Though YouTube is most commonly associated with visual content, sound-oriented ASMR videos are resonating with millions of users.
WHAT IS ASMR
In a blissfully-chaotic, always-on, noisy digital world, ASMR shows us how to make the biggest impact, by simply lowering the volume.Some people may have no idea what ASMR is – despite it being one of the most popular genres on YouTube today, with YouTube searches for ASMR growing over 200% YoY since 2015and there being over 13 million videos published online.It’s the trend that’s been satisfying the world, and the goldmine brands are only just tapping into.
So, what actually is ASMR? Whilst lots of us experience anxiety at every red blob buzz, ping or banner trill notification that interrupts our lives, the sounds of ASMR are designed to make us all relax. The letters stand for ‘Autonomous sensory meridian response’, and the words represent a tingling sensation that typically begins at the crown of the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. The term is believed to have been coined in 2010 by Jennifer Allen, who started a Facebook group dedicated to finding out more about it. The term quickly caught on, as people finally had a way to reference the pleasurable feeling they had been experiencing.
Now that we know what exactly ASMR is, let’s talk about the influencers behind it. For many ASMR content creators, their videos are a creative outlet – and some even describe them as art. The name they’ve given themselves is definitely a play on this notion, describing themselves as ASMR artists – or, ‘ASMRists’. ASMRists are the creatives, actors, actresses, whisperers behind the content that exists to make us sleepy. Generally, the feature that pervades all verticals of ASMR creators, is their relaxing, quiet, positive demeanour that comes across as kind and caring.
HOW DID ASMR BECOME ONE OF YOUTUBE’S BIGGEST GENRES?
There are literally thousands of videos dedicated to ASMR, that seem to follow some consistent themes. The ASMR communities are huge, with popular videos wracking up millions of views quickly. It’s worth considering how many of those views are repeat views, given that lots of people watch them to fall asleep at night.
ASMR seems to very much be an element of the mental wellness trend. The corner of the internet that ASMR takes up is consistently warm, inviting, positive and nourishing. A lot of people are increasingly following therapists, mental health advocates, meaningful poetry and zen illustrators on Instagram and beyond. Our lives all run at a million miles an hour, and screen time has apparently increased by nearly 10 times the amount it was in 2011, so it’s no surprise we’re actively searching for ways to improve our daily lives, reduce stress and eradicate anxiety – even if we are doing that through our phones.
ARE BRANDS CAPITALISING ON THE ASMR SPACE?
Whilst there are a few brands that sponsor ASMR content, it definitely feels like a lot more could be happening in this area online… especially when it comes to the wellness sector. Examples of brand partnerships with ASMRtists include Audible’s work with ItsBlitzzz (which is a natural partnership, given that Audible’s brand offering is entirely audio based). Some ASMRtists expand beyond the primary content topic, including messaging around sustainability and living well, offering many opportunities for archetypally aligned brand partnerships.
It’s also not just product-based brands who have capitalised on this content, W magazine seem to release an ASMR video starring a far-too-famous-to-be-doing-this Hollywood star nearly every week now. You can watch Aubrey Plaza eating cornflakes, Salma Hayek crunching her way through tostadasand Eva Longoria nibbling popcorn, all on YouTube.
WHO ARE THE INTERNET’S BIGGEST ASMR STARS?
If you’re looking to whet your ASMR whistle, we’ve found you the top five ASMR internet whisperers to send you off at night, or calm you down on the commute!
NAME: Gentle Whispering
ABOUT:Without doubt, the MOTHER of all ASMRtists. Ellen DeGeneres did a segment about one of her videos on The Ellen Show last year, which subsequently generated A LOT of attention.
MOST WATCHED VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVpfHgC3ye0(22M views)
NAME: ASMR Glow
ABOUT: You can find ASMR Glow on pretty much every social platform. Constantly switching up her platforms to keep content fun and exciting, ASMR Glow is one of the most experimental ASMRist out there, always figuring out new ways to help you snooze.
MOST WATCHED VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm6-oVEsvi4(6.2M views
NAME: Whispers Red
ABOUT:The British queen of ASMR, she released a book about the subject of ASMR last year, and has also been covered in a number of traditional media outlets.
MOST WATCHED VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HEuQHwctD4(17M views)
ABOUT: Its Blitzzz steps outside of the usual ASMRist role, using her channel to talk about sustainability, minimal living and her passion for dirt biking.
MOST WATCHED VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69NZYrovMAQ(7.1M views)
ABOUT:Gibi has more subscribers than some A-list celebrities do! Always thinking outside of the box, Gibi is your go-to for off the beaten path ASMR concepts. From videos ‘You’re In Shrek’s Swamp ASMR’ to ‘Daisy Does Drunk ASMR’, no matter your sleeping habits, you’re sure to find slumber here.
MOST WATCHED VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FidhD-izZnk(17M views)
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