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How do Influencers Impact the Media Agenda in AI?

by | Feb 28, 2019 | Best Practice,

Artificial Intelligence: what is it? How will it impact our lives? How will it be used? Will it actually take over? As the field emerges and becomes more widely discussed, social media’s role in shaping public debate answering these questions and more has never been more apparent, with more of us turning to social media for news.

Influencers in this space have the unique position & unprecedented opportunity to drive this global conversation in a way not previously available for established fields such as oil & gas, through engaging directly with the public – potentially disrupting the role traditional media outlets held.

So, how do the public interact differently with Influencers & the Media? How much more engagement can an influencer drive for a media outlet? Who are the influencers that media outlets are currently referencing? These are some of the questions this report will answer.

Who wins the battle on Reach & Engagement between influencers & Media Outlets?

Below is a comparison of the average audience size for influencers & the media, their activity level & their audiences’ engagement on their AI posts over the past 3 months.

The Top 50 Media Outlets had a 93x larger reach on average than the Top 50 Influencers yet, despite this, influencers’ average engagement per follower on AI posts was 128x higher than that seen for media outlets. This trend was also seen when looking at average engagement per AI post – where influencers received 58{d3572d286dca45c181c5e3939ba4769d8bae23639d901a68d9b79780d799af94} more engagement than media outlets.

So, what does this mean? This could be evidence to show that the public are more likely to engage with news & debate around AI when this comes from an influencer rather than from a media outlet. Increased engagement from Influencers’ audience was also seen when influencers were ‘behaving’ like media outlets – by sharing links to content. In this case, influencers received 143{d3572d286dca45c181c5e3939ba4769d8bae23639d901a68d9b79780d799af94} more engagement per 100 article shares than media outlets.

“Artificial intelligence is a broad field that brings various online media communities together. This diversity among AI influencers can produce divergent ideas and that’s a key aspect towards a healthy debate”.

Phil Siarri, founder of media property Nuadox.

“Onalytica’s findings indicating that the public interacts more with the AI influencer community over media outlets doesn’t surprise me at all. Key AI influencers play a very powerful role to spread AI insights, since they have high credibility with their engaged audience and are considered to be reliable and trusted source for AI insights.”

Spiros Margaris, Venture Capitalist and a top Fintech, Insurtech and AI influencer


Which media outlets do global AI influencers engage with the most?

We analyzed how many interactions there were between the Top 3,000 Global AI Influencers & the Top 1,000 Media Outlets to understand which Media Outlets are engaged with the most by influencers.

In this case, engagement means the number of Mentions & Retweets that particular outlet has received from our Global AI Influencers. These engagements are an indication of when influencers are replying to Media Outlets’ articles or re-posting their content both with their own opinion or without.

Over the past year, Forbes received the most inbound engagement from influencers on the topic of AI – receiving 4,303 Engagements from 3,000 Global AI Influencers. This success reflects Forbes’ global prominence as a publication – despite not specialising in AI, the outlet is frequently used as a news source for stories on AI.


Rank Twitter Handle Media Outlet Engagements received on AI

posts from Global AI Influencers

1 @Forbes Forbes 4303
2 @techreview MIT Technology Review 1964
3 @WIRED Wired 1180
4 @VentureBeat VentureBeat 1076
5 @ZDNet ZDNet 1029
6 @mashable Mashable 991
7 @TechCrunch TechCrunch 923
8 @HarvardBiz Harvard Business Review 872
9 @Medium Medium 676
10 @verge The Verge 639
11 @TechRepublic TechRepublic 624
12 @CNBC CNBC 616
13 @WSJ Wall Street Journal 537
14 @TheEconomist Economist 515
15 @nytimes The New York Times 497
16 @thenextweb The Next Web 454
17 @qz Quartz 445
18 @techinsider Tech Insider 373
19 @FortuneMagazine Fortune 370
20 @FT Financial Times 331
21 @LesEchos Les Echos 327
22 @guardian The Guardian 324
23 @CIOonline CIO 321
24 @businessinsider Business Insider 300
25 @CNET CNET 266
26 @DigitalTrends Digital Trends 252
27 @engadget Engadget 246
28 @Entrepreneur Entrepreneur 239
29 @business Bloomberg News 221
30 @Reuters Reuters 216
31 @InformationWeek InformationWeek 213
32 @FastCompany Fast Company 213
33 @nature Nature 199
34 @infoworld InfoWorld 163
35 @thenewstack The New Stack 158
36 @gigaom GigaOM 157
37 @pymnts PYMNTS 148
38 @RWW ReadWrite 139
39 @axios Axios 137
40 @LUsineDigitale Usine Digitale 132
41 @washingtonpost Washington Post 128
42 @TheRegister The Register 116
43 @lemondefr Le Monde 115
44 @NewYorker The New Yorker 111
45 @HealthITNews Healthcare IT News 111
46 @sciam Scientific American 110
47 @TheAtlantic The Atlantic 109
48 @globeandmail Globe and Mail 107
49 @siliconrepublic Silicon Republic 106
50 @AmerBanker American Banker 104

How much engagement do the Top 50 Influencers drive for Global Media Outlets?

The below table shows how many times the Top 50 Influencers shared articles/content from Top 1,000 Media Outlets on the topic of AI, alongside how much engagement (in the form of Likes & Retweets) these influencer posts received. This gives an indication of the role influencers have in helping media stories reach a wider audience, with influencers creating a more curated news feed for their audience.

Rank Outlet # of Content Shared Engagements on Influencer posts

featuring media content (Likes & Retweets)

1 Forbes 542 14,225
2 Medium 360 13,167
3 Technology Review 187 5,527
4 VentureBeat 115 2,211
5 Wired 89 1,627
6 ZDNet 84 1,870
7 The New York Times 82 1,449
8 The Verge 79 1,725
9 Financial Times 64 1,007
10 TechRepublic 61 1,336
11 TechCrunch 58 1,505
12 Fortune 56 1,338
13 The Wall Street Journal 47 1,112
14 Bloomberg News 46 1,146
15 The Guardian 45 998
16 Entrepreneur 45 892
17 Harvard Business Review 45 1,447
18 CNBC 42 1,128
19 Fast Company 37 700
20 Quartz 37 1,030
21 The Next Web 36 753
22 Daily Telegraph 36 613
23 The New Stack 32 1,706
24 South China Morning Post 30 765
25 Business Insider 25 441
26 The Washington Post 23 457
27 Digital Trends 21 661
28 Axios 21 313
29 Engadget 20 435
30 The New Yorker 20 700

Who are the top influencers influencing the Global Media Outlets over the past year?

The previous sections of this report have focused around how the end audience (the general public) engages with influencers & the media differently, showing how using influencers can help support the public’s engagement with media content.

Understanding which influencers are being referenced & mentioned by the media can indicate how media outlets are currently engaging with influencers, whether that is through influencer contributed content or through using quotes from influencers to lend credibility to an article.

We have analysed the interactions between Top 1,000 Media Outlets & Top 3,000 Global AI Influencers over the past year within the AI & Tech space. From this we have identified the 18 influencers who received the most mentions from the Global Media Outlets. The below table is ranked by a combination of how many times the influencers have been mentioned by Media Outlets, and the prominence of these outlets.


Twitter Handle Name Impressions generated by

Global Media Mentions

@SandraWachter5 Sandra Wachter 149022652
@kaifulee Kai Fu Lee 106561914
@AndrewYNg Andrew Ng 30597334
@etzioni Oren Etzioni 21289824
@pauldaugh Paul Daugherty 19514015
@hjameswilson James Wilson 16447297
@DavidLinthicum David Linthicum 13951612
@kaliouby Rana El Kaliouby 3757257
@ConnerForrest Conner Forrest 2521600
@SpirosMargaris Spiros Margaris 2309430
@mikko Mikko Hypponen 2161688
@rwang0 Ray Wang 1915522
@BrianHonan Brian Honan 1471395
@baskiyer Bask Iyer 1165979
@philsiarri Phil Siarri 691108
@AnnCavoukian Ann Cavoukian 627682
@schmarzo Bill Schmarzo 452920
@BernardMarr Bernard Marr 407144

“I am honoured to be included among the top Global AI influencers. Getting the message out widely has always been one of my goals, in an effort to raise public awareness of AI — the good, the bad and the ugly!”

Ann Cavoukian, Senior Fellow of the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre at Ryerson University



  • All analysis on AI, including Influencer & Media Outlet selection, was based on the global AI conversation covering 5 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French & German.
  • Firstly, we identified the Top 3,000 Global Influencers on AI based on topical authority, resonance and relevance from our global pool of half a million influencers.
    • From this list, we identified the Top 50 Influencers on AI based on Topical Authority (a measure of influencers’ expertise on a topic). These are the influencers referenced when the Top 50 are mentioned in this report.
    • For this report, journalists, & politicians were excluded from the definition of influencer.
  • From 4,000 Media Accounts worldwide, the top 1,000 within the Tech space were identified. From these, we identified the Top 50 Media Outlets on AI by potential impressions of their AI content on social (number of tweets on AI over the past 6 months x the handle’s reach).
  • All analysis is based on Twitter, as lot of public conversation around AI occur on Twitter.


Get in touch with a consultant here at Onaltyica to learn how you can integrate influencers into your marketing strategy.