The Data Daily

We’re changing how we do our influencer lists and here’s why - Onalytica

We’re changing how we do our influencer lists and here’s why - Onalytica

Onalytica have been creating influencer lists for 10+ years, in which time we’ve published 187 influencer lists spanning across topics such as AI, IOT, Future of Work, 5G and Fintech – just to name a few.

We have long been regarded as the go-to place for B2B influencer lists, which is a perception that we are set on maintaining. But in order to maintain this position, we need to evolve our lists as the industry matures, to ensure that they’re still serving the industry – both the influencers themselves and also the marketers.

So what are we trying to achieve for the industry?

It’s important to us that we’re promoting and shining a spotlight on the experts that are doing great work in the industry, but to also make our lists as actionable as possible to the marketers so that they know who to collaborate with, on what campaigns andhow to reach out to them.

For those that are familiar with Onalytica, you’ll know that in the 10 years we’ve been producing influencer lists, 163 of them were in a “Top 100” format, a ranked list which highlighted the names that were creating the most social media content on the topic in question.

Almost 2 years ago to the day, we made the decision to pivot away from ranked influencer lists focusing solely on who was shouting the loudest, to an un-ranked Who’s Who list which highlighted the industry experts that had online and offline influence. This format looked beyond the social amplifiers driving lots of conversation on social, to highlight the industry Analysts, Academics, Researchers and Event speakers who were experts in their own right. This therefore required a combination of qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis.

24 lists later, we are yet again re-evaluating and re-defining what these lists look like to keep pace with the industry’s developments.

What we have come to learn is that there is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of our old Top 100 lists and our more recent Who’s Who format, that best serves both the influencers and marketers.

It is important for our influencer lists to be 100% data-led, capturing who is driving the most amount of topical engagement across social and for the influencer lists to be actionable for marketers, depending on their objectives – whether that’s an upcoming event or industry report.

We are also well aware that the industry is crying out for more education, with 79% of marketers wanting to do influencer marketing but only 13% knowing how (findings from a live poll we did at B2B Ignite London 2022).

We are therefore making it our mission in the latter part of this year and beyond, to really pivot our marketing content to be 1) more educational and 2) more accessible, so that we can reach and educate a wider audience to help drive the industry forward.

These lists will therefore be un-gated and open to all, and we will be creating more content on how brands can collaborate with influencers in their industry to drive their marketing objectives.

What this list will look like is a top 30-50 list, ranked by who’s driving the most amount of engagement on the topic on LinkedIn & Twitter, with two things being called out:

These lists will be annual, with changes in rankings – i.e. if people have gone up, down or are new in the rankings, being clearly called out, so that we can clearly demonstrate how that particular community is evolving year-on-year.

We are also removing the inclusion of the “Brand Employee” persona, and instead going to be producing more in-depth quarterly reports analysing brand employees’ social activity & influence on social – as this space is continuing to mature and we want to give it the attention it deserves.

In general, a big driver for these changes is that we are wanting to have greater transparency & collaboration with the industry.

“Creating Communities” is one of our core values at Onalytica which has multiple applications, but this is one of them. As part of our research stage where we’re compiling an influencer sample, we are introducing influencer nominations.

What this looks like, is collaborating with the community itself to secure influencer nominations of who they follow, look up to and are influenced by. In the future, we will scale this up to have nominations for each of our core topics open throughout the year, accessible through our website.

In addition to influencer nominations, we run thorough searches on social through social listening and within Onalytica’s curated influencer database of 1m+ topical influencers using detailed Boolean queries, to ensure were not missing a single post or influencer driving lots of engagement on the topic on LinkedIn and Twitter.

We also check industry publications, books, events, councils and membership bodies to ensure that we’re considering every corner of the industry.

Throughout all of this, we continue to collaborate closely with 5-10 industry influencers in the community to check that we’re not missing anyone and that we’re accurately reflecting that topical community.

Once we are happy that we have the most exhaustive list of influencers possible on the topic, the fun part starts – the data.

We analyse 6 months’ worth of activity on all influencers’ LinkedIn & Twitter profiles to arrive at an initial raw ranking. From this list, we can begin to rank influencers based on who’s driving the highest amount of total engagement on the topic and also consider their average engagement per post.

For these lists, we are combining Twitter & LinkedIn into one ranking, but in a way that is fair so that we’re not penalising anyone that has a large presence on one platform, and not on the other.

The final score is made up of 50% total engagements driven across social as a whole (Twitter & LinkedIn added together) and 50% average engagement per post across both channels (an overall average of their average engagement per post on both channels).

Average engagement per post is an important metric to consider who is driving a consistent amount of high quality engagement on the topic. We also have carefully defined parameters at both ends of the spectrum to ensure that we’re not picking up on anomalies that had a couple of viral posts that blew up, who are otherwise silent for the rest of the year, or accounts that have a suspiciously high activity number implying the use of automation tools.

At the end of the day, we want to be highlighting the influencers that are doing great work year-round, and who marketers would ultimately want to collaborate with.

Alicia manages Onalytica's content creation and collateral to help new and existing customers get the most out of their influencer programs. She also plays a large part in the design and user experience of Onalytica's SaaS influencer marketing platform, to ensure that the platform best serves clients' needs. Alicia is passionate about educating the industry on influencer marketing best practice, one thought leadership blog post at a time.

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