Klout Rolls Out Another Update For Measuring Social Influence

Is Klout a useful B2B marketing tool or an exercise in vanity? I know people who fall on both sides of this question, and now I wonder if the latest round of changes Klout is making will change any of their opinions.KloutLogo

Klout is a service that measures a person’s social influence. Initially, a lot of that “influence” boiled down to the number of followers or friends a person had on major social networks, along with a few other key metrics. Since last year, however, Klout has rolled out a far more nuanced set of influence measurement tools.

The latest update continues this trend. Klout says it now analyzes more than 400 variables, ranging from standbys like Facebook Likes and Twitter retweets to less obvious factors like the number of inbound links to an individual’s Wikipedia page.

(Don’t have your own Wikipedia page? Yeah, me neither.)

Here’s my own take: Klout is clearly a sophisticated measurement tool, but what is it really measuring? They want to measure influence, but I still wonder whether they’re stuck with measuring activity as a (very limited) surrogate for influence.

I could be wrong about that. Some of the factors that define influence – timing, relevance, reach – can probably be captured and quantified. But there’s a subjective, and fairly intangible, aspect to influence that will be extremely difficult to capture.

This is an interesting topic for B2B marketers, many of whom invest a lot of time and effort in identifying key influencers. Since there’s money at stake, I’m sure the tools for doing this will continue to evolve and improve.

-Matthew McKenzie

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