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Early last week, Klout imposed a change in how they calculate Klout Scores. Yes, you heard right, the only score that Klout calculates has changed. But is it for the better? Marketers don’t appear to be very happy with it.

I signed up for Klout when they first launched in September of 2009. For those who were around then, social media was still somewhat infantile. Klout touted itself as “the Standard for Influence”, and people used it almost like a report card – showing how well they were doing online.

Now, this change has disrupted the rating criteria that these people used. However, I think that the underlying reason for our frustration isn’t necessarily “why did my Klout score drop by #?”, but the lack of knowledge about “what do I have to do to bring my Klout score back up?”

Well, Klout did mention this on their blog, I guess:

These principles form the basis of our PeopleRank algorithm which determines your Score based on:

  • how many people you influence,
  • how much you influence them and
  • how influential they are.

Is this the secret sauce, then? Maybe.

I often think little of my Klout Score, and maybe even less now that the meaning of Klout has changed so dramatically…

Klout Scores at Cardinal Path

I decided to take this internally and ask some of my friends at Cardinal Path to see of anyone had been affected by this change. Here is what we saw:

Cardinal Path =  48 down to 44 (-4)

Heather Conan = 46 up to 47 (+1)

Jackson Lo = 58 down to 51 (-7)

Jordan Louis = 39 down to 10 (-29) … 39 to 10 to 47 (+8)

Justin Cutroni = 68 down to 55 (-13)

Stephane Hamel  = 58 down to 46 (-12)

Our very own analytics guru, Stephane Hamel, not only saw a drop in his Klout Score, but was removed from the “web analytics” topic leader board. Where did he go!? Stephane said to me “I was once #3 or #4 of most influential people for the “web analytics” topic… I’m not even listed anymore!”

One of our web developers, Jordan Louis, saw his Klout Score fluctuate from 39 to 10, and then it shot back up to 47. For the most part, we were left puzzled with more tricks than treats this Halloween.

You are influential, so what!?

I’m not here to call out Klout, but one of the things that I’ve always been concerned about is, what is the ROI from social media? How is social media helping me achieve the goals we set forth? We have one very influential person in the industry, does his words reach ‘x’ number of people and how many of them convert to paying customers? I hope you think those are valid questions. If so, read on!

Having a healthy Klout Score probably means you are somewhat influential on Twitter or Facebook. You have a decent following and your message gets rebroadcasted to extended networks of other people see that what you’re sharing is valuable.

I like this article that Sherilynn Macale wrote about Klout’s recent change. I feel like, although this change may have affected MANY people, one must remember that Klout is only one metric out of many that we’re attempting to attribute success to social media.

But bottom line, I believe businesses need to understand how consumers are engaging with their online assets and how that contributes to our underlying value proposition(s).

Like most things that change in the digital marketing world, people come to accept it in the end.  I think once we understand more of the new Klout metric, it will bring more relief to marketers and all the complaints will just be a passing. But we shall see.

If you have been affected by the new change, please share your thoughts in the comments below!