To predict behaviour at scale we need to understand how people behave within a group or community. Mapping an audience and understanding online influence is crucial to maximise the desired outcome, whether to reach audiences, engage for the first time or deepen an existing relationship. Our research has shown that four types of behaviour are exhibited within online communities.

The four types of behaviour

1) Bridge Nodes connect two different networks. These users can be spotted by the breadth of subjects they interact with compared to a relatively low number of connections. Bridge users are significant contributors to viral distribution by being members of many networks.
2) Gateway nodes connect bridges to communities. These nodes are crucial to onward distribution but typically hold strong opinions about what is relevant to their community. They can be identified by a high degree of activity on a very narrow subject.
3) Centrality nodes sit at the centre of communities and will have the highest number of connections within a single network. The genuine authority of a centrality node can be misleading, if they speak about themselves a lot. This is the case for many brands on social, including celebrities, where they would seem to have many followers but typically have very low engagement levels.
4) Finally consuming nodes are listeners, typically on the outer reaches of their community in terms of language and activity. While consuming nodes make up the majority of community members, they tend to be passive.