Online influencer identification and measurement for use in marketing is a thorny problem, one that always requires manual oversight and tweaking to work. Output from influencer identification tools must be grafted and joined with existing and brand lists, and criteria for comparison are frequently soft. We found out just how soft in today’s session, when Joe Fernandez from Klout found himself waving at future features in order to explain why Justin Bieber holds the perfect 100 score on Twitter.
Influence is highly dependent on a range of factors from audience to content relevance to timeliness. However you slice the criteria, the essential argument against Justin Bieber holding a perfect Klout score is that it appears to indicate that he is influential across the board. Of course, that’s not the case if you’re trying to sell hip replacements or drilling equipment, or products for large segments of the male population.
Klout promised that the system they have built actually contains relevance weighting, just that it is not exposed to the public. Now is the time to prove it. I suspect that the problem is much harder to solve than they are disclosing, partly because solving it probably means solving the data aggregation problems facing the rest of the industry. No date was given for the release.
Meanwhile, Joe also disclosed that the 100 scale score was a more or less arbitrary choice, but now is set in stone for them. This seems like a missed opportunity, as exposing more about how influencers compare to each other would be valuable. Instead, we have general, indexed stats.
If and when Klout does release topic weighting, it will be an important moment for influencer scoring. We look forward to testing that service.
As always, please reach out with questions.