There are dozens of quality indexes of social media influence out there, but Klout has separated itself out as the leader over the last year. Yesterday, they reached a major milestone by accumulating 100 million Klout scores in their database. That’s not to say they have 100 million “users” but Klout is one of those rare companies who do not need to follow the traditional definition of users to be successful.
They’re a data company first and foremost, which is why they could get bought out before the end of the year.
“We believe that every person who creates content online has influence,” said Klout CEO Joe Fernandez. “Our goal is to understand what they are influential about and who they are influencing.”
Klout is working with businesses to connect them with “influencers” on the web. Those people who are ordinary in every way other than that their messages and content are amplified through social media – those are the people that many businesses want to reach. It makes sense. Subway could pay a celebrity tens of thousands of dollars for 30-second commercial, then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars putting that commercial on television.
Or, they can go to Klout, give away one thousand $5 sandwiches to influencers and probably get as much if not more exposure.
Appealing to businesses is the current direction that the company is using to put together a revenue model, but it’s minimal and would never achieve the goals set aside by their investors. Luckily for them, it’s only a backup plan. The real goal is to take their relatively-accurate social media influence algorithm and database of information and sell it. With a mere $10 million in funding, the payout could be huge if they land a big fish.
That big fish will be Google.
The information that Klout has accumulated is all accessible by Google or anyone else with the resources. What Klout brings to the table is a method of understanding the data better than anyone else in the industry. Their system is very accurate compared to their competitors and has measures to separate out real amplification of messages from the artificially inflated amplification.
It’s exactly what Google needs for several of their products, most notably Google+ and Google Places. I would expect an offer before the end of the year.
My only problem with Klout? Why in the world am I influential about zombies? I don’t even like zombies! I am, however, prepared for the inevitable invasion.