Solving Klout’s “Warren Buffett Problem”

Matt Thomson, Klout

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Matt Thomson, Klout

Matt Thomson, Klout @daddymention

Matt Thomson, VP of Business Development at Klout, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the “Warren Buffett problem” his company faces, those fancy analytics at work behind the Klout algorithms, and expanding to offer brands a whole new product.

Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.

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Tweetable Moments

“With scientific algorithms, what you’re really trying to do is conform to intuition.” -@daddymention (tweet this)

“We don’t want a world where we’re another FICO score and everybody hates to check it” -@daddymention (tweet this)

“You don’t have to necessarily create the wheel. You can just improve upon the wheel.” -@jaybaer (tweet this)

“We are still in the tumultuous stages of evolution around social.” -@jkrohrs (tweet this)

Balancing Analytics with Intuition

Matt begins the podcast by addressing Klout’s so-called “Warren Buffett problem.” That is: how can Klout, the “Standard of Influence,” give Warren Buffett a score below 50 while Justin Bieber consistently ranks in the 90s? “We work really hard to conform to intuition,” he says. In order to more fairly rank celebrities who do not have a strong social media presence, Klout has incorporated news sources to corroborate the metrics they pull. This will, hopefully, correct for intuitive inconsistencies.

How Klout Works

via Klout

He also addresses curation and the anxiety that surrounds it: “We do not want to get into the world where we’re like another FICO score, and everybody hates to check it.”

They want to stay on the side of the customer. Klout is not meant to be one more platform that users have to curate, and that is something Klout will always strive to avoid.

Klout is working on integrating tools for brands with Klout for Business. “We’re, for the first time, giving brands some understanding of their audience of influencers, as opposed to just telling them about their own presence.”

Holy Social!

Chuck Kent is revolutionizing the way we think about #FollowFriday with #SocialSong. Instead of using the tired hashtag to signal boost the people and brands who have impressed him in the past week, Chuck Kent, @creativeoncall, is creating content and boosting signals all in one.

Jay loves “that concept of taking the banal, #FollowFriday, which has been beat to death, and putting a twist on it so it becomes fresh and interesting, innovative and noteworthy. I think is a lesson for everybody. You don’t have to necessarily create the wheel; you can just improve upon the wheel.”

Social Media Stat of the Week: Engagement with Social Media Falls from 2010 to 2013

That’s right. According to the Motorola Mobility Media Engagement Barometer, engagement with social media while consuming television programming has been falling in the United States: from 32% last year to 23% this year. There are increases in some geographic areas – like Turkey – but decreases overall. “This is indicative,” Jeff says, “that we are still in the tumultuous stages of evolution around social.”

The early adoption of a new technology, a new platform, a new channel doesn’t mean it will always remain popular. If we want to mitigate our signal to noise ratio, live-tweeting every television event may not be the best idea. How all of this will shake down remains to be seen, but Motorola seems to have a good handle on that data for now.

Social Pros Shoutout

Matt’s first shoutout goes to Megan Berry, formerly Director of Community at Klout, now at RebelMouse. “She probably doesn’t get enough credit for her overall marketing prowess.”

He also gives a shoutout to Dan Greenberg, Founder and CEO of native advertising company Sharethrough. “He’s well worth following if you’re looking where some of the new monetization is going in social.”

See you next week!

  • Graciousstore

    Social media is still evolving, sometime, it will reach its pick and will start to decline

  • Danny Brown

    OK, bias here, as I’m not a fan of social scoring as a metric of influence. BUT… how can you say you have “13” metrics of score, but you only use “6”? Come on, that devalues your metrics from the start.

    • jaybaer

      yes, that part was a little confusing. I should have followed up on that.

    • Ike Pigott

      I’m guessing that means they are pulling additional metrics that are not related directly to your permit-driven accounts. Google News mentions might be one, for example, that you don’t log into and can’t easily game, but could be publicly available. Another might be homesite page rank, which would benefit a scientist or public official who has Clout but doesn’t piddle in Social. For that matter, they could score the length or number of edits on a subject’s Wikipedia page, under the notion that those measures might correlate to people being well-known and actively influential.

      Part of me doesn’t want to know what the Secret Sauce is.

      • Danny Brown

        I’m not so sure. I read an interview elsewhere (trying to recall link, I’ll edit comment if I find it) when senior sales/biz dev guy at Klout advised they need people to connect their accounts in order to provide a proper metric. In other words, they’re only really measuring Twitter, and it’s measuring popularity, not influence.

  • Chuck Kent

    You guys are too, too kind. Of course, if you’re interested in a Social Pros Podcast sing-along sometime… As to the real meat of this post (I’m more the lettuce in this sandwich), I have my doubts about the whole influence game, which it still seems to be to a large degree. I did get to do a good interview with one Danny Brown on the subject, which you’ll find on

    • jaybaer

      Danny and Sam are (rightfully) suspect of the current mania re: algorithmic influence. I still maintain that there’s a “there” there, but the cake is still rising.

      • Chuck Kent

        I just hope that when it finally comes out of the oven fully baked it’s a good, deep, rich chocolate flourless cake and not some crappy generic yellow cake that has nothing of real interest inside