British electrical retailer Currys looked at online search volumes and Instagram posts to determine the most famous video game characters in the world. And with a global monthly search volume of 6.7 million, Sonic tops the ranking of the most searched-for video game character. The speedy Sega character is followed by the cheeky Pokémon character Pikachu (3.7 million), the ever-hungry Pac-man (3 million), and the mustached Nintendo plumber Mario (2.1 million).
Pikachu, meanwhile, is the most popular video game character on Instagram. The electric-type pocket monster secures the first spot in the ranking for the greatest number of social media posts hashtagged with his name (7.4 million). He’s joined in the top four by Mario (5.5 million), Sonic (3.2 million), and Big Boss (2.8 million) from the Metal Gear video game series.
If Sonic decided to become a social media influencer, he could pocket $67,000 per sponsored post. The next top earner as an influencer would be Pikachu with $37,000 per post, followed by Pac-man and Mario with $30,000 and $21,000 per post, respectively.
Currys identified the top video game characters using Google searches. From this, Currys created a list of approximately 100 characters, which was then cut down to 15 based on the highest search volumes, using SEMRush.
The Instagram hashtag counts are based on the number of posts hashtagged with the characters’ names, while the potential Instagram earnings were calculated by using the search volume for each character as a hypothetical “follower count.” With these figures, Currys came up with an earning per post based on an unspoken industry-standard rate of $100 per 10,000 followers.