Targeting Nearby Influencers: the Acceleration of Natural Triadic Closure by Leveraging Interconnectors

Andreas Lanz

Forthcoming publication by Prof. Dr. Andreas U. Lanz in the Journal of Marketing.

Abstract: On user-generated content platforms, individuals and firms alike seek to build and expand their follower base to eventually increase the reach of the content they upload. The bulk of the seeding literature in marketing suggests targeting users with a large follower base—the high-status influencers. In contrast, some recent studies find targeting lower-status influencers to be a more effective seeding policy. In this multi-method paper, we shift the focus from the follower base of the seeding target to the focal content creator. We propose accelerating natural triadic closure by leveraging the first-degree followers as interconnectors to target the second-degree followers––i.e., the nearby (low-status) influencers (who are interconnected with the focal content creator). Empirical studies document that this seeding target is much more effective for building and expanding the follower base, compared to targeting influencers who are not interconnected with the focal content creator––i.e., the remote (both high- and low-status) influencers by 2,300% and 46%, respectively. These studies on the acceleration of natural triadic closure are augmented by a pre-registered field experiment to obtain convergent validity of the findings.

Cite article: Goldenberg, Jacob, Andreas Lanz, Daniel Shapira, and Florian Stahl (2023), “Targeting Nearby Influencers: The Acceleration of Natural Triadic Closure by Leveraging Interconnectors,” Journal of Marketing, forthcoming.

Read article