Klout: Influence Across the Social Web
Influence can be defined as the power or ability to affect someone’s beliefs or actions.
There are a number of tools that measure influence across the social web. Klout in particular measures the influence for a Twitter account using a complex algorithm that calculates a score and even tells you who you are influencing and who is influencing you.
Klout’s own definition of influence is
the ability to drive people to action
Action, according to Klout, might be defined as a reply, a retweet or clicking on a link.
The Klout Score is a numerical representation of the size and strength of a person’s sphere of influence on Twitter. The scores range from 1-100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. The size of this sphere is calculated by measuring true reach (engaged followers and friends vs. spam bots, dead accounts, etc.). Strength of influence is calculated by tracking interactions across your social graph to determine the likelihood of someone listening to or acting upon any specific message.
One’s Klout is calculated as:
True Reach = the real size of your engaged audience
Amplification Probability = the likelihood that your message will generate retweets or spark a conversation
Network Score = a measurement of how influential are the people who retweet, @ mention, list and follow you
When you search a user on the Klout website, you get a Summary page, a Key Statistics page and a Content Analysis page:
- The Summary page shows a graph (“The Neighborhood Comparison Graph”) that visualizes relative influence and audience size across similar users. Klout group users into quadrants based on factors such as how often they tweet, who they follow and who follows them and how their audience interacts with the messages they create. In the example below, a Connector is a constant source of information to his/her friends and co-workers. The other categories are Persona, Climber, and Casual. The summary also displays a list of other Twitter users that are possibly influenced or influence the user you searched.
- Klout Score and Key Statistics: an analyisis of a user’s Reach, Demand, Engagement, Velocity and Activity
- Content Analysis: Tags, Top Retweets, Most Popular Shared Items
Registered users on Klout are able to login update their scores every 48 hours.
Klout’s differentiator is the ability to add context to a person’s influence, by measuring influence at the topical level, sorting individuals who demonstrate the ability to drive people to action within their social graphs when discussing particular subjects.
On the Klout website, you can search for any topic and find out who the influencers are. For example, this is a list of influential people covering “Earth Day“:
Some of the results are not exactly accurate. Some of these people talked about “Earth Day” recently or used a #EarthDay hashtag but that doesn’t mean that Earth-related topics matter to them. So engaging these people in conversations about climate change, clean energy etc is unlikely to catch their attention.
Some Klout critics blame this on the fact that keywords are not conversations, and with Twitter’s 140 characters the general subject of posts can be omitted.
Top influencers about your topic of choice can be saved as a Twitter list of followed one by one.
In November 2009, Klout announced Twitter Lists. This feature identifies and ranks the top influencers over the last 14 days for any topic of interest and produces a ranked list as a result. You can then follow the Klout-generated list on Twitter, or you can select individuals from the list and create your own list.
This allows users to modify a list started by someone else without having to recreate it.
Klout’s API is currently being used by more than 250 companies, including CoTweet, HootSuite, Trendrr, and the newly-launched Tweetup. Klout is free and, although it isn’t flawless, it is an excellent tool for companies that need to identify influential Twitter users they need to connect with to build awareness about a new product, as well as for marketers and advertisers that want to target influencers within a particular market.
In an effort to update our reviews, we reached out to the Klout team asking for their latest updates. They said they’ve had a new website for a while so I am going to take a new screenshot and paste it below.
The core functionalities are basically the same – Klout Summary, Score Analysis and Content Analysis – but they have some improved features:
Klout Score Analysis: With new percentiles shown next to each component, you’ll understand what your score means in relation to other influencers. Dynamic charts allow you to see how your stats are changing over time.
Content Analysis: They’re continuing to track your most influential content and topics, but now in an easier to understand format.