Women as influencers – how do they rank?
2018 has seen a surge in the women’s movement. As a response to the political environment and the #metoo movement, some have gone as far as to say “2018 is the year of women” (Schnall, 2018). Looking at lists compiled over the last 18 months we see how women are ranking as social media influencers. Whether you call them mavens, influencers, or thought leaders social media influencers frame the social narrative and influence what we think, what we buy, and our political affiliations. Here we look at some of the top rankings of social influencers and see how women are represented in these influencer categories and channels.
Follow the money. IZEA, a leading influencer marketing software and services company, has ranked the highest paid social media influencers based on annual earnings. This is one of the few lists that women have a stronger showing then men. Out of the top 25 highest paid social media influencers 13 were women, with 4 of the 13 women coming from the Jenner/Kardashian empire. The highest paid woman on the list – Kayla Itsines, a fitness blogger who earned around $17 million from her app. She commands over $150,000 per sponsored post, which is relatively small compared to Kim Kardashian-West’s $500k per post, yet overall Itsines earned the most annual revenue of all female influencers.
Representation by women 52%
Over the past several years, TIME Magazine has reported the top 25 most influential people on the Internet. Using a different metric system than IZEA, TIME compared these contenders by their global impact on social media as well as their overall ability to drive the news. According to these metrics, women have been 11 of the top 25 both in 2017 and 2018, but women lost the top spot this year. In 2017, Chrissy Teigen nabbed the top spot according to TIME magazine, but in 2018 the top spot goes to Korean boy band BTS. TIME’s 2018 list contained 11 women, 2 man/woman couples, 3 groups including the powerful #BabaeAko (I Am Woman) movement in Manila, 1 precocious toy reviewing young boy, and 8 men as the 25 top influencers on the internet.
Representation by women 44%.
One of the fastest growing social media channels is video. According to Business Insider (2018) this social media channel has quickly become the de facto launchpad for the next generation of internet celebrities. Business Insider did a review of the 10 highest paid YouTube stars of 2017. This top 10 list is comprised of 1 woman, 1 child, and 8 men. The one woman, Lilly Singh, claims one of the highest followings at 12.7 million subscribers and brought in a paltry $10.5 million in 2017. Who was the highest earner? Daniel Middleton. He brought in $16.5 million through his YouTube channel. There is a lot of room for growth for women in this growing medium – get taping ladies.
Representation by women 10%
Another channel worth looking at is LinkedIn. Top Voices -LinkedIn Influencers is a list compiled in house by LinkedIn. These influencers cover a wide range of topics targeting professionals from varied industries all around the globe. These influencers were identified as having the most engagement, quality content contributions, and followers. The top 10 influencers at LinkedIn for 2017 is a politically correct even split. Daniel Roth, Editor in Chief of LinkedIn identifies 5 women and 5 men as leading the social narratives on LinkedIn.
Representation by women 50%
The remaining influencers are evaluated by category. One unsurprising category that women take the lead on the social media narrative is parenting. Forbes.com (2018) provides the breakdown of the top 10 influencers in this category. Combined, these influencers reach 3,495,011 Instagram followers, 1,064,809 Twitter followers, 6,502,822 Facebook likes, and 1,973,111 YouTube subscribers. Collectively this category has a reach of over 13,000,000 users. Two women have teamed up to lead this category, Meg Resnikoff and Elle Walker. Their parenting YouTube channel What’s Up Moms captures over 35 million views per month. The top 10 influencers in this category are comprised of 9 women and 1 man.
Representation by women 90%
The social media fitness category is largely influenced by women. According to Forbes.com (2018) the top 10 influencers in this category collectively have 39,48,812 Instagram followers, 2,593,624 twitter followers, 4,958,879 YouTube subscribers, and 52,3003,914 Facebook likes. Their total social media reach is over 106,000,000. In this category 8 of the top 10 influencers are women with the top billing going again to Kayla Itsines who alone has 6.6 million Instagram followers.
Representation by women 80%
The next category is one that does not have traditional gender assignation, travel. This category has not audience gender bias and could easily have equal representation, yet women as solo acts fall behind. In this category, the top 10 influencers are 2 women, 5 men, and 3 husband/wife duos. The collective reach of this category is slightly higher than the parenting category with 17,419,000 overall users reached.
Representation by women 50% (includes husband/wife duos).
Forbes.com (2018) highlights another category that has an even split in representation by gender, the entertainment category. One of the largest categories analyzed, the reach of the top 10 influencers is over 246,920,000 online users. Collectively this group reaches 88,736,493 Instagram followers, 33,686,501 Twitter followers, 48,768,942 Facebook likes, and 73,567,721 YouTube subscribers. 5 of the top ten influencers are women, leaving 5 men. Lilly Singh, a Canadian vlogger and listed above as one of the top YouTube earners, takes the top spot of the entertainment category.
Representation by women 50%
Other categories women have significantly less representation. In Tech & Business Forbes.com (2018) reports that 3 women and 7 men make up the top 10. Their collective followings are comprised of 10,967,003 Instagram followers, 11,450,015 Twitter followers, 12,409,045 Facebook likes, and 28,792,950 YouTube subscribers. Their total reach is 63,940,000 online users.
Representation by women 30%
The last category we will look at is the gaming industry and its social impact. The reach of this industry is vast and is one of the largest male dominated audiences online. The top 10 influencers in the gaming category reach 34,816,943 Instagram followers, 28,181,794 Twitter followers, 11,361,245 Facebook likes, and 152,082,828 YouTube subscribers. Combined the top 10 gaming influencers reach over 228,000,000 online users, the second largest category analyzed. There are 3 women and 7 men make up the top 10 influencers in this category.
Representation by women 30%
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