Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How Useful Is 'Klout'?

Klout was the first site to come along and try to gauge a users social media reach and quantify it with a score. The algorithm they used was a secret (of course0 and often the numbers didn't always seem to jive with what people felt their reach actually was, but they still used it.

Recently they made a change to their 'secret algorithm' which caused most users scores to plummet. Klout said they made the change to reflect a more accurate gauge of a users social media reach, but users have so far been unimpressed.

My personal Klout score dropped just nine points, but I have friends, social media professionals who are very active in their network; whose updates, Tweets and blog posts are traded around regularly, and yet their scores dropped 20 points or more.

I have been working hard to increase my Klout score by interacting with more people across more of the networks they monitor. I added and began using a Flickr account and an account at My score actually went down.

I understand the importance of keeping their algorithm a secret. Google does the same thing. However, Google's algorithm actually works. When I search for something on Google I find it. When I try to increase my Klout score, nothing happens.

I am beginning to think Klout is just another one of those social media analytics tools which promises to deliver useable results but really just wants to gather more users and make itself seem relevant when it's actually not.

What do YOU think? Leave me a comment below.

As Sherilynn Macale wrote on

Quantity over quality

“My Twitter stream this morning seemed to consist of nothing but negative reactions to the recently rolled out Klout score changes. Friends of mine . . . reported score drops as high as 20 points. Others, disturbed by the sudden score nosedive, were quick to dismiss Klout’s supposedly ‘more accurate’ scoring model.”

Accurate in what sense? As pollster Brian Singh of Zinc Research told me recently, Klout’s main flaw is it measures quantity of publishing versus quality then uses that as a proxy for influence.

“Klout’s notion of influence values breadth of topics and nature of interaction,” says Singh. “It does not capture the important dimension of quality – the quality of the network nor the quality and richness of a personal connection.”

It all comes down to what you think influence is, and whether an algorithm can capture that.

Click here to read more about the fallout from the changes at Klout or leave a comment below.


Mikel King said...

I am in the 20 point dropped category. I personally find the inclusion of factors like instagram a little telling of the worthlessness of klout. If you base a vanity metric on something that is not pervasive. then how accurate can this be? In addition klout really does only measure up to a vanity metric anyway. Certainly is not measuring 'real' engagement and interaction.

Mikel King

Jerry Battiste said...

I feel your pain. My Klout score also dropped, without explanation. Also, I too fail to see the connection between activity and my Klout score. Perhaps it will become more clear in the future.

Traci Gregory said...

Mine dropped 15 points - which would have been okay I guess, but they changed all the numbers of my engagement levels - those things couldn't have changed unless they were being counted incorrectly to begin with.

Which leaves me not very impressed with Klout.