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Published November 28th 2018

The Most Influential Men and Women on Twitter 2018

The Brandwatch React team is back with the annual ranking of the most influential men and women on Twitter. Who will come top – tech giants, politicians, or pop stars?

“Fame is a fickle friend, Harry,” says Gilderoy Lockhart to Harry Potter in The Chamber of Secrets.

Gilderoy Lockhart may have turned out to be a fraud, but his advice is good – especially if you take a look at how much our influencer list has changed since last year.

Magical references aside (since no Harry Potter actors actually appear in our lists), it’s once again time for us to reveal the most influential men and women on Twitter.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.


Brandwatch uses a vast database of names to understand the gender of the person behind an account. Where the algorithm isn’t sure, it doesn’t assign a gender.

For this research we used Brandwatch Audiences to search for people that Brandwatch identifies as male and female and then ranked them using influencer metrics. Note: We also looked at accounts belonging to individuals where Brandwatch hadn’t identified a gender, finding accounts like “Taylor Swift”, since ‘Taylor’ could be categorized as either male or female, to make sure we caught all the influencers we needed.

The accounts were ranked according to a selection of criteria that added together to create their influence score. This is a measure of how influential an account is over time, based on the level of genuine engagement they are creating. While lots of followers, retweets and replies will help, the more influential the people they engage with, the better the score.

So, this research incorporates accounts’ gender categorization and influencer score to rank the most influential men and the most influential women on Twitter.

The follower counts listed below were correct and rounded to nearest million at the time of writing.

The Most Influential Men on Twitter 2018

Here are the men:

Name Twitter Handle Influencer Score Follower Count This year placement Last year placement
Liam Payne @LiamPayne 97 33 million 1 Not listed
Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump 96 56 million 2 2 (same)
Justin Bieber @justinbieber 95 105 million 3 1 (-2)
Barack Obama @BarackObama 95 103 million 4 8 (+4)
Cristiano Ronaldo @Cristiano 95 76 million 5 4 (-1)
Niall Horan @NiallOfficial 95 40 million 6 9 (+3)
Bruno Mars @BrunoMars 94 43 million 7 Not listed
Amitabh Bachchan @SrBachchan 94 36 million 8 Not listed
David Guetta @davidguetta 94 22 million 9 Not listed
A.R.Rahman @arrahman 94 21 million 10 Not listed

Liam Payne responded to the research by addressing his fans, saying “Wow can’t quite believe this. Couldn’t have done it without you … thanks for listening”.

The Most Influential Women on Twitter 2018

And here are the women:

Name Twitter handle Influencer score Follower count This year placement Last year placement
Taylor Swift @taylorswift13 98 84 million 1 Not listed
Katy Perry @katyperry 96 108 million 2 1 (-1)
Kim Kardashian West @KimKardashian 96 59 million 3 Not listed
Demi Lovato @ddlovato 96 57 million 4 5 (+1)
Ellen Degeneres @theellenshow 95 77 million 5 4 (-1)
Selena Gomez @selenagomez 95 57 million 6 6 (same)
Shakira @shakira 95 51 million 7 2 (-5)
Jennifer Lopez @jlo 95 44 million 8 3 (-5)
Rihanna @rihanna 94 89 million 9 Not listed
Lady Gaga @ladygaga 94 78 million 10 Not listed

A few thoughts and observations

  • Despite the two youngest people on both lists (Bieber, 24 and Payne, 25) being male, the average age for the most influential men is 44.7. The average age for women is 36.4, nearly 10 years younger.
  • On average,  the women in our lists had a higher influencer score than the men.
  • Overall there were nine newcomers across both lists. Last year that number was just four. That’s partially down to us changing our methodology to include people like Taylor Swift who wasn’t automatically categorized as female, but it’s also a sign of how quickly celebs can fall in and out of favor.
  • Justin Bieber, who’s been a constant on the top 10 list for the last three years, rarely uses Twitter and yet he’s able to generate a huge amount of engagement.
  • Musicians dominate both top 10s, particularly in the female list.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? Email us at [email protected] for more information.

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