Determining Influential Users in Internet Social Networks

44 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2009

See all articles by Michael Trusov

Michael Trusov

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business

Anand V. Bodapati

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Randolph E. Bucklin

UCLA Anderson School of Management

Date Written: April 20, 2009

Abstract

The success of Internet social networking sites depends on the number and activity levels of their user members. While users typically have numerous connections to other site members (i.e., “friends”), only a fraction of those “friends” may actually influence a member’s site usage. Since the influence of potentially hundreds of friends needs to be evaluated for each user, inferring precisely who is influential - and therefore of managerial interest for advertising targeting and retention efforts - is difficult. We develop an approach to determine which users have significant effects on the activities of others using the longitudinal records of members’ login activity. We propose a non-standard form of Bayesian shrinkage implemented in a Poisson regression. Instead of shrinking across panelists, strength is pooled across variables within the model for each user. The approach identifies the specific users who most influence others’ activity and does so considerably better than simpler alternatives. For the social networking site data, we find that, on average, about one-fifth of a user's friends actually influence his/her activity level on the site.

Keywords: Internet, Social Networking, Bayesian Methods

JEL Classification: C11

Suggested Citation

Trusov, Michael and Bodapati, Anand V. and Bucklin, Randolph E., Determining Influential Users in Internet Social Networks (April 20, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1479689 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1479689

Michael Trusov (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
(301) 405-5878 (Phone)
(301) 405-0146 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.emodeler.us

Anand V. Bodapati

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Randolph E. Bucklin

UCLA Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States
310-825-7339 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1,193
Abstract Views
5,002
rank
16,638
PlumX Metrics