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Forbes loves to sort people into billionaire lists and what-not, and today the media company is releasing its second quarterly list of the top influencers.

The list focuses on the world’s top influencers in entertainment, gaming, and travel. Forbes also debuted episode one of the second season of its video series “The Business of Influence,” a deep dive into influencer marketing.

The list is a collection of power players around the world who have turned their social media audiences — on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook — into fortunes and empires. The Top Influencers global list is published quarterly and ranks 10 superstars from each of three unique categories per launch.

“These social media power players have managed to monetize not just existing platforms, like Instagram and YouTube, but in many cases emerging apps and sites like and Twitch,” said Forbes staff writer Clare O’Connor, who oversees the Top Influencers franchise, in a statement. “They’re landing production deals based on their prowess on Vine, the now-defunct video app that forced users to be super creative, with only seconds to make an impact. In some cases, these folks can command seven figures per sponsored campaign.”


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Forbes ranked 30 international social media icons across Entertainment, Gaming, and Travel, and this diverse group of honorees comes from an array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Above: Forbes’ influencers list.

Image Credit: Forbes

Featured call-outs in each category are:

  • Lilly Singh (No. 1 in Entertainment) — The 28-year-old Canadian vlogger and comedian has grown her YouTube audience to 11 million subscribers and has recently become a New York Times bestselling author. Singh is Indo-Canadian, and she has channeled her multi-ethnic upbringing to create her wildly popular YouTube comedy skits.
  • Mark “Markiplier” Fischbach (No. 1 in Gaming) –The Hawaii-born YouTube gaming commentator, whose videos have received more than 7 billion views, hosts charity livestreams and has collected over $1 million in donations to date. Fischbach is of Korean descent, but was brought up as an army brat in Hawaii.
  • Brian “The Points Guy” Kelly (No. 1 in Travel) — The 34-year-old New Yorker has mastered the credit card points and frequent flyer mile systems. His following is such that Chase hired him to launch its newest card, paying upwards of seven figures for the campaign. Kelly is using his fame to advocate for life-saving causes. He has donated hundreds of thousands of air miles to Rainbow Railroad, helping to rescue LGBT people from places where their lives are at risk, most recently Chechnya.

For the second quarterly rollout, Forbes partnered with influencer analytics firm Traackr, using its proprietary data to measure reach, or audience size; resonance, or propensity for virality; and relevance, or engagement related to their area of expertise. With the help of social insight platform Captiv8, Forbes weighted each candidate’s potential for earnings per post according to the size of their following. Captiv8 also provided demographic snapshots of each influencer’s audience.

Forbes also reviewed each candidate’s endorsements and other businesses generated offline, like product lines and book deals.

Only influencers who made it big by building their fame from the internet up were included on this list, which did not focus on celebrities who also happen to have large audiences online. Forbes also only counted those who create original content and limited the scope of this list to influencers who mostly post in English. Social audience data for this second list is accurate as of May 2017.

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