The Viner Invasion of YouTube

“Hi, welcome to Chilli’s, my name’s Trey and I have a basketball game tomorrow.”

If you are lost or sadly lived under a rock between the years 2013 – 2017, here is a compilation to get you up to speed:


Vine was home to millions of creators, break-out comedians and musicians and, as they humbly state on their website, Vine “shaped pop culture”. Vine shut down in 2017 as it failed to gain financial success. This was due to the creators reluctance to monetize their content. Before its shut down, the 6 second video sharing app was home to 14 million users and content creators worldwide.

So where are they now?

Photo via YourNikonMan / GettyImages (Fair Use) Remix by Jason Reed

Well, since Vine “abandoned’’ their creators in January 2017, many of its most popular creators have found new success within the YouTube community, hence the term “Viner Invasion”. Last year, YouTuber Ethan Klein created a video on this very subject The Viner Invasion of 2017. In this video he discusses the sudden emergence of Viners on YouTube, more specifically focusing on none other than Logan and Jake Paul.


I am sure we are all aware of the recent events surrounding the Paul brothers in the YouTube community. However, this article will focus on other Viners who have made the jump to YouTube and achieved success. Let’s take a look at David Dobrik.

David Dobrik and His Vlog Squad

Twenty-two year old David Dobrik joined Vine in 2013 and gained a following of 1.3 million. On Vine, Dobrik achieved fame by creating comedy videos by himself, as well as collaborating with other successful Vine creators.

Photo Via Zane Hijazi

When Dobrik made the switch to YouTube, he relied heavily on his strategy of collaboration. He led a team of 15 other Vine creators and their audiences to YouTube. These creators (or as their fans refer to them the Vlog Squad) began to create video content together. They uploaded their content to fifteen individual channels. Within a year they found success within the YouTube community. Currently, Dobrik has 6.2 million subscribers and reportedly earns an annual income of $392,000 – $6.2 Million.

As of 2017, Dobrik and the Vlog Squad had become what Susie Khmais defines as a micro-celebrity within the YouTube community. Through popularity online they have sustained a relationship with their audience. This is a relationship that seems ‘real’ to the audience, through interaction and sharing their day-to-day lives through videos.

Image Via Henry Hijazi on Instagram

The Vlog Squad have branded themselves as simply that. A squad that you too can be a part of if you watch their content, while immersing yourself in their ‘personal’ jokes and gossip within the vlogs. In a community as large and saturated as YouTube, it is important to maintain a personal and loyal relationship with your audience. Through branding Dobrik has achieved this.

Image via Fanjoy

Merchandise isn’t a new concept, but the Vlog Squad takes merchandising as a form of branding to the next level. The website FanJoy.Co is solely a platform for YouTubers/Influencers to sell their merchandise. Monthly, the Vlog Squad releases new merchandise featuring references and ongoing jokes from their videos. Loyal fans have to stay in the loop to understand the references on the merchandise. Let’s take a look at a more specific example.

Alex Breaking an IKEA Table

In 2016, Dobrik’s best friend Alex Ernst stepped through an IKEA table, (a $7.99 LACK side table to be exact) and broke it out of anger. Since then it has become an ongoing joke and comedy skit within their vlogs.

Photo via Zacker Cracker

 So what better way to monetize a niche reference – keep it going and create merchandise. To many people this may be a strange design on a jumper, but to millions of Dobrik’s loyal fans this represents belonging to a squad.

Loyalty and engagement is what David Dobrik has mastered in his jump from Vine to YouTube. This innovative process of content creation and branding by Dobrik could pave the way for other aspiring young creators.


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