Klout Tries to Adjust your Influence…Again

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Klout sent the social media world into a bit of an uproar on Oct. 26, when it tweaked how they measure influence. According to Klout, influence is the ability to drive action and is based on quality, not quantity.

When someone engages with your content, they assess the action in the context of the person’s own activity. Klout is using three metrics in its “PeopleRank” algorithm: how many people you influence, how much you influence them, and how influential those people are.I’m still not sold on the measuring of influence with an algorithm. But, there are folks out there that do use Klout to prove how influential a person is. In announcing the adjustments, Klout said:

A majority of users will see their Scores stay the same or go up but some users will see a drop. In fact, some of our Scores here at the Klout HQ will drop — our goal is accuracy above all else. We believe our users will be pleased with the improvements we’ve made.

Scores dropped as much as 20 points in some cases. And, no, users were not pleased. I did a scan of the Twittersphere and people were pretty ticked off. Need more proof? Over 1,000 comments in Klout’s blog announcement backed Twitter users complaints.

I’ve said this on occasion in Twitter chats and in speaking engagements: A Klout score does NOT accurately portray influence or who is influential.  In a guest post I did for Jeff Esposito’s blog in August on Klout (and the new Klout Perks), I said:

Klout has come under fire though as making influence a popularity contest. And with influencers now getting rewarded for their scores, it in many ways backs that angle up.

Imagine you’ve pitched a client on using Klout scores as a way to show who is influential. Now someone that seemed to have influence, has a score of 47 instead of 67. You’ll have some explaining to do in a client meeting for sure.

Gauging influence must come from listening and then engaging. I don’t believe for a second you can put a score on it.

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  • http://www.joelfortner.com Joel Fortner

    I work with scientifically backed opinion research daily.  I’m still not convinced Klout is a valuable measure of influence to trust for communication planning.  I see it is a push-button tool people want to use to replace solid opinion research of audiences.  Accurate research is hard and very few people understand the science behind it. I’m still learning. But I do know enough to see Klout as an untrustworthy tool.

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Joel,

      I appreciate your reply… and agree. Accurate research may be hard, but the results are better and more quantifiable. 

      Jason

  • Josh Gregory

    Klout = nothing.  CTR = something.

  • http://twitter.com/John_Trader1 John Trader

    Good post Jason. Let’s get down to brass tax here. It would be interesting to see Klout factor in their scoring how many social media platform activities by an individual foster leads that turn into sales. Because after all, that’s the ultimate goal for most in social media, right? Using their presence to listen, engage, and drive traffic to their Web sites or another call to action that drives sales. To me, that’s a real measure of influence. I don’t discount using social media for customer service and brand management but let’s face it, most of us are out there using it for our companies and clients to drive web site traffic and sales.

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      Thanks John!

      The sales algorithm would be intriguing. I think you are on to something there! :)

  • http://twitter.com/JGoldsborough JGoldsborough

    “Imagine you’ve pitched a client on using Klout scores as a way to show
    who is influential. Now someone that seemed to have influence, has a
    score of 47 instead of 67.”

    I hope no one has really done this :). Great insight as always, Jason.

    • http://twitter.com/JasMollica Jason Mollica

      I hope that someone hasn’t either, Justin. I’d be concerned with the “expert” that spun that.

  • Eric Van Buskirk

    People are AFRAID that they can’t speak up against klout.com.  They don’t dare mess with  the fake but folled authority we  gain from their games.

  • http://tweetphiladelphia.com Eric Van Buskirk

    People are AFRAID that they can’t speak up against klout.com.  They don’t dare mess with  the fake but folled authority we  gain from their games. I did something scary, which is to rank for one of their most popular search terms and have a negatitive write-up on my website.