Businesses are now competing with – and often losing to – “the wisdom of crowds” in the branding battle. Identifying individuals who sway online consumer opinion on specific topics and within specific communities has become critically important to marketers and public relations professionals.

A slew of social scoring platforms have emerged with claims that they can identify who influences who online while providing various tools and scoring systems to rank those who are influential and those who are not on a variety of topics.

However, as with most early adopters, their efforts have been widely criticized. Some say they’re just misunderstood and that the technology is just too new.

Either way, there’s one certainty: Marketers and public relations professionals are taking notice.

Earlier this year, ArCompany and Sensei Marketing surveyed marketing professionals around the world in the ongoing effort to better understand this growing industry and where businesses stand on the issue.

  • Can social influence truly be measured?
  • Is anyone using them?
  • What’s the future of influence marketing?

Influence marketing survey key insights

We’ve created the following infographic to highlight some of the key findings:

  • How marketers define Influence Marketing
  • What budgets they’re allocating to Influence Marketing in the next 12 months
  • How do marketers rate various social influence scoring platforms
  • What successes they have had with social influence scoring platforms and if they plan on using them in the future
  • The demographics of audience surveyed

What’s clear is social scoring, while recognized, is being questioned more, with businesses demanding better return for their investment. The technologies that can provide this will be the ones leading the charge in this Third Wave of Influence Marketing.

How about you – how does this data reflect your own personal experiences with influence marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Publish the infographic on your site – use the Embed code at the bottom of this page:

IM infographic

Influence Marketing bookBuy the book that offers the methodologies that answer the needs raised in this report: Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing

Book Authors: Danny Brown & Sam Fiorella
Copyright: © 2013 by Que Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-5104-1
ISBN-10: 0-7897-5104-6

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      • says

        Danny Brown as my email it is all media relations. But they don’t qualify reach. They have zero testimonials from the brands. 
        My biggest peeve and this was the same with Facebook’s S-1 filing. If you get to cherry pick case studies and the ones you cherry pick don’t prove your thesis…..geez

        • says

          Howie Goldfarb When I challenged a recent Klout post on Forbes, their VP of Marketing directed me to the case study on the Chevy Volt:

          It sold six cars. Which is a decent return – over $100k in sales. My question, though, when looking through all the data presented, is cost of investment over and beyond the Klout Perk cost. Manpower for community management, data analysis, reports, implementation, monitoring, etc. And that’s just the online component.
          Add in insurance for the cars, gas, dealer relations, etc. My thinking is it cost a LOT more than the $100k brought in. Which, ironically, says the 6 were “from program participants or their immediate friends”. So it didn’t really get a lot of external sales outside the people already associated with the program…

        • says

          Danny Brown forbes isn’t read on wall street so not a real business magazine. They are just like Mashable they shovel the BS. They won’t let me comment either. You did good!

  1. remarkmarketing says

    Social influence “scoring” is cute with the likes of Klout and Kred.  However, I am always interested how I get listed in some areas as an influencer, or who I am influenced by.  Very sketchy and not scientific at all for solid analysis.  I think Klout is directional in nature, but not definitive in measuring social influence.  It’s still seems early days in measuring influence.

    • says

      remarkmarketing Hi Brian,
      Agree. I think my biggest bugbear with “scoring influence” is two-fold: 
      1. If you take away Twitter, these companies aren’t truly measuring anything. They need you to connect your other profiles up, to add to the data they get from your public Twitter one.
      2. Like you say, their algorithms are often weird. Then again, when you’re not going deeper into the context of relationships, and who sways opinion based on where you are at a given time, it’s not surprising.
      Thankfully there are companies that are really digging into the human psyche angle that defines who and what influences us. That’s where I’m excited to see this space move.
      Cheers for dropping by!

  2. says

    I’m looking forward to seeing more case studies where brands take it “beyond the social score” – even if they use it as a starting point – and apply more of the Influence Marketing methodology to their efforts. Of course, I have a vested interest for those case studies who use monitoring/analytics solutions to execute that methodology!
    And back to social scoring…I’d still like to see Livefyre and Disqus added to the datasources – with heavier weighting since they are generally “long form” blog comments that are likely to influence readers’ opinions and purchase decisions.

    • says

      dbvickery It’s funny, Howie Goldfarb and I had this very conversation on email recently. Klout has a bunch of case studies on their website – yet they all point to impressions metrics, some of which don’t tally up. Like you say, show the dollar return on what’s usually quite a hefty investment, especially given the data we found while carrying out the survey regarding what businesses want from influence marketing.