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Launched: Digital #Influencer Index in #luxury and #lifestyle – Huda Kattan from UAE leads on Instagram

UAE’s Huda Kattan is ranked top beauty influencer and number one Instagrammer in global digital influencers across 16 markets

digital influencer index

SERMO, the first global network of communications agencies specialising in lifestyle and luxury, has published its Digital Influencer Index. Following last year’s Blogger Index, the report updates the network partners’ intelligence on working with digital influencers and identifies the most influential bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers and other social stars in the luxury and lifestyle space. It also sets out how to effectively engage these influencers.

In order to compile the index, the SERMO network developed its own unique digital influence scoring algorithm. The algorithm takes into account both an influencer’s ‘data score’ (their reach across all their key platforms), as well as a ‘relationship score’, based on each SERMO agency’s relationships with and experience of working with these influencers. An overall ‘influence score’ has been calculated for each digital influencer and is used to rank a top 10 list for each market the network’s partners operate in (16 in all), as well as a global top 16, comprising the top ranking influencer from each market.

The number one digital influencer from the UAE was beauty blogger and business mogul Huda Kattan. She was also ranked the overall top performer on Instagram with a following of 12.3 million, three times the following of the second highest Instagrammer in the index, Camila Coelho from Brazil.

As things change so quickly in the digital world, the report also looks, country by country, at the rising social and digital stars – the people who SERMO considers to be ‘ones to watch’ as their online influence is growing fast.

Tanya Hughes, president of SERMO, comments, “Clients come to us for bespoke, luxury and style digital influencer activation, both globally and in key local markets worldwide. When recommending which digital influencers are the most productive for our clients’ brands to work with, data can only go so far – you need the judgement that comes with experience. Especially in the world of luxury and lifestyle where the power of influence is not just a numbers game. We’ve set out a way that quantifies that human judgement and provides a way to measure digital influence that’s never been done before.”

Mojo PR Co-founders - Tara Rogers and Louise MezzinaTara Rogers, co-founder and managing partner of Mojo PR said, “With the number of digital influencers growing rapidly in the UAE, it has been a valuable exercise to track their performance over the last 12 months and benchmark this globally. What the SERMO Index has allowed us to do is show how the industry is professionalising from both a brand and follower engagement perspective. We’re really pleased to see Huda Kattan rank among the top digital influencers globally and to see the UAE’s top 10 digital influencers score favourably against other SERMO markets, considering the relatively nascent stage of digital marketing in our region.”

Summary of findings:

  • Bloggers and other social stars work in a multi-platform way to extend their influence and reach, each posting frequently to a minimum of two platforms. In many cases, bloggers’ readership figures have dwindled since their efforts are now more focused on platforms such as Instagram that have higher engagement levels.
  • The data shows that Instagram leads the way in all markets except Germany and Poland where blogs are still the most popular platform. Weibo dominates in China. This is no surprise – Instagram is the perfect platform for brands to be visually appealing and demonstrate a luxurious aesthetic. Instagram now dwarfs both Facebook and Twitter as a social platform, and Instagram’s engagement rates is over 10 times higher for brands in the fashion and beauty space.
  • Health, fitness and food blogs have overtaken pure-play fashion blogs. And digital influencers are increasingly multidiscipline, or ‘lifestyle’. They are sharing every aspect of their glossy, fabulous lives and showing followers ‘how to’.
  • Digital influencers, particularly vloggers, are now creating content in multiple languages to attract a larger and more global audience.
  • Beauty is a dominant subject online, particularly on Instagram. The Middle East’s Huda Beauty is queen of Instagram with a 12.3mn following, three times the following of our second highest Instagrammer, Camila Coelho from Brazil.
  • In the luxury lifestyle world, female commentators dominate – only 2 of our top 16 influencers are men.
  • Once the preserve of school kids, newer platforms such as Snapchat are starting to be used by brands.
  • Only 52 out of 160 digital influencers featured in this year’s Index, were included in the 2015 SERMO Blogger Index which goes to show how quickly the landscape’s changed
  • Many of these influencers have built fully-fledged businesses out of their commercialised online and social platforms; they make their money from a string of brand collaborations and affiliate sales. Some are charging upwards of £5,000 for a post featuring a product and £10,000 for a personal appearance.
  • Instagram and YouTube are a crucial channel for millennial marketing – they influence the purchasing decisions of 31% of millennials, particularly in the beauty category (WWD).

 SERMO’s top 16 list of digital influencers worldwide

Camila Coelho – Brazil

Dagi Bee (Dagmar Nicole Ochmanczyk) – Germany

Drea Chong (Andrea Chong) – Singapore

Enjoy Phoenix (Marie Lopez) – France

Fleur de Force (Fleur Bell) – UK

Gogoboi (Ye Si) – China

Elva Ni  – Hong Kong

Huda Beauty (Huda Kattan) – UAE

Lauren Curtis – Australia

Lovely Pepa (Alexandra Pereira) – Spain

Maffashion (Julia Kuczyńska) – Poland

MDV Style (Mariano Di Vaio) – Italy

Miss Malini (Malini Agarwal) – India

Sasha Spilberg – Russia

Song of Style (Aimee Song) – US

So Sue Me (Suzanne Jackson) – Ireland


SERMO’s rising social and digital stars (by country)



Amanda Mabel

Eleanor Pendleton



Lele Saddi

2Beauty (Marina Smith)



晚晚_ (Wanwan Lei)

张大奕EVE (Zhang Yi)



Petits Beguins (Maia Putelat Canet)

Souk and Pix (Sonia)



Caro Daur

Ebba Zingmark


Hong Kong

Xoxofei (Feiping Chang)

SueChangg (Sue Chang)



Merrylin Boro

Rasna Bhasin



Lauren Bejaoui

The Daily S’Elf (Nadia El Ferdaoussi)



Catherine Poulain

Ivano Marino



Ekskluzywny Menel (Kamil Pawelski)

Mr Vintage (Michał Kędziora)



How to Green (Alexandra Novikova)

Polina Rai (Polina Raiskaya)



Lennardy (Lennard Yeong)

Tabitha Nauser



MariaFrubies (Maria F-Rubíes Soler)

MonicAnoz (Monica Anoz)



Lebrasse (Kat Lebrasse)

Style is Necessity (Samantha Francis)



Livia’s Kitchen (Olivia Wollenberg)

We Are Twinset (Sarah Tankel Ellis & Philippa Bloom)



Gal Meets Glam (Julia Engel)

A Guy Named Patrick (Patrick Janelle)

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If you would like to establish your company’s presence on LinkedIn and have the option to create a Company Page or have a Showcase Page under your group company or parent brand – I have listed the differences between the two in this infographic.

Infographic LinkedIn Company Page Vs Showcase Page Pros Cons Differences

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Here are a few solid tops on how brands and businesses can use Snapchat marketing to reach a younger demographic on social media.


Energizer launches #thatspositivenergy #Ramadan campaign in #UAE – and I am in it! collaboration with Energizer Middle East and McCollins Media

I have been a loyal user of the Energiser brand (and a fan of its crazy bunny) for years. The brand approached me as a digital influencer in the Middle East through its digital agency to create a campaign for its target audience during Ramadan.

The campaign is centred around the theme of positive energy during ‪#‎Ramadan‬.

The brand video launching the campaign kicks off with me at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi which I suggested would be a good backdrop for this campaign – it also features my friend and fellow influencer Ion Gonzaga of the popular Boy Dubai blog and David Haddad, a former MIT Media Lab fellow and founder of Publiseek.

In the video I share my thoughts on ‪#‎compassion‬ and ‪#‎tolerance‬ – I believe ‪#‎thatspositivenergy‬ our world needs most currently.

You are welcome to share your thoughts, posts, images and videos too on what you think is positive energy – you could win an Iftar for Two if you are in the UAE.

Remember to make your entry public and hashtag it #thatspositivenergy [important – it’s a single letter ‘e’ between the words positive and energy].

If you post something for this campaign let me know in the comments (maybe post a link to the original post in the comments) and I will be happy to support your entry.