Yahoo has patented an idea on a new system of ad charging which would encourage marketers to bid against each other to target more influential customers.
The firm suggests internet users could be given a score based on their perceived social influence, taking into account factors like Twitter followers and mentions.
"The level of social influence may be based upon factors such as the number of followers of the user, the number of contacts of the user, and/or the title of the user," the patent says.
"In this manner, an advertiser may be billed a higher amount for advertisements provided to users having a higher social authority score than for advertisements provided to users having a lower social authority score."
The patent was filed at the end of 2011 but has only just been published.