Influencer marketing is a very interesting industry for many reasons, partly because it is run by many innovative players and also because it is constantly updated and changed with new apps, tools and influencers. Although perhaps the most interesting feature of the industry is that it is dominated by women.
In fact, women surpass men on virtually every point in influencer marketing and we see no sign of that trend dying out. We would also like to add that this is a global pattern that we see everywhere where influencer marketing has taken root. Therefore, there is no doubt today that influencer marketing is one of the industries where women rule over men.
But the question is how it turned out like this. How have women managed to dominate an entire market and who are these huge influencers?
To answer those questions, we will take a closer look at the gender roles in influencer marketing, where we will also discuss some of the biggest names on Instagram both in Sweden and abroad.
Instagram is home to the world’s biggest influencers
Our goal is to create as clear and straightforward an image as possible and therefore we will only focus on Instagram. The reason for this is that Instagram is the largest platform for influencers, which also means that this is where influencers are most active. In addition, other platforms such as Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter tend to have more specific users and niches making it difficult to compare them.
According to most experts, there are two ways to determine how big an influencer on Instagram is. The most common is to count the number of followers to determine who has the most, even if it is simple, it is not optimal. The second option involves comparing an influencer’s commitment to the number of followers, how fast the account grows, and so on. The idea is that in this way one can form an idea of how influential a certain influencer actually is and whether it continues to reach new followers.
No matter how you choose to examine the market, you will get a top list with the majority of women.
To prove this, we have put together a detailed list of Sweden’s five largest influencers and a summary of the most influential Instagram accounts in the world further down the page, but before that we thought we would take the opportunity to answer the question we all ask ourselves:
How come women dominate?
As you can probably guess, this is a topic that many like to speculate about and there are thousands of answers online that are often based on rumors and personal opinions, but there is also some evidence that can help form a more accurate opinion.
For example, the biggest categories on Instagram right now are fashion, fitness, food, lifestyle and travel. Within the user groups that have an interest in these categories, the majority are women and because women prefer to follow and look up to other women, it did not take long before dominance was a fact.
In addition, we also have some social norms in society that make it easier for women to reach unimaginable heights on social media. Fashion, beauty and fitness are three markets that are often sold using models, or in this case with influencers as models, and the world’s largest models are and have almost always been women. In addition, both consumers and retailers are used to seeing the majority of female models and therefore it becomes easy to copy the system used in traditional marketing to social media. The difference is of course that an influencer has more control and freedom over his brand than a model.
Another reason why influencer marketing became a female-dominated industry has to do with influencers themselves.
The concept of selling and marketing products and brands on social media was born in women. It was influencers like Kim Kardashian – who at the time was considered a B- or even C-celebrity – who quickly saw the potential social media offered and did not hesitate to take it upon themselves. In turn, this has helped to create a market that is not only attractive to women but in many cases completely controlled by women.
In other words, it was a combination of the people who use our largest social media platforms, the industries that are easiest to market on social media and influencers themselves who molded the design of today’s industry. There are no signs that this would change, quite the opposite.
Although there are more male influencers now than ever before, they are still outcompeted by their female colleagues.
Who is the biggest on Instagram?
If we start by taking a look at the largest accounts in the world, we will soon see that both the top 10 and top 20 list are completely dominated by women.
At the time of writing, the first place is held by the football player Cristiano Ronaldo (151 million followers) but he is the exception that confirms the rule. Apart from Ronaldo, we find only two other men in the top 10 list of the largest accounts on Instagram and only a total of 5 in the top 20 list.
In recent years, there has been a protracted battle over which influencer should be crowned Queen of Instagram. For a long time it was between Beyonce and Kim Kardashian and both Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande have had their moment in the spotlight. In recent years, however, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian and her half-sister Kylie Jenner have dominated.
Biggest account does not necessarily mean biggest influence
Something many people forget to consider is the actual influence of influencers on Instagram. As you can see, the top 10 list and also the top 20 list only consists of people who have become known for reasons other than their Instagram accounts. The only exception is Kardashian / Jenner – the family who more or less built their success on social media. Because of this, it is important for brands to review an influencer’s other figures before entering into a partnership. Things like ‘level of engagement’, how fast the account grows, who the influencer has worked with before are important aspects to consider.
To offer an example of what we mean, we have collected 5 of the most influential accounts on Instagram right now. As you will soon see, it is a mix of the biggest accounts and the most influential influencers.
1. Kylie Jenner
With 125 million followers, Kylie Jenner is without a doubt one of the most effective influencers on Instagram ever. Although she has benefited from having the sisters she has and their TV series ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, much of her success has been for her use of social media. Today, Kylie owns a global makeup empire and according to Forbes, she is the youngest “self-made” dollar billionaire ever.
Despite her young age, Selena Gomez has had a long and impressive career in music and television, resulting in more than 144 million followers on Instagram. In general, we appreciate people being inspired by people we can either relate to or look up to, and Selena Gomez offers a unique combination of both.
Compared to the first two on the list, Huda Kattan with its 32 million followers has a much smaller account. But as I said, it really does not mean that she has a minor influence. Huda Kattan is a make-up artist, beauty blogger and entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in his how-to videos and reviews. Today she also owns her own make-up company and despite her large following on Instagram, the blog is still the focus.
4. Nikkie the Hunter
We mentioned earlier that women dominate social media no matter where in the world you look and Nikkie de Jager is a perfect example of this. With more than 11 million followers on Instagram, she is the Netherlands’ biggest influencer and one of the most influential influencers in the world. Like most people on this list, Nikkie de Jager is a beauty blogger who shares beauty tips and makeup guides.
5. Michelle Lewin
Today, one of the biggest categories on Instagram is fitness and when it comes to fitness on Instagram, few can compete with Michelle Lewis. The model is originally from Venezuela but now lives in Florida with her Swedish husband and also influencer colleague Jimmy Lewin. Michelle Lewin has 13.3 million followers on Instagram and in addition she has one of the fastest growing accounts on the platform which on average gets 20,000+ new followers a day.
Sweden’s largest influencers
Let’s continue with the Swedish market and influencers.
Just as internationally, it is fitness, fashion and travel that dominate, but unlike many other countries, it is not celebrities who have the largest accounts but more “pure” influencers. In addition, the number of men with large influencer accounts in Sweden is smaller in percentage than internationally.
1. Anna Nyström
On Instagram, it is Anna Nyström with 7.4 million followers who is the largest in Sweden. Anna is a health and fitness blogger with a large international following and among all Sweden’s biggest influencers she has the highest commitment.
In addition to running her blog and her very successful Instagram account, Anna organizes fitness retreats all over the world.
2. Rachel Brathen
Yoga guru and fitness blogger Rachel Brathen ends up in second place with 2.15 million followers. Rachel Brathen became an international sensation when her debut book “Yoga Girl” ended up on the New York Times Bestseller list.
In addition to her blog and Instagram account, Rachel holds yoga retreats and trainings, shares tips for new moms and is behind the hashtag #yogaeverydamnday, which currently has more than 15 million posts on Instagram.
Linn Löwes is another fitness blogger with an international following. Today, Linn Löwe’s has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, where she shares health and exercise tips.
Linn has also survived cancer and shares how that experience shaped her life.
4. Kenza Zouiten
Kenza hardly needs an introduction today as she has been one of Sweden’s leading fashion blogs for more than 10 years. Today, she has 1.8 million followers on Instagram, although it is with her large fashion empire and clothing collections that she reaches most people.
In the winter of 2018, Kenza announced that she is expecting a baby and we can expect that the focus on the blog and Instagram will shift as a result.
5. Janni Delér
Janni Olsson Delér is a Swedish fashion and travel blogger from Stockholm who currently lives in Monaco. She has over 1.3 million followers on Instagram and shares everything from fashion tips and clothes to more lifestyle-oriented content.
One of Janni’s big focus is travel and she covers beautiful and interesting destinations on both Instagram and her personal blog.
A few last words
As one of the few industries in the world that today is completely dominated by women, the influencer marketing industry continues to both impress and amaze.
Thanks to a strong focus on fashion, fitness and lifestyle influencers, the women of the world have succeeded in taking over one of the world’s most relevant and influential industries.
We have also learned that these enormously driven women have the ability to spread their message much further than just on Instagram. In fact, the influencers we mentioned above all represent a brand that is not only bigger than themselves but that is constantly growing and spreading across industry boundaries.
That women’s dominance on social media is here to stay is no longer an issue and we are following developments with excitement.