Over the last several years, digital marketing has become an essential part of every successful business — regardless of that business’ size. As a result, there are now thousands of industry experts who are more than willing to share their knowledge. But which experts stand out and have proven themselves to be leading authority figures?
When you think of the “top 50” of anything, many variables can come into play. Some of the ones I considered for this list include:
Usefulness and reliability of blog and social media posts
Advanced knowledge in one or more areas of online marketing
Size of audience
Level of engagement on their blog or social media
Ability to create and sustain a sense of community with their audience
So, what experts made my list? Here are my 50 top online marketing influencers I think you should follow in 2016.
1. Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishkin, a.k.a. “the ‘Wizard of Moz,” is the founder and former CEO of Moz and a leading expert in search-engine optimization, marketing and entrepreneurship. He’s also a speaker and author of titles like Inbound Marketing and SEO: Insights from the Moz Blog.
2. John Rampton
John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector, as well as founder of Due.com. He’s a frequent contributor for Entrepreneur.com, TechCrunch and The Huffington Post, and provides startup advice on his motivational blog. Rampton is a serial entrepreneur who loves building amazing products and services that scale.
3. Neil Patel
Neil Patel is best known as the founder of Crazy Egg, Quick Sprout, and KISSMetrics. As a web analytics, marketing and conversion expert and entrepreneur, Patel is also a regular contributor for publications such as Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and TechCrunch.
4. Ann Handley
Ann Handley is the author of the best-selling book Everybody Writes, as well as the chief content officer of MarketingProfs and co-founder of ClickZ. As a pioneer in digital marketing, Handley is also a keynote speaker and columnist for Entrepreneur.com.
5. Larry Kim
6. Wil Reynolds
7. Arnie Kuenn
Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures, the author of Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business and an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute and the Online Marketing Institute.
8. Heidi Cohen
Heidi Cohen is the chief content officer at Actionable Marketing Guide and president of Riverside Marketing Strategies. She is also a speaker and co-author of Instant Content Marketing Success: 10 Tips from Leading Content Marketing Experts.
9. Shama Hyder
Shama Hyder is the founder and CEO of Marketing Zen. She’s also the author of the best-selling book The Zen of Social Media Marketing and a keynote speaker, and was included in Forbes’ 30 Under 2015: Marketing & Advertising.
10. Amy Africa
11. Brian Halligan
12. Michael Brenner
13. Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi has been one of the leading online marketing influencers since he he coined the term “content marketing” in 2001. He’s the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, a speaker and the author of Content Inc.
14. Mari Smith
Mari Smith is regarded as one of the top authority figures in social media marketing, specifically Facebook. She’s also a speaker and co-author of The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web and Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day.
15. Tim Ash
16. Brian Massey
17. Jay Baer
Jay Baer is the renowned founder of the digital marketing consulting agency Convince & Convert, as well as a keynote speaker, digital media entrepreneur and author of the best-selling book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype.
18. Lee Odden
Lee Odden is an active thought leader in digital marketing and the CEO of TopRank. He’s been cited by major publications like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist, Fortune magazine and Entrepreneur.com.
19. Aleyda Solis
20. Gary Vaynerchuk
21. Richard Lorenzen
Richard Lorenzen is a New York media entrepreneur and the CEO of public relations firm Fifth Avenue Brands. He speaks frequently about entrepreneurship and is releasing a book in January 2016. His clients include Silicon Valley tech startups, New York hedge funds and national politicians.
22. Avinash Kaushik
Avinash Kaushik is the digital marketing evangelist for Google, co-founder and CEO for Market Motive and author of two best-selling books: Web Analytics 2.0, and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day. He also runs the popular website Occam’s Razor.
23. Oli Gardner
24. Angie Schottmuller
Angie Schottmuller is the director of interactive strategy and optimization at Three Deep Marketing, as well as a columnist at Search Engine Watch and a speaker at SES, SMX and OMS. She was named by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Online Marketers for 2015.
25. Leo Widrich
Leo Widrich is the co-founder and COO of Buffer, a company that prides itself for being a “smarter way to share on Twitter and Facebook.” When sharing advice on the Buffer Blog, Leo also writes for publications like Fast Company.
26. Peter Shankman
Known as the founder of HARO, as well as The Geek Factory, Inc., Peter Shankman has earned a reputation for his radical ideas regarding customer service, marketing, social media and PR. He’s also a speaker and author of four books, including Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans.
27. Pam Moore
Often called the “Marketing Nut,” Pam Moore is a consultant, speaker and author who excels at conversion optimization and social branding. She’s consistently been recognized as a top social media influencer.
28. Josh Steimle
Josh Steimle is the author of Chief Marketing Officers at Work, to be released in March 2016. He’s a contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, Mashable, TechCrunch and other publications, and is the CEO of MWI, a digital marketing agency he started in 1999 while a college student. He’s also a TEDx presenter and speaks regularly at marketing industry and startup events.
29. Matthew Barby
Matthew Barby is an award-winning blogger, speaker and lecturer for the Digital Marketing Institute. He’s also the Global Head of Growth & SEO for HubSpot.
30. Marcus Tober
Marcus Tober is the innovative thinker who founded the leading and cutting-edge search analytics company Searchmetrics. As a self-described big data geek, Marcus regularly discusses the industry at events across the world.
31. Jordie Van Rijn
32. Brian Clark
33. Melissa Mackey
34. Anita Perez-Valdez
Anita Perez-Valdez, a self-described data geek, is the co-founder and VP of operations at TopSpot Internet Marketing. Perez-Valdez was also one of the the first 100 people to become a Google Adwords Professional.
35. Tom Treanor
Tom Treanor is the director of content marketing and social media for Wrike. He’s also the founder and author for Right Mix Marketing, which helps small-to-medium-size business owners succeed in content marketing and social media.
36. Julie Joyce
37. John Boitnott
38. Eric Hebert
39. Pete Meyers
Having earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a PhD in cognitive psychology, Pete Meyers is best known as the “marketing scientist” at Moz, where he designed the Mozcast and curates the Google Algorithm History.
40. Roger Bryan
Roger Bryan is the founder of Enfusen, a content-marketing management platform. Enfusen’s Content Analytics Insights Tool was developed in conjunction with Microsoft to help drive cloud consumption across all of Microsoft’s solutions. He was invited to the White House in 2012 as one of the Most Influential Young Entrepreneurs in the United States.
41. Lisa Raehsler
42. Bryan Eisenberg
43. Murray Newlands
44. Andy Crestodina
45. Brian Sutter
As the the director of marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies, Brian Sutter is in charge of the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. He also shares his small business insights on Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and The Huffington Post.
46. Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan is a founding editor of Search Engine Land and industry expert who has often been cited in search engines and search marketing since 1996. He is also known for speaking around the world about marketing.
47. Jeff Bullas
Often considered one the industry’s top influencers and strategists, Jeff Bullas was named the No. 1 Content Marketing Influencer by Onalytica, and is a renowned blogger and speaker. He’s also the author of Blogging the Smart Way — How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media.
48. Ann Smarty
49. Robert Rose
Robert Rose is the chief strategy officer for the Content Marketing Institute, co-host of the podcast PNR’s This Old Marketing and author of Managing Content Marketing and Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing.