Is Klout Still Relevant?

In 2012 Klout executive, Matt Thomson, predicted that in the near future people with formidable Klout scores would board planes earlier, get free access to VIP airport lounges, stay in better hotel rooms, and receive deep discounts from retail stores and flash-sale outlets. “We say to brands that these are the people they should pay attention to most,” Thomson claimed in Wired Magazine. Four years later, most experts will agree that Klout has fizzled out, as one Motherboard blogger recently suggested, “because most people have the sense to dislike something that reduces their social impact to a number.”

Yet despite Slate declaring Klout dead in 2014 due to its failure to become the official scoreboard for social media, the social media giant has maintained a persistent presence. Having the attributes of being both free and widespread, Klout continues to be a powerful tool used by marketers and brands to find influential users and to help generate content.


Photo: Garry McLeod, Wired, 2012. 
Just in case you are late to the party, Klout is the measure of an individual or brand’s social media influence. Founded in 2008, Klout assigns users a “Klout score” from 1 to 100 based on their social media activity and engagement across various platforms through a proprietary algorithm. Top scorers include President Obama with a score of 99 and Kanye West with a score of 95. The average Klout score today is a 40, with any score about 50 worth considering. The top 5% of influencers have a score above 63.


The higher your score, the more influence that your social media profiles connected to the Klout score have on others. Klout also influences your SEO so that that the more influencers who want to interact with your content, the more your social media profiles with Klout go up in ranking-not only in the social media sites but also in Google, Yahoo & Bing. As your influence increases, your Klout increases. As your Klout increases, your influence increase.  And so forth and so on.

ff_klout2_fPhoto: Garry McLeod, Wired, 2012. 

Although I wouldn’t count on your Klout guaranteeing an upgrade on your next flight, Klout score rankings are still valuable in helping establish you as a leader in your field. In the new era of “influencer marketing,” building the influence of your personal brand is crucial to building your network. Recently Adithya Rao, lead research engineer at Klout, shared three key tips to improving your Klout Score, even if you don’t have President Obama or a Kardashian in your social network:

  1. Share Quality Content
  2. Reach Out to Influential People
  3. Be Active – But Not Hyperactive

Interested in learning more about how to increase your Klout score? If you want to dig deeper into the science and algorithms involved in determining scoring, Lithium (who acquired Klout for $200 million in 2014) released a report in October 2015 explaining their methodology behind Klout Scores. However, the best advice is to not to get too wrapped-up in Klout status anxiety… it is still just a number, after all.


Photo: Garry McLeod, Wired, 2012. 



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