Television has the Nielsen ratings and financial service providers look at FICO scores. Today there are several ratings standards to measure influence but most are less than three years old and a clear leader will not be established for some time. Over the last 10 years influencer marketing has not only become more relevant but also more measurable as a growing number of social media platforms produce data that can be tracked. We will look at five existing ratings of influence and compare how they differ.
Klout is perhaps the most well known of these standards as they have been around the longest and are easily accessible. The Klout formula to measure influence is based on three factors:
- Reach: Number of people you influence.
- Amplification: How much you influence them. This measures the extent which you are retweeted, liked, referenced (with the @) and commented upon.
- Network: How influential are the people you influence.
Klout relies on data from the following social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Foursquare, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Last.fm, and blog activity.
The benefits of Klout are that it provides one simple number that is easy to view in the Twitter feed. This simplicity may also be a negative attribute of the Klout score as many argue that influence is too nuanced to be easily summed up in one number.
Klout has recently tried to identify influence in specific categories with +K. This new addition allows peers to give a +K for specific topics. For instance, if I believe that someone has influenced me on my film choice I might give them a +K for film.
Of all the scoring systems, Klout is the most viewed as a vanity metrics in which users display, flaunt and publicize their scores. The upside is that it has increased awareness of the standard but the downside is that user concern with their score is more likely to lead to manipulation and less accurate information for marketers. Moreover, as a vanity metrics, users are more likely to be offended by negative changes to their scores. Klout has been subjected to a backlash as they recently changed their scoring formula.
Benefits: Simple score, Largest reach, Easy access
Detriments: Lacking transparency, motivation to manipulate, questionable ability to measure influence in specific topics
The Kred standard was launched this year by PeopleBrowsr, a social data mining company. They provide two scores:
- Influence: The ability to inspire others. This is generally similar to the Klout score in that it assesses new followers, retweets and replies.
- Outreach: This measures the degree you retweet and reply to others.
Kred primarily relies on data from Twitter but also looks at Facebook and Google + activity.
With its two-part score Kred goes beyond measuring action and also looks at interaction. It also tries to determine a user’s influence within a specific community by reviewing information in a user’s bio. Like +K, this has shortcomings and is easy to manipulate.
Kred relies heavily on transparency to differentiate itself from Klout.
Benefits: Includes outreach, Transparency
Detriments: Topical influence can be manipulated, Includes few social networks
PeerIndex is also a relative newcomer that measures three factors:
- Audience and Resonance: Number of people reached and impacted
- Authority: Reliance by others on your recommendations
- Activity: How much you do related to your topic
This standard mines data from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, and blogs to determine a person’s influence
PeerIndex recognizes that popularity does not mean authority. In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell identified three types of people that create influence: connectors, mavens and salespeople. Connectors are those that have reach and impact and would have a high Audience score whereas Mavens are people who would have a high Authority and Activity score.
PeerIndex places more emphasis on influence in specific topics. This provides more accurate information to marketers but also makes it more difficult to navigate.
Benefits: Includes Authority as well as Reach, Topical
ProSkore has received a great deal of buzz lately because its launch coincided with the Klout backlash resulting in many transferring their allegiance to ProSkore over Klout. However, ProSkore is the least similar to Klout. The company’s management concedes that Klout measures a different metrics and target a different market. Klout measures social influence whereas ProSkore measures professional influence and Klout is a tool for brand managers whereas ProSkore is a tool for professional networkers.
The ProSkore rating combines two elements:
- Social Influence: This is similar to a Klout score
- Professional Resume: This looks at your skills and competencies.
Obtaining a ProSkore is less passive than obtaining a Klout score. For Klout one merely needs to provide access to various social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook. For ProSkore, the user needs to actively build a profile.
The upside of ProSkore is that it is much more subject-matter specific and region-specific.
Benefits: Measures professional influence, Topical and regional
Detriments: Complexity to create an account
Twitalyzer only relies on data from Twitter and develops a score based on the following:
- Number of followers,
- Number of people following,
- Number of retweets,
- How often an account replies to other users and engages in conversations.
These criteria are similar to Kred in that both followers and followings are included in the equation. Reliance solely on Twitter data may appear to be a detriment but most of the other standards currently are heavily weighted toward Twitter data as well. Over the long term being limited to only Twitter data will cause Twitalyzer to be less effective than others at measuring influence.
Benefits: Simplicity, Transparency
Detriments: Only studies one social network
Although these five standards are competitors they can coexist as each has a unique focus: Klout (an overall score that is simple to view and communicate), Kred (emphasis on outreach as well as influence), PeerIndex (a more detailed understanding of influence in specific areas), ProSkore (professional influence) and Twitalyzer (a Twitter-specific analytics tool).
Nielsen and FICO have become ubiquitous in their fields but they have been around for 90 and 55 years respectively. Time will tell which of these ratings will become the universal standard of influence over time or whether a new standard will replace them all.