Thanks to social influence analyzer Klout's big update on Tuesday, President Barack Obama can now claim more sway than Justin Bieber. While this wasn’t Klout's primary goal, it highlights how the service has grown beyond basing importance on retweets and "likes." Founder and CEO Joe Fernandez said the new Klout scores influence based on 400 signals—up from 100—and that it measures 12 billion pieces of information per day since it now includes real-world data like Wikipedia and LinkedIn titles in addition to previous sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Foursquare.
The refined data crunching will give insights-hungry advertisers and agencies a better idea of who the influencers are, Fernandez said. But it’s not enough for brands to better identify influencers since what marketers really care about is whether those influencers, ahem, influence others. To that end, the new Klout introduces Klout Moments, which are items displayed on a user’s Klout profile that will show the tweets, status updates, etc., that carry the most weight with someone’s friends and followers.
“The idea with Moments was that we wanted to tell the story of somebody’s influence. You’re not influential because of retweets or 'likes' but because of the cool things or important things you say; that's what we want to highlight,” said Fernandez. “Moments is like the hall of fame of content creation.”
Among the potential inclusions in that hall of fame is content around Klout Perks. Until now Perks have been transient exercises. An influential user gets offered the ability to, say, test drive a Chevy Volt for a weekend, tweets about it afterwards and maybe one of their followers sees that tweet when initially posted and heads to a Chevy dealership, but other followers would be hard-pressed to come across that tweet even a month later. With Moments, that tweet could become a plaque on someone’s Klout profile page, so that if it still held sway months later, people would see it. “With Klout Moments, the fact that Perk content can be showcased on somebody’s profile ... that’s a great branding opportunity,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez stressed that Klout builds its products for influencers and then works with brands to recognize those influencers. Soon that process could get even easier. In May, Klout announced plans to roll out the +K button Web-wide, which would permit a Klout user reading an article about the Lakers signing Dwight Howard to designate the author as influential on the NBA or any other relevant topic. Fernandez told Adweek at the time that he was eying a June rollout, but that was shelved by work on yesterday’s update.
With a clearer workload, the Klout team has renewed focus on the +K button, and Fernandez said the company’s business development team will be heading to New York next week to meet with a number of online publishers about the tool.