Klout Isn’t For End Users. It’s For Brands Looking To Target Them

January 23, 2012
2 Comments" class="comment_link">2 Comments

Everyone’s fired up about Klout – the site that ranks individuals on their influence and reach throughout social media networks. How does Klout measure that? They’re not telling. And despite an outcry from many demanding to know how scores are calculated, Klout remains tight lipped. And why shouldn’t they? Give away the recipe for the secret sauce and what do they have left?

Klout scores individuals. It provides badges for individuals to display their score. Through +K it allows others to give cred to individuals on various topics. Does Klout do this to make us feel warm and fuzzy? Or if you’re in the “Klout sucks camp” do you think they do this to piss us off? The misnomer is Klout scores are for the benefit of the individual. While some tout high scores as proof of their social media prowess, Klout really doesn’t care about pumping up egos. What really jazzes them is what can be done with all this data on the back end.

Consider the Nielson Ratings. Although inherently flawed as an audience measurement system, it has become the de facto standard of measurement in the television industry. The advertising world uses Nielson data to better target their audiences. I submit that Klout is the 21st Century version of the Nielsons, and you and I are the TV shows they’re rating.

Klout measures influence, and sells the data to companies wanting to engage with individuals that wield it. Those wearing crowns of influence are rewarded by brands seeking their attention (and retweets and likes and shares and mentions). Just like a high school clique, some on the outside looking in are usually quick to criticize all the while secretly desiring to join their ranks.

image from Bundle Post who had this to say on Klout

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  • http://adamjustice.me/ Adam Justice


    That’s a pretty good comparison to how Klout uses the data for income, but I believe that what Klout is doing is a little more complex than what Nielson does.

    If you think about it, they have to cater to the influencers, the sponsors, and the Internet as a whole. Even though the sponsors pay the bills, they need to create value for the influencers to keep the site running at critical mass. So even though the ratings are comparable to the Nielson ratings when it comes to sponsors, people pay to Watch TV, and advertisers pay for commercials. In Klout’s unique case they are paying people to watch the TV, they’re just paying more for influential viewers.

    I was always struck by how sleek the Klout score badge was. It is a backlink to their site with optimized anchors, and it’s a bread crumb for advertisement. They want to pay you to watch.

    Alexa may be a closer match to Nielson, but Klout is a pioneer in the same vein. It’s polarizing, so the jury is out on whether they are going to discover a new world or a wasteland.

  • http://social-tango.com Billy Delaney

    Jon, hi!
    Eventully Klout will become a credit score for influence like credit scores for borrowing money!

    We will be able to borrow influence to purchase something, do something or have something.

    Taking a vacation and all the costs associated it with it can eventually be blended into our social influence.

    I like the idea. I don’t and never did like cliques or clubs of exclusivity. Self serving circle jerks indeed.
    See you in or at the Slammer!! :O