Earlier this year, Josh  Bernoff and Augie Ray introduced a new way to look at influential consumers called Peer Influence Analysis — and showed off some great data from the US market to support their analysis. I’m pleased to report that we now have this same data available in Western Europe as well.

Peer Influence Analysis introduces that idea that there are two distinct groups on influential consumers online: 1) the Mass Mavens who use blogs, forums, and review sites to share complete opinions about brands and products online (creating what we call "influence posts"), and 2) the Mass Connectors who use sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect their friends to influential content from companies and consumers (creating what we call "influence impressions"). Josh and Augie found that both types of influence were highly concentrated: In the US, only 13.8% of online consumers create 80% of influence posts, and just 6.2% of online consumers create 80% of all influence impressions.

Somewhat remarkably, in my new report on peer influence in Europe, we found that peer influence in Europe is further concentrated still. Across Western Europe, just 11.1% of online users create 80% of all influence posts — and only 4% of online users are responsible for 80% of all influence impressions:

European Peer Influence Analysis Data

There are lots of nuances from country to country and audience to audience — like the fact that influence is even more concentrated in Germany than it is in the rest of Europe, or the fact that a whopping 78% of UK influence impressions occur on Facebook, compared with "only" 62% in the US — but it's the top-line data that I find most staggering: Combined, European online users created 1.1 billion influence posts and 120 billion influence impressions every year.

As we keep saying — with numbers like this, who can really claim that social media (and particularly peer influence) isn’t a mass medium?