Celebrity Relevance

Celebrity Relevance & Momentum: The Winners, Losers & Up-and-Comers of 2018 (So Far)

Editor’s note: this story first appeared in the Spotted Quarterly Report on Q1 2018

There are countless horror stories of brands investing in celebrities based purely on large social followings, only to see the campaign or endorsement deal fail to pan out as expected or according to goals.

When determining which celebrity is the strongest fit for a partnership, there is much greater value in looking beyond static, surface-level numbers like Instagram followers and digging into the celebrity’s current relevance and momentum. As Spotted CEO Janet Comenos stated in a recent Forbes feature, “You have to remember that this celebrity could have gained those followers when they starred in a feature film a decade ago and may no longer be relevant today.”

With this in mind, Spotted pulled insights from our database on which established celebrities across professions (musicians, actors, comedians, athletes, TV personalities) saw the highest social growth and momentum, the celebrities who saw the least amount of social growth, and which up-and-coming celebrities saw the highest momentum between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018. These insights were pulled based upon total social growth across Instagram followers, Facebook page likes, and Twitter followers.

Established Celebrities with the Most Social Growth & Momentum in Q1 2018

7 of the 10 celebrities that saw the most social growth and momentum in Q1 2018 are musicians, and they performed far better than celebrities in other professions. Based upon this, it is our recommendation that brands look at musicians as a category to invest in during Q2 2018. The other category prominently featured is athletes, specifically in the field of professional soccer. Take a look below for the top 10.

1. Justin Bieber

Canadian singer and songwriter

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team

3. Ronaldinho

Brazilian former professional footballer and ambassador for Spanish club Barcelona

4. Katy Perry

American singer, songwriter, and television judge

5. Akshay Kumar

Indian actor, producer, martial artist, stuntman and television personality, who works in Bollywood films

6. 50 Cent

American rapper, actor, businessman, and investor

7. Rihanna

Barbadian singer, songwriter and actress

8. Jennifer Lopez

American singer, actress, dancer and producer

9. Justin Timberlake

American singer-songwriter, actor, dancer, and record producer

10. Ariana Grande

American singer and actress

Established Celebrities with the Least Social Growth & Momentum in Q1 2018

In order to debunk the myth that having a large following on Instagram means that a celebrity is highly relevant, we pulled a list of top-tier celebrities who have high followings on Instagram but saw the least amount of social audience growth in Q1 2018. This signals a stagnancy in social growth and overall momentum and relevancy.

1. Jaime King (1.1M Instagram followers)

An American actress and model

2. Skrillex (8.2M Instagram followers)

An American electronic dance music producer, DJ, singer, songwriter and musician

3. Nikki Reed (2.4M Instagram followers)

An American actress, screenwriter, singer-songwriter, and model

4. Ben Stiller (1.4M Instagram followers)

An American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director

5. Busy Philipps (1M Instagram followers)

An American actress

6. Chris Rock (2.8M Instagram followers)

An American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director

7. Ne-Yo (2.5M Instagram followers)

An American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor

8. Nicki Minaj (86.6M Instagram followers)

A Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter, model, and actress

9. Zachary Quinto (1M Instagram followers)

An American actor and film producer

10. Brie Larson (1M Instagram followers)

An American actress, filmmaker, and musician

The Up-and-Coming Celebrities with the Most Social Growth & Momentum in Q1 2018

The reality is that celebrities are no longer gushing about brands’ products online and attending their events for free. They’re demanding higher and higher payouts, now costing hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) for a single campaign.

That’s why it’s crucial for brands to identify the up-and-coming celebrities that are gaining the most momentum and are likely to become the next A-listers. If brands are able to sign this talent while they’re on the upswing, they’ll pay a fraction of the price. Under Armour has had a lot of success here by investing in talent like Jordan Spieth and Steph Curry before they blew up. This strategy is particularly beneficial for smaller brands that may not have the budget to afford a large-scale celebrity.

We have run analysis to determine the up-and-coming celebrities that saw the highest momentum between Q4 2017 and Q1 2018.

1. Letitia Wright

A Guyanese-born British actress, best known for her role in Black Panther

2. Luka Sabbat

An American stylist, model, actor, and entrepreneur; he is best known for his role on the ABC series, Grown-ish

3. Jimmy Garoppolo

An American football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL)


4. Kali Uchis

A Colombian-American singer, songwriter, poet, record producer, music video director, and fashion designer


An American rapper from Ventura, California, best known for his breakout single “iSpy”

6. Anya Taylor-Joy

An Argentine-British actress, best known for her roles in The Witch, Split, and Thoroughbreds

All photos are licensed courtesy of BACKGRID.

Report: The State of Celebrity Endorsement (Q1 2018)

celebrity endorsements q1 2018

To gain deeper insights into the trends, issues, and opportunities shaping the celebrity endorsement industry and its performance, get your copy of the Spotted Quarterly Report on Q1 2018.

Pulling from Spotted’s database of over 22,000 brands and 12,000 celebrities, the report provides exclusive insights into:

  • The brands celebrities had the greatest natural affinity for in Q1 2018
  • Which celebrities saw the greatest rise in relevance and which celebrities were most stagnant in Q1 2018
  • The up-and-coming celebrities gaining the most momentum right now
  • The top consumer segments to watch and which celebrities may be able to help you best resonate with them
  • Consumer perception of Q1 2018 celebrity endorsements and partnerships
  • The larger cultural trends that may be influencing endorsement

By reading, we hope you feel more well-equipped to tackle your celebrity strategies in Q2 and the year ahead.