STUDY: Klout May Not Really Measure Influence After All

Posted Mar 23, 2012

According to a study, Klout and other social media tools don’t actually know how users influence their networks. Klout and PeerIndex claim that they can measure influence, but what does it actually mean?

Brian Solis of The Altimeter Group said that social websites rank users’ social media influence don’t measure influence like they claim. Solis said that a user’s social media score measures their “capacity to influence” instead. ?Scores can be measures of social capital, but not true influence,? stated Solis.

Solis conducted research by interviewing vendors, conducting software demos, and brand reviewing. Solis also said that brands do not really understand influence.

?While these tools use sophisticated algorithms to calculate a corresponding number, they do not take into account all of the complexities of influence and the nature of relationships between people in social networks,? added Solis. ?As a result, brands are potentially misallocating precious resources based on the lack of understanding of what influence is and the role influencers play within customer markets.?

Klout said that they were aware of Solis’ report before it was published and they even had an advanced copy. Klout spokeswoman Lynn Fox did not say whether Klout agreed or disagreed with the report. ?The report reinforces that we came in early on and we are furthest along in the process of measuring influence in this market,? said Fox.

?The Pillars of Influence contribute to social capital, which indicates the likelihood to influence behavior, but a ‘score’ does not predict the resulting actions or outcomes,? said Solis. ?A score of 74 only represents the capacity to influence, but other variable come into play as defined by the Pillars of Influence.?

However PeerIndex CEO Azeem Azhar disagrees with Solis. However he said that the study is a great conversation driver. ?We are in a semantic battle here rather than a practical battle,? said Azhar. ?I don?t think there?s much difference between the capacity to influence and influence itself.? Klout said that they have an algorithm that was created by scientists and engineers.