Klout (the four-year-old social media influence measurement bunch) has announced what the company claims are some of the most significant product update in Klout's history. A Klout Score (which is a number between one and 100) represents a person's overall social media influence across multiple networks; it measures not just "Likes," but also who engages with that person's content and with whom they share it. The supposed value to brands is in identifying the so-called "influencers," those social-media mavens who ultimately drive brand awareness and purchases. Market to them, and you reach the market overall (at least in theory).
Among the updates are more data, more often, for an ostensibly more accurate Klout Score. Klout has increased the number of social media signals it analyzes from under 100 to more than 400; and has boosted the number of data points it analyzes on a daily basis from 1 billion to 12 billion.
Also in the works, "real-world influence," combining both online and offline measures and incorporating Wikipedia data among its measures. "We see a Wikipedia entry as a significant indicator of one’s ability to drive action in the real world," said the company in a statement. As Klout founder Joe Fernandez told Time Magazine, measuring real-world influence they materially changed the positioning of, for example, Justin Bieber versus President Obama. By the old measures, Bieber had a perfect Klout Score of 100 and Obama a 95; under the real-world measures, Bieber scored a 92 and Obama a 99. Neither person is insignificant, of course, and Bieber arguably presents greater marketing potential. But Obama matters more (less arguable), which the new score indicates. Klout’s Fernandez scores a Klout Score of 72.
"Moments" is an addition to the Klout user experience, displaying content and ideas that have been most influential across all of an influencer’s networks and in a single dashboard.
Finally, the company has redesigned Klout.com to deliver a cleaner, more authentic representation of the insights it delivers, also in dashboard format (see graphic). Time describes the new Klout overall as a "warmer, fuzzier bottom line on your online reputation."
Does It Have Real Business Utility?
It claims to—and Audi, Nike, P&G, Subway and a host of other major brands are among Klout's clients, past and present. Klout claims to measure influence based on the ability to drive action, rather than on "potentially misleading metrics" like follower or friend count. Klout has analyzed more than 85 million people on SocNets, and, and claims more than 3,000 brands and applications use its figures.
Audi used Klout Perks, which are exclusive products or experiences that brands offer social media influencers, and based on their influence. Perks may be simple discounts or big-ticket items like laptops and airline tickets. Audi used Klout Perks in the campaign around its Audi 2011 A8 launch, which it credits for reaching 217 influencers, 3,580 Tweets, reaching 3.1 million consumers and stockpiling 51.14 million impressions.