Klout Disses Bieber but We’re Still Not Sold

We’re not yet convinced the new Klout has much clout at all.  

Klout revealed a new scoring algorithm this week, along with a couple other changes to its website that will be rolled out in the coming weeks. In case you didn’t know, Klout is a tool that measures an individual’s online influence and assigns them a ‘Klout Score,’ a credit score-like number from 1 to 100, similar to the Q Score offered by Marketing Evaluations, Inc.

A high Klout Score seems to validate the many hours a social media maven spends online, but is it really a legitimate tool for measuring influence?

Before Klout revealed its new algorithm, the service’s metrics showed that Justin Bieber was more influential than the President Obama. So, it’s not difficult to tell why many dismissed Klout because of such off-kilter measurements and its lack of transparency.

The Klout remodel is highlighted by three key factors according to the service’s blog: “increased accuracy, more transparency, and a new, elegant site design.” Added measurements from seven different networks, including using Wikipedia as a signal to indicate real-world influence, has made a difference already.

The President now has a Klout Score of 99 while the Biebs is a 92, and many others noticed an increase in their scores when they logged on after Tuesday.

The only tangible increase in transparency we can see will be Klout’s new ‘Moments’ feature. The Klout blog says the addition “displays the content and ideas that have been most influential across all of your networks, all in one place.” Basically, it will tell you what actions you have performed online that yielded the higher increase in your Klout Score. This feature will roll out in the next few weeks.

What’s the difference between Klout and Q scores? Klout aggregates publicly available information. Q Score, born back in 1963, is a proprietary measurement targeted to the subject of your research. Klout purports to measure ‘influence.’ Marketing Evaluations measures … well … whatever you want measured, but a Q Score usually refers to brand familiarity and likeability.

What is the benefit of having a high Klout Score? Well, many companies target individuals with high Klout scores by offering them ‘perks’ in hopes they’ll tweet, blog, or write on Facebook about the product or service. You could say that while Q is a measurement of brands that can be marketed, Klout is a measurement of the people who can market brands.

However, we’re not thoroughly convinced that Klout’s remodel necessarily makes it a far more legitimate tool for measuring influence. But people who can personally market products, ideas, and even political positions, are valuable to marketers who have brands to promote and products to sell.

One of the social media advantages of Klout over Q is this: you can measure you. If you’re registered with Klout, you already know a quantified score of your influence within the sphere of social media. In fact, even if you aren’t registered, you are already being measured if you interact with anyone already profiled with Klout, and they claim 100 million profiles.

Although Klout’s new algorithms crunch A LOT of numbers, media professionals will remind you that social media is not all media, and the usable data Klout has still feels hidden behind a number.

[Image credits: Klout]

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