Klout, Kred and The Science of Influencer Marketing

Social media never stops!

It is difficult to go on vacation in the era of social media. Behind the scenes, the major networks have benefited from the summer months to develop a range of new applications for business and web professionals. More than ever, influencer marketing has revealed the need for new tools for brands and professionals on the social web.

A few weeks ago, Klout, which calls itself “the standard of influence in social media,” has also made new major changes in its measurement tool and added some new features. Kred, its competitor, then immediately countered with further improvements. It was enough to relaunch the debate on influencer marketing.




Twelve Experts (and me) Share Their Views

Based a discussion on the new metrics announced by Klout, I suggested to Neal Schaffer of Windmill Networking, to ask the opinion of many social media experts. Despite their many fields of expertise, a dozen of the most prominent specialists spontaneously answered the call and made generous contribution.  I thank Neal for inviting me to contribute. By grouping the advice of a dozen experts (and me), this initiative has provided readers with a diverse and more complete overview, allowing them to provide themselves with an informed opinion.

Before presenting my point of view, I would like to offer an overview of the  opinions compiled by Neal Schaffer. You will find, among other things, the thoughts of Jeremiah Owyang, Mark Schaefer, Jay Baer, Jason Falls, Jure Klepic, Mari Smith, Deirde Breakenridge, Kathryn Rose, Marcy Massura, Lilach Bullock, Judy Gombita, Kristi Hines, and of course Neal Schaffer. The response from  Windmill Networking readers has been extraordinary with over 1500 shares, more than 850 “retweets”.

The influencer marketing is a new science that is still in its infancy. Amongst the experts consulted by Neal Schaffer, opinions are quite divided.  Some recognized the  several positive aspects and somehow more mature in the search for a better understanding.  The tool has made improvements with features, “Moments”, including the fact that we now see the impact of each of the networks in an overall score.

However, experts are more critical about the real value of new metrics (i.e., 400 signals rather than 300 as before, analyzed on a basis of 90 days rather than 30). It is amazing to think about the real impact metrics for analyzing the impact in real life (offline).  In general, remember that despite these innovations, Klout (like other tools) can never measure anything other than business and social capital. (Read: Influence Marketing – 13 Expert Views On Klout’s New Scoring Algorithm on Windmill Networking).

PS: I have also tried to provide you with expert advice francophones in Quebec, but from the 25 invitations that were sent, only one responded to my call, others who withdrew due to lack of time. It must be understood that the intention was there to participate by web professionals. This is great news. This would mean finally Quebec companies are willing adopt the science?!?

Klout “Moments”  vs. “Kred Story”

Imitating is not innovating“. This is the comment I made on the blog of Gary Schirr (@ProfessorGary) : New Klout: An Innovation Strategy?. In essence, I agree with Professor Gary. The changes announced by Klout should provide a more comprehensive and meaningful analysis of influence on social media. In my opinion, we are still far even if the Californian startup seems to be more transparent. Like Jeremiah Owyang, I still believe that it is only reaching a measurement of relative influence (according to our specialties / expertise) that will advance the new science of influencer marketing.

In fact, we can blame Klout with these changes that are to provide us with new features too similar to its main competitor, Kred, which it already offers. Is Klout trying to take over precisely what makes the difference from its competitor? Or is it seeking to simply enhance the scope of its rewards programs (i.e. “Perks”) developed with participating brands? (Read: Klout Perks Brands Improves Moments – Interview with Joe Fernandez (Klout CEO) Tim Peterson  in Adweek)

One of the main innovations announced by Klout, “Moments” proposes to identify and group interactions that have the most weight through our main social networking pages, based on the number of retweets and mentions that are gathered. The metrics used to establish the “Hall of Fame” of our content remain very vague and judgment given by the Klout team cannot determine precisely what function they have influenced our metric score.

Klout goes further by proposing a graph determines the weight of each of our connected networks. As Jay Baer points out in the Neal Schaffer article, I find it particularly interesting to analyze the impact of my various social channels. Facebook represents 56.57% of my score, followed by Twitter with 38.02%; however, I remain puzzled as to the assessment of my other professional channels, according to this graph, only 2.83% of my Klout score come from my activity on LinkedIn, and a minuscule 0.52% of Google+???

Anyway, I think one measurement tool will never be enough for meaningful analysis and should rather use several metrics to give a more complete picture of our capital. In fact, what I remember of the new feature of “Moments”,  Klout just reinforce this idea especially since we already found most of these features in its competitor, with the new “Kred Story” which gathers and presents the history of the best “posts.”

On the other hand, it is not the only novelty announced by Klout seems modeled on its competitor. In the wake of the new changes, Joe Fernandez also announced that Klout is now expanding its range of signals (i.e., from 300 signals to 400 signal), as well as the period (i.e., 90 days rather than 30 days) for analysis. With Kred, the user can dig back to 1000 days to analyze its impact across social networks. So where is the innovation?

Klout also wants to gradually introduce new metrics to evaluate influence in real life, by incorporating new signals from Wikipedia and LinkedIn. It also announced that it finally gives weight to the K + given and received by users, contrary to what implied from the beginning. In my opinion, these are new measures that will, in the short term, further distort the tool’s improved analysis. Already, we can imagine that some players try to monetize the K + and LinkedIn users to raise their scores. In my view, this practice has no value.

If you already use Kred, you will recognize that most of the changes by Klout fall in the same direction. I’m not saying that Kred is better than Klout. Personally, I think that Klout’s new metric provide no real value to the new science of influence marketing .

This is certainly not related to the mere fact that Justin Bieber is no longer regarded as the most important influencer on social media according to Klout.  Bieber has been replaced by Barack Obama (what a surprise!).   Despite the best efforts of his team, Klout is not and will never be anything else but a measurement tool among others

What do you think? Do you believe that the changes made by Klout will contribute to the progress of the new science of influencer marketing?  What tools do you use measurement to assess the impact of your activities in social networks? What importance do you give them?  Express and share your opinion by commenting on this article.

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Source: Paul Labelle, Photographer


Author of the books, “Culture Web à la portée des PME” and “Comment entreprendre le virage 2.0” Raymond Morin has written for several magazines over the past 10 years. Very active on social media, he has contributed to several online publications as guest blogger, including Trinity College School, Locita, and Intelegia. Raymond is a corporate trainer and is regularly invited to give lectures and training workshops to companies and organizations.







About Intelegia

Intelegia is a social marketing firm in Montreal, Canada. The firm delivers social media strategies to efficiently engage with stakeholders in economic development, business to business and business to consumer segments. It assists clients by defining and executing sustainable social web strategies that will allow their brand message to stand out in a competitive environment where target audience engagement is a must.

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