The Value of Influencer Lists

Influencer list are ten a penny and while the idea behind it – recognising the most influential people in a sector and to find a lead in the noise that is the Internet – is honourable, the end result in many lists is far from it. Tomorrow, we will publish the final edition of the year our weekly list of influential people in the RegTech sector – the PlanetCompliance RegTech Top 50 Influencers. Like the RegTech Top 100 that focuses on RegTech companies, we are contemplating radical changes to this list. This post is to explain why and ask you for your opinion, but we also want to share some thoughts about the mechanisms of influencer lists in general.

The time between Christmas and the New Year is for us also a time to reflect on the past and think about what lies ahead. We have already taken the decision to revamp our popular The RegTech Top 100 Power List with the new version coming out next week. It’s been a tough decision to tamper with something that has been very popular and successful. The RegTech Top 100 Power List gets recalculated on weekly basis and it is fair to say that is the most viewed resource on RegTech firms across the Internet. But we wanted to focus less on social media and more on other things to provide our audience with a more accurate picture on the true value of the firms in a sector we follow closely. Not everyone will probably like the outcome but we felt it was the better way to provide readers with a better idea about RegTech companies.

Now you’ll say what is the point in these lists anyway? Influencer lists are often criticised for simply listing the people with the largest number of followers on social media, that the people making an impact in their industry but are ignored if they can’t transfer that to social media. There is also reason to query social media followings as the example of buying fake followers has shown. The New York Times  published a highly interesting article about the business behind influencer lists. It’s also in human nature that some so-called influencers try to capitalise on being listed. For instance, one executive told us about an argument with a so-called influencer where this person’s claim of authority was solely based on the participation in an industry ranking (though I was assured that it was not related to our lists) but held very little credibility in real terms.

On the other hand, we firmly believe that these list when done right provide significant value. Yes, you have to be mindful to fall for
Yes, they are to an extent subjective, it is not an exact science and asking ten people how they would rate certain factors, on which you base a ranking, you would possibly get ten different answers. Take the RegTech influencers list: The objective is to rank the individuals “that move the sector, are the most active on social media channels, blogs and industry events”. We believe it’s useful to know who these people are if only to stay up to date on what’s happening in the RegTech space. But we are fully aware that measuring influence accurately is a very difficult, if not impossible task, but still we try.

To show in what a pickle you can find yourself in if you run such a list, let’s have a look back at the results of 2018. You’ll find participants that have 50k, 100k or more followers on Twitter. They might cover FinTech more generally and speak about a number of related topics, but are, for example, regular keynote speaker at large events, and featured in the media extensively. This kind of influencer might be speaking or writing about RegTech less frequently than others, but when they do they potentially reach a wider audience and possibly with more impact. On the other hand, you have RegTech executives that probably have to focus a lot on all the other things of running a company and still regularly tweet about RegTech. But in most cases they have less than a thousand followers, so the reach is naturally limited and then there is, of course, the potential bias of working for one RegTech and so on. So, how should we asses and rate these two aspects respectively two different examples? Again, you ask ten people this question and you possibly get ten different answers.
Our calculations try to factor in the coverage of a larger number of events, looks at Twitter in a more depth than simply counting followers, as well as at Facebook, Linkedin to get a better impression of social media influence together with personal views about what gets posted.

Also, we have always tried and will continue to do comprehensive research on all of the participants of our lists and as we have shown we’re not afraid to make radical changes where we think they are necessary. So, we will also take a good look at the RegTech Top 50 Influencers and take some time to reflect if and what should be changed or done differently.

But as always, we would like to hear from the community! What are your thoughts? What should we change? And how?

Use this opportunity to help us create a list that better serves the RegTech community. Drop us a line at launch@planetcompliance.comor join the conversation on Twitter using #regtechinfluence

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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