eye this week:

  • Goat and Amazon Ads partner on creator-led shoppable content 

  • The Influencer Marketing Show returns to London next week (and I’m hosting a panel)

  • The European Commission gets serious about influencers who fail to declare their ads

  • Yet another organisation launched aiming to become the de facto unified voice for creators 

  • MrBeast hits 200m subscribers (doubling from 100m in 15 months)

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17-year-old Americans spend 5.8 hours per day on social media

51% of U.S. teenagers spend at least four hours per day on social media according to a Gallup survey.

Heaviest users are 17-year-olds who spend on average 5.8 hours a day on the socials. 

Girls spend nearly an hour more on social media than boys (5.3 vs. 4.4 hours, respectively).

YouTube (1.9 hours per day) and TikTok (1.5 hours per day) are by far the most popular social media apps among teens. Instagram takes third place with an average of 0.9 hours racked up per day on the platform by teens. 

METHODOLOGY: Familial and Adolescent Health Survey conducted by Gallup June 26-July 17, 2023, using the Gallup Panel. The survey collected data from 6,643 parents and 1,591 adolescents who were the children of those parents.

Goat and Amazon Ads partner in creator-led shoppable content

The Goat agency and Amazon Ads have partnered to launch influencer-led shoppable content for the Amazon advertising suite of services.

The initiative enables Goat to push influencer content across Amazon’s Ad suite whilst keeping the look and feel of social posts.

Brands get to target and retarget customers across the web and on with high-performing influencer content, then drive them to the relevant products on Amazon ready to be purchased.

DECLARATION: Goat is a founding member of the Influencer Marketing Trade Body of which I serve as director-general.

MrBeast hits 200m YouTube subscribers

Mr Beast has just hit 200m subscribers on his main YouTube channel. His is a story both of an overnight success eight years in the making and the power of his super-charged business flywheel.


MrBeast, born Jimmy Donaldson, uploaded his first YouTube video in February 2012 - aged just 13 years old. It took him 100 videos to gain his first 1K subscribers. After 3.5 years (October 2015) and 333 videos he had amassed  8,726 subscribers.

By mid-2016, MrBeast hit 30,000 subscribers. He first went viral in January 2017, when he uploaded a video showing himself counting to 100,000 — which he later revealed took him 44 hours.

I made the notes above on 01 February 2021. That’s the day MrBeast crossed the half-century in millions with 51.5m subscribers.

It took him just 17 more months to double that subscriber count to 100m in July 2022. And around 15 months after that to double the 100m to 200m subscribers. 

Reed Duchscher, CEO of Night and MrBeast’s manager posted to LinkedIn this week offering five reasons by MrBeast went from 100m to 200m so quickly:


5 reasons Mr Beast jumped from 100m to 200m YouTube subs in 15 months

  1. Fully dubbed his content in more than 15 languages for international viewers.

  2. Made videos that appealed to a broad global audiences: "$1 vs $1M Hotel," "Every Country on Earth Fights For $250K."

  3. Over the back half of this year, he’s been way more consistent with content, uploading a lot more videos.

  4. He put a focus on other platforms outside of YouTube: his TikTok and Instagram have grown considerably.

  5. Started to incorporate well-known celebrities into videos who appeal to all ages: Tom Brady, The Rock, Jay Leno, Cody Ko, and Miranda Cosgrove.

Influencer Marketing Show returns next week

Next week the Influencer Marketing Show Europe returns to London (26 October).

IMS has selected the Influencer Marketing Trade Body (IMTB) as association partner for its major October event.

The show runs across three conference tracks and features topics running from creator commerce and creative campaign management to full-funnel influencer marketing and the new creator partnerships transforming the space.

I’m speaking at 11:10 on the Pyramid Stage alongside two IMTB board members - Emma Harman, Global Chief Client Officer at Whalar and Oliver Lewis, CEO & Founder at THE FIFTH. 

Together we'll track the near future of creator marketing covering key themes including; how global changes in regulation and legislation will affect our sector, along with the opportunities brands can enjoy through building creator-led strategies into their creative, media, and insights.

European Commission to spot-check creator content for hidden advertising

The European Commission and national authorities of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network announced on Monday that they are about to spot-check creator content in search of hidden advertising

The result of this social media sweep will feed into the Digital Fairness fitness check designed to help assess whether new legislation is necessary to make digital markets as safe as offline markets.

At this time we don’t know the size, methodology or which platforms will be covered by ‘the sweep’. This is problematic. In an activity designed to improve transparency in advertising such details are important both technically and from a ‘cultural’ point of view.

US bill hopes to protect creators from AI clones

A bill in the U.S. is looking to produce a federal law to protect creators, actors and musicians from having their likenesses cloned by AI replicas without their permission. 

The No Fakes Act - technically termed: Nurture Originals, Foster Art, and Keep Entertainment Safe Act of 2023 — standardises rules around using a person’s faces, names, and voices [The Verge].

It’s a timely bill given that actors’ union SAG-AFTRA continues to be on strike. Actors are particularly vexed by studios wanting to create AI-generated versions of them, especially in background, crowd scenes in movies or TV shows. 

A recently resurfaced video highlights striking actors’ point. The snippet of film taken from the Disney Channel teen movie ‘Prom Pact’ shows CGI background actors looking more like crash test dummies than humans. 

Meanwhile, celebs are rushing to have their likeness cloned for Meta Chatbots … see the story below.

MrBeast & Kendall Jenner cloned by Meta for AI chat bots

Meta AI is rolling out celebrity-based chatbots to Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger based on Snoop Dogg, Charli D'Amelio, Paris Hilton, MrBeast, Kendall Jenner and others. 

The celebrity chatbots are billed as being able to talk in their own style about topics that are typical of them, such as sports, humour, and relaxation.

But, whilst members of actors’ union SAG-AFTRA continue to strike over issues including TV and movie studios wanting to create AI-generated versions of them in background, crowd scenes -  Meta is paying at least one celeb around $5 million over two years, in exchange for about six hours of work in a studio for their AI likeness, according to The Information

What’s the point of these AI celebs? I don’t really know. To normalise AI cloning? To build quick consumer takeup of chatbots by the celebs promoting them to their followers? 

An added layer of confusion lies in the celeb chatbots going by different names to their doppelgangers.  Kendall Jenner becomes ‘Billie’, MrBeast becomes ‘Zack’ and Snoop Dogg is ‘The Dungeon Master’.

Meta’s celeb AI chatbot characters are text-based for now but voice capabilities are promised in 2024. They’re currently in beta version in the US only. launches with aims to become the united voice for creators officially launched this week. The endeavor FKA "Creator Project 1.0." has a mission to advance the rights of creators around the world and build a better digital ecosystem.

The nonprofit organisation launches with six beefy focus areas:

  1. Income - Equitable monetization for all creators.

  2. Ownership - Securing a seat at the table with platforms to drive accountability to creators.

  3. Fair Data Policy - Advocating for fair and transparent data policies for creators.

  4. Creator Well-Being - Creator health, well-being, and sustainability.

  5. Diversity & Inclusion - DEI and representation for creators across the globe.

  6. Artificial Intelligence - Navigating the impact of AI in the creator landscape and creative industries.

It’s not pure altruism. is the brainchild of Ezra Cooperstein, president at Night - the talent agency helping creators reach their full potential as entertainers and entrepreneurs.

Oh … and don’t confuse with - that’s a completely different entity … whilst sharing some of the same ethos: ‘a website dedicated to helping you on your journey to become a creator’. Let confusion reign. 

YouTube helps creators connect with viewers

YouTube has just launched changes to help creators connect with viewers:

  • When creators implore viewers to “like” or “subscribe,” a visual cue on those buttons now appears in sync with the video.

  • CTA complete an ‘explosion’ of playful sparkles rewards the viewer for becoming a subscriber. 

  • Top comments will now automatically rotate so you can scan the best commentary from the community. 

  • For new video uploads, YouTube has added animation that updates view count and like count in real time for the first 24 hours to show how many other users are engaging with what they’re watching.

YouTube lays out 5 principles to safe-guard young viewers

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan has published a blog post laying out the five core principles his platform will adhere to in a bid to protect children and teens. 

  1. The privacy, physical safety, mental health, and wellbeing of children and teenagers require special protections online.

  2. Parents and caregivers play an important role in setting the rules for their family's online experiences, particularly for the youngest children.

  3. All children deserve free access to high-quality and age appropriate content that meets their individual interests and needs.

  4. The developmental needs of children differ greatly from those of teenagers and should be reflected in their online experiences.

  5. With appropriate safeguards, innovative technologies can benefit children and teenagers.

NOTE: YouTube attracts the most time spent on social media apps by U.S. teenagers at 1.9 hours per day - see story above.

European Commission launches resource-hub housing influencer regulations

The European Commission has just launched a suite of influencer-focused resources designed to help creators stay on the right side of ad regulation and consumer law. 

The Influencer Legal Hub offers influencers and content creators a dedicated place to find information on EU legislation in the area of fair commercial practices.

Influencers can learn about their: 

  • Legal obligations, in particular when, where and how they should disclose their advertising activities on social media

  • What they are expected to do in relation to professional due diligence 

  • The rights consumers have when they buy products or services directly from them.

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