Now we know. People make over 500 billion impressions on each other about products and services every year. And a small group of mass influencers are responsible for 80% of those impressions. This is the beginning of what we call Peer Influence Analysis.
Here's how it works. Start by counting every instance in which a person influences another person online about a product or service. (We model this from Forrester's 10,000 person survey, which asks how frequently they post, in what places, how many followers they have, and what products and services they post about.)
This influence comes in two types.
First, there is influence from people posting within social networks: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and so on. We call these instances influence impressions. Based on our surveys, we estimate people in the U.S. create 256 billion influence impression on each other in social networks every year. (Has anyone ever measured this number before?) Of these influence impressions, 62% come from Facebook.
Second, there is influence created by posts: blog posts, blog comments, discussion forum posts, and ratings and reviews. We call these influence posts. We estimate that people in the U.S. create 1.64 billion influence posts every year. If around 150 people view each of these posts (a conservative estimate, based on our research), that's another 250 billion-plus impressions. Blog posts and blog comments account for about 40% of these posts.
Add the impressions from both social networks and posts together and you get the 500 billion impressions.