The top 20 influencers of digital marketers in the USA

Where do US-based digital marketers go to get the news, insights and information which will drive total spend of more than $100 billion annually by 2019?

Our latest report analyses where US-based digital marketers go to get their news, insights and information. In our research we found that the 7,500 digital marketers in our sample follow over 1.2 million unique tweeters. The top 300 in the report represent just 0.025 percent of all those followed but, between them, they are followed by over 75 percent of the sample.

The chart below shows the 20 people who digital marketers, living in the USA, choose to follow more than any others. Through their expertise in digital marketing, these individuals have successfully commanded the attention of the decision-makers and budget-holders who, by 2019, will hold sway over more than $100 billion in annual digital marketing spend in the US alone (source: Forrester). With such eye-watering digital marketing budgets up for grabs, any company looking to sell marketing services in the US cannot afford not to have clear handle on the identity of these mega-influencers...which is where the Apollo Target Digital Marketing Influencer Report 2016 comes in.  

A quick word on the (rather garish!) colour scheme in this chart. It uses the same underlying data as the Target Relevancy Index (TRI) score that we use in our reports, and reflects the proportion of digital marketers that make up each influencer’s overall following. A deep red indicates that most of the people following that person are digital marketers (e.g. Matt Heinz) whereas a lighter red means that fewer digital marketers, proportionately, make up their overall following (e.g. Guy Kawasaki).

The top 20 individual influencers of digital marketers in the USA

All the digital marketers on the chart above (and all the influencers highlighted in our new report) have created a fantastic personal brand. In many cases, this personal brand delivers huge commercial value back to the individual and / or the company they represent.

A great example of this is Rand Fishkin of Moz. Ranked first on this list and reaching 15 percent of all US based digital marketers through his Twitter account, Fishkin is the face and voice of Moz. In our report you will see that Moz are also the highest ranked marketing technology company and a large part of that is thanks to the excellent content that Fishkin and his team regularly publish, which offers their many followers (Moz fans?) genuinely valuable insight, information and tips on digital marketing. Not only is the content beautifully honed, it is also delivered in an attractive, entertaining and easy-to-digest way.

An important thing to understand is that he is not just popular in the USA - his international reach is extraordinary. For example, according to our research, in Australia he reaches 14% of the Australian digital marketing audience; in Germany he reaches 13.6%; in South Africa 14.3%; in Spain 10.6% and in the UK he reaches 15.6% - i.e. even more than in his own country. It is significant that, in France, he reaches just under 5 percent of digital marketers - a reflection of the fact that the whole digital marketing influencer landscape in France is fundamentally different to that of other countries.

For Moz, as a business, brand recognition for them amongst digital marketers is similarly positively affected across the world. Most of the marketing technology companies with a high reach in our report, have people who personalise their brand. It’s interesting that Oracle, one of the world’s largest IT companies and a big player in the marketing technology space do not have a single expert / evangelist that features in the top 300. It could be a contributory reason why Oracle Marketing Cloud are ranked well outside the top 10 in the marketing technology section of the report, albeit with a very high TRI score.

You would be forgiven for thinking by now that I am being paid by Fishkin to write this. However, I’m not being paid by him and, in fact, I’ve never met or spoken to him. But I do follow him on Twitter and YouTube and, strangely, feel as if I do know him and enjoy his company...which is a little bit odd. I certainly trust what he has to say about his subject and it is clear that many others feel the same way - the power of social marketing!

In fact, many on this list are brilliant digital marketing practitioners, all with subtly different motivations. Ann Handley’s motivation is slightly different to Fishkin’s. She’s creating content in order to entice you to enroll with her MarketingProfs website service where you can subscribe to courses that will make you a better marketer.

Then you have people like Jay Baer who is, essentially, promoting his own personal brand as a keynote speaker as well as his agency, Convince and Convert. One of the books on modern marketing I often recommend is Youtility, penned by Baer three years ago - if you haven’t already then it’s well worth a read.

One of the biggest groups are people like Matt Heinz whose goal is, it seems fair to assume, to bring more clients through the door of his own marketing agency, Heinz Marketing. I really like Matt’s blog posts they are always well written and informative.

Then we have people like Travis Wright. Travis has terrific knowledge of marketing technology and communicates that knowledge, as well as his overall knowledge of digital marketing, through social media, the pages of Inc., Venturebeat (where he also does a podcast) and through speaking engagements.

I’ve picked out just a few on this list to highlight the different motivations for these people that have driven them to the top of their field. Of course our new report delves into much more detail on all the people, media and organisations that make up the top 300 influencers for digital marketers in the USA. A group which has a huge effect on the destiny of tens of billions of digital marketing dollars every year.

If you’d like to know more then please either message me here, email me at richard [at] apolloresearch.com or visit the report product page on our website.

p.s. In case you are wondering, the size of the bubbles in the header graphic for this blog is an indication of how active they are on Twitter. The bigger the bubble the more they tweet!