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Digital Marketing 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands

by | Apr 20, 2016 | Influencer Lists,

The internet has drastically changed how consumers behave and how businesses market their products and services. Traditional marketing models still apply, but marketers now need a whole new set of skills, as well as up to date knowledge of digital media to create their digital marketing strategies. With 71% of businesses planning to increase their investment in digital marketing in 2016 and beyond, there has been a real surge in demand for Digital Marketers. According to Google Trends, interest in digital marketing has risen dramatically over the past 12 years:

Onalytica-Digital Marketing Interest over time - Google Trends

In this ever changing landscape, with such a wide choice of online communications and analytics tools available, the role of the modern day digital marketer can include everything from copy writing, graphic design, analytics, big data science, podcast and video creation, as well as traditional marketing strategy and planing.


We reached out to some of the top influencers identified in our list below to ask them for their views on Digital marketing. We spoke to Jeff Bullas (#1), Sam Hurley (#2), Larry Kim (#7), Rand Fishkin (#8), Evan Dunn (#14), Michael Brenner (#15) and Michael J. Schiemer (#25). Be sure to follow them to stay up to date on the best content and resources on Digital Marketing!

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Jeff BullasJeff Bullas – CEO at Pty Ltd

“There is an elephant in the room for many digital marketers. They love the vanity metrics of traffic, social media sharing and follower growth. They are hooked on the engagement and feedback that cool content provides to the brand. But they often don’t work on the last few hard yards. It isn’t seen as sexy and it can be boring. It’s converting that traffic and engagement into leads and sales. It’s is time for many social media and content marketers to grow up”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Sam HurleySam Hurley, Founder of OPTIM-EYEZ

“This saturated, fast-paced digital world in which we live can seem overwhelming for business owners and marketers alike. Aside from the sheer amount of information and data we force ourselves to consume each and every day, there’s one precious unit of measurement which we most commonly neglect. Time. To become a successful business owner, brand, solopreneur, marketer… you have to become a master of time. Digital marketing is evolving at incredible rates, which only feeds our fixation with shiny new objects such as virtual reality and the newest social media platforms. My advice for this year onward? Focus your time and energy into 3 key revenue generators which suit your business model (and you!). Become exceptional at nurturing these generators and don’t veer off course. Take heed of the new digital trends and adapt, but don’t divert. For these 3 revenue generators, funnel effort into 3 primary traffic channels (paid, owned and earned) that will gain qualified exposure for your business — exposure that converts into sales. That’s all! Test what works and stick with it. Don’t waste your time being a jack of all trades. Finally; build relationships, be yourself and push your name through social media. I cannot express enough how important this is. Personal branding is absolutely critical for trust, credibility and inbound leads. Spend time on yourself and everything else will follow. Seriously, I’m living proof of this methodology. I’ve never had to advertise to attract my own clients. My website isn’t even live yet! If this seems crazy to you, it’s time to alter your approach to business. Concepts of marketing will always remain unchanged. It’s only the tools, buzzwords and technologies that form and shift around us…don’t be dazzled by them. Digital marketing is fun. Profit as a result (and your continued sanity) is better.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Larry KimLarry Kim – CEO of MobileMonkey and Founder of WordStream

“We’ve reached peak social – a point at which the signal to noise ratio of social updates is unsustainable – companies, Individuals and automated tools are cranking out so many social updates that post engagement rate is getting crushed. At the same time, the social platforms are obviously looking to monetize their platforms with an increasing number of ads, which further diminishes organic visibility. As more content and ads floods social networks, the slice of engagement for the average brand must shrink because there’s only a finite amount of content consumption and engagement to be had. Social platforms are responding by creating and refining curated user timelines, and only the top brands with the most engaging content will survive.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Rand FishkinRand Fishkin – Founder of Moz

“Adblocking was part of a huge conversation in 2015, and my guess is that the reaction to this growing technology is going to mimic how entrenched players have reacted to technology leaps in the past — by trying to legislate it away. I anticipate that in either the US or the EU, some form of government action will arise (in the US, most likely due to lobbying AKA our legalized system of bribery) to “protect the interests of publishers and journalists who serve the public good.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Evan DunnEvan Dunn – Digital Marketing Practice Lead at Transform

“The digital media landscape is complex. With new channels, media and technology popping up every month, it’s only getting more complex. The most critical component of success in today’s marketing universe is a cohesive strategy – a theoretical framework that makes sense of every marketing activity executed by your brand, and provides an architecture for measurement and optimization of every activity. After all, if you’re not sure whether an activity is driving ROI, is it really worth doing? Today’s marketing, whether online or off, must be a scientific art (or an artistic science, either one). It can no longer be gut-driven, dominated by creative, and powered by trendy jargon. Measurement, analytics, statistics, quantification, optimization – these are the stuff of proven strategies. Don’t be distracted by flashy ad-tech, although it is sometimes useful. If your digital marketing objective is growing numbers (customers, sales), then your means of accomplishing it must be by analyzing the numbers. Quantitative Marketing is the future of all forms of marketing, including digital.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Michael BrennerMichael Brenner CEO of Marketing Insider Group

“10 years ago, you would have found it difficult to find anything labeled “Digital Marketing” on the job boards or even listed in the descriptions for openings companies were trying to fill. Now, Digital Marketing is the hottest job title in all of marketing. Digital marketing skills are in such high demand because we understand how to market to today’s always-connected, multi-device consumer. The top digital marketers today combine right and left-brain talents. We are one part content marketers, editors and writers, who understand how to create the kind of content that people actually want to read and share. On the other hand, we are also one part data nerds, who understand how to analyze all the information available to us as we continuously create and promote content across email, search, social and even offline platforms. Today’s digital marketer knows how to reach, engage, and convert new customers for our businesses. We defy the old notion that marketing can’t be measured. Because we’re doing it every day.”

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Michael J. SchiemerMichael J. Schiemer – Founder at Schiemer Consulting

“In today’s ultra-competitive digital marketing landscape, differentiating your company from the competition is paramount. There are too many generic or mediocre digital marketers and digital marketing agencies out there that won’t stand the test of time. Other more established marketers will rest on their laurels, fail to adapt, and become obsolete in a short period of time. I think all digital marketers and agencies should ask themselves three questions: How are you going above and beyond for your clients? What value do you bring to the table that they can’t get anywhere else? What prevents your services from being outsourced or replaced by a few inexpensive software programs? If you can’t answer those questions quickly and confidently, then you  need to step up your efforts or find a new industry.” 


We were interested in seeing which topics were most popular among the top digital marketing influencers, so we analysed their tweets and blogs from 1st January – 19th April 2016 and counted mentions of various topics associated with Digital Marketing which we then used to create a topic share of voice chart:

Onalytica Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Topic Share of Voice Among the Top 100 Digital Marketing Influencers and Brands

It’s interesting to note that the most popular topic among the digital marketing influencers is Social Media with a 27% share of voice. Content Marketing was the 2nd most popular debate driver, followed by Branding. Facebook, SEO and Twitter all received an 8% share of voice, followed by Strategy, Advertising and Analytics. Email Marketing, PPC, LinkedIn and Planning which all received a 3% share of voice followed by Growth Hacking with 2%.


We were very interested in seeing which Digital Marketing professionals and brands were leading the online discussion, so we analysed over 1.5M tweets from 4 Dec 15 – 29 Feb 16 mentioning the keywords: “Digital Marketing” OR digitalmarketing. We then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter. What we discovered was a very engaged community, with much discussion between individuals and brands. Below you can see a network map of the online conversation with the #1 influencer Jeff Bullas at the centre, and the conversations to and from the influencers in his field. This map was created with our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM). Be sure to click on the map to enjoy the full size network diagram in greater detail!

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Network Map Jeff Bullas

Below you can see another network map created with our Influencer Relationship Management software (IRM) showing the #1 Brand Econsultancy at the centre, and the conversations to and from the different influencers in their field. If you are interested in learning more about identifying, managing and engaging with influencers click here to get in touch!

Onalytica - Digital Marketing Top 100 Influencers and Brands - Network Map Jeff Bullas


We looked at all the individuals engaging on Twitter to bring you a list of the top 100 most influential individuals in the Digital Marketing landscape. Be sure to click the button below to download the full report and see who ranks beyond 50.

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RankTwitter HandleNameCompanyInfluencer Score
1@jeffbullasJeff BullasJeffbullas.com44.13
2@Sam___HurleySam HurleyOPTIM-EYEZ38.2
3@MarketingProfsAnn HandleyMarketingProfs31.99
4@AshleyFriedleinAshley FriedleinEconsultancy28.46
5@Rocco_Zebra_AdvRocco BaldassarreZebra Advertisement27.97
6@iMariaJohnsenMaria JohnsenGolden Way Media26.57
7@larrykimLarry KimWordstream21.45
8@randfishRand FishkinMoz21.07
9@PamMktgNutPam MooreMarketing Nutz18.67
10@leeoddenLee OddenTop Rank Marketing16.82
11@acfrankAndrew FrankGartner for Marketing15.73
12@dknowlton1Daniel KnowltonKPS DigitalMarketing13.62
13@DioFavatasDio FavatasTruth Initiative13.08
14@evanpdunnEvan DunnTransform12.53
15@BrennerMichaelMichael BrennerMarketing Insider Group12.43
16@adamwoodsausAdam WoodsReed Exhibitions12.37
17@WBB_13Brent BouldinBank of America11.47
18@jaybaerJay BaerConvince & Convert10.41
19@davidbnzDavid BellUniversity of Pennsylvania10.32
20@DaveChaffeyDr Dave ChaffeySmart Insights10.24
21@chuckaikensChuck AikensVolume Nine10.18
22@JenPolk1Jennifer PolkGartner9.92
23@AlexTachalovaAlexandra Tachalovaalextachalova.com9.76
24@ajalumnifyAJ AgrawalAlumnify9.6
25@MikeSchiemerMichael J. SchiemerColbea9.23
26@jeremywaiteJeremy ☁️Colbea Enterprises9.18
27@azeckmanAshley ZeckmanTop Rank Marketing8.4
28@MariSmithMari Smithmarismith.com8.18
29@MelonieDodaroMelonie DodaroTop Dog Social Media8.11
30@augierayAugie RayGartner for Marketers8
31@krbenedictKevin R BenedictCognizant7.93
32@SimonYatesSimon YatesGartner for Marketers7.82
33@NealSchafferNeal SchafferMaximize Your Social7.58
34@Matt_UmbroMatthew UmbroPPCChat7.35
35@markwschaeferMark SchaeferSchaefer Marketing Solutions7.21
36@FeldmanCreativeBarry FeldmanFeldman Creative7.1
37@BrianHughes116Brian HughesIntegrity Marketing6.76
38@ItsDUHniseJenise HenriksonSearch Engine Journal6.64
39@DanScalcoDan Scalcodigitalux6.62
40@neilpatelNeil PatelCrazy Egg6.59
41@martykihnMartin KihnGartner6.47
42@MarketingLetterDr. Angela HausmanHausman and Associates6.41
43@lacostejonathanJonathan LacosteJebbit6.37
44@crestodinaAndy CrestodinaOrbit Media6.29
45@markfidelmanMark FidelmanEvolve!6.2
46@marktraphagenMark TraphagenStone Temple Consulting6.06
47@jacobvarJacob Varghesejacobv.com6.01
48@marcusbowlerhatMarcus MillerBowler Hat5.89
49@CynthiaLIVECynthia JohnsonAmerican Addiction Centers,5.87
50@BrettRelanderBrett RelanderLaunch & Hustle5.65



In the top 100 brands we can find a great selection of industry resources like Econsultancy, Gartner for Marketers and Social Media Today, as well as agencies like Bruce Clay Inc., and industry heavyweights like IBM. Be sure to follow them all to stay up to date on current digital marketing trends.

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RankTwitter HandleNameInfluencer Score
3@socialmedia2daySocial Media Today27.14
6@MarketinglandMarketing Land26.5
7@ibminteractiveIBM Interactive Exp.25.05
9@googleanalyticsGoogle Analytics19.25
12@BruceClayIncBruce Clay, Inc.16.5
18@BritanniacommsBritannia PR12.34
19@markITwritemarkITwrite Tech12.15
22@MerkleCRMMerkle, Inc.9.65
24@ppcheroPPC Hero9.53
25@TheDrumThe Drum9.42
26@SmartInsightsSmart Insights9.01
28@marketingdiveMarketing Dive8.05
29@MySocialPointSOCIAL MEDIA7.93
30@GAGeneral Assembly7.33
32@SMExaminerSocialMedia Examiner6.54
33@MarketMotiveMarket Motive6.53
34@OracleMktgCloudMarketing Cloud6.5
37@SocialZoomFactrSocial Zoom Factor5.6
38@sewatchSearch Engine Watch5.51
39@senginelandSearch Engine Land5.45
42@DigitalMktrDigital Marketer5.3
45@WeAreTeamSITeam SI5.04
46@SilverpopIBM Marketing Cloud4.66
49@MktgNutzMarketing Nutz4.07


Disclaimer: As ever with these lists, it must be stressed that the ranking correlates to a strong indication of influence. The individuals listed here are undoubtedly influential when it comes to driving discussion around the above key topics. Onalytica’s PageRank based methodology is used to extract influential experts on a particular topic and takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives – this allows us to identify Topical Authority (reference) – our priority influence metric. We analyzed topical authority via their social engagement on Twitter and how much influential experts were referenced in association with smart grids on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Forums, Blogs, News and Tumblr content. These calculations also take into account a user’s resonance (topical engagement) relevance (number of posts on topic, and % relevance – the proportion of their social content on the topic) and reach (number of followers). If you want to learn more, please read our article that outlines How to identify your target influencers.

At Onalytica we love building these lists and want to give back to our loyal readers as much as we can. If you’re interested in other topics (such as Virtual RealityDigital HealthDigital Marketing) be sure to have a look on our blog or why not propose some topics to us on Twitter? Effective influencer marketing starts with identifying relevant influential experts for your brand. Onalytica’s Discovery platform mines over 200 billion posts a year into a curated database of over 700K global social media influencers, including data from Twitter, Blogs, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn Profile Links + Demographic Data. Our software enables you to identify influencers by topic, demographic or content and includes real-time tracking and measurement reporting to scale your influencer relations.






Download this free report which reveals the top 100 digital marketing influencers and brands in 2016