Influencer Ranking: The Facts

Influencer Ranking: The Facts

There are many forms of influencer ranking out there but how effective are they at scoring blogs, vlogs and social influencers? Are they fair and can they be relied upon when it comes to selecting influencers?

Since adding our popular Debunking DA post, we thought we’d investigate a further selection of widely adopted ranking tools… and here are our findings:

Kred

Kred badge

What they measure: Kred specifically analyses influencer social media channels – namely Twitter and Facebook. There are two measurements – Influence and Outreach.

How: The Influence is scored on a 1000-point-scale (the median score is between 201-450), while the Outreach is scored on a 12-point-scale. For the influencer, Kred assesses the frequency with which they are Retweeted, Replied, Mentioned and Followed. Where it comes to Facebook, the Influence is scored according to content interactions including Posts, Mentions, Likes, Shares and Event Invitations. The Outreach score measures outbound interactions. Outreach points are rewarded for being active and benevolent, and as such, the Outreach Level (1-12) will never go down.

The Pros:

  • Kred won favour for their transparent scoring calculations
  • Measurements are based upon historical data from the last 1000 days
  • Engages members, enabling peers to award another user with +Kred in a specific community; the person who offers the award also receives points for their good deed.

The Cons:

  • Only takes two social platforms into account. Facebook and Twitter only represent a fraction of an influencer’s resume – what about the other social channels and of course, the influencer’s own website / blog?
  • A Kred user will only receive points for interactions on the Facebook walls of others who have ALSO registered their Facebook account with Kred
  • No legitimate means to protect scores against spam and bots
  • Users could figure out the site’s algorithm and take advantage of it by increasing a score to seem influential

Klout

Klout

What they measure: Klout uses Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia data to generate user profiles that are assigned a unique score.

How: Klout uses a logarithmic score range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher ranking of the breadth and strength of one’s online social influence (the average score achieved is 40). While ALL Twitter users are automatically assigned a score, users who register with Klout can opt to link multiple social networks, of which network data is then aggregated to influence the user’s Klout Score. Klout then ‘adds up’ Followers, Friends, Lists, Tweets, Re-Tweets, conversations, and various topics to determine the scope of an influencer’s digital reach.

The Pros:

  • Klout measures multiple social media channels (but only for registered users)
  • Engages members by allowing those who participate in their system to award points to others through endorsement and/or giving them a ‘+K’ for a specific topic

The Cons:

  • Whilst users can connect accounts such as Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress, they do not weigh into the Klout Score and it’s arguable that these channels are of equal importance / relevance to the ‘influence’ of an influencer
  • Users could figure out the site’s algorithm and take advantage of it by increasing a score to seem influential
  • Klout scores are updated daily without any means of viewing past scores to assess growth
  • No legitimate means to protect scores against spam and bots
  • If an influencer spends a small amount of time off-line, it will negatively impact their score

Vuelio

Badge2015-Vuelio

What they measure: Vuelio uses third-party aggregate data to form their ‘Social Media Index’ and generate a sector specific, quantitative ranking of influencers.

How: Vuelio uses a proprietary algorithm to rank the ten most influential blogs, in order, every week. The methodology relies purely upon external data sources – Kred, Klout and Domain Authority (read our post: Debunking DA). According to Vuelio, results are ‘carefully reviewed’ by their team of in-house researchers who also consider qualitative elements such as design and topic-related content.

The Pros:

  • Topic-by-topic influencer ranking
  • Pros from Kred and Klout can be applied

The Cons:

  • Very limited data upon which to base assessment
  • Cons from Kred and Klout can be applied
  • An influencer can be easily misrepresented, if they don’t adopt Kred or Klout, and in turn, results skewed
  • Partially subjective selection criteria

Flea Enterprises (Tots100, Trips100, HIBS100, et al)

What they measure: Like Vuelio, Flea Enterprises uses aggregate data to generate a sector specific, quantitative ranking of influencers from 1 to 100.

How: The ranking system requires nine pieces of data for scoring. First, users must install sector specific widget on every page of their website, this then records the traffic to those pages. Users must then connect their Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube so that Flea Enterprises can draw the follow figures. Two of the index streams are from third-party sources including SEM Rush (similar to MozRank) – to identify backlinks and provide an SEO score (similar to Domain Authority), and Klout. Once all available data has been collected, the score is calculated using a point based system. For example, the blog with the lowest number of Twitter followers will score 1 point, the next lowest will score 2 points, and so on. If two or more blogs tie, they will receive the same number of points. This process is repeated for every metric – page impressions, unique users, Twitter followers, Instagram followers, YouTube views, in-links, new links, SEM score and Klout score. Finally, the scores are added together, and influencers are then ranked from low to high. The blog with the most points will be ranked #1 in the community that month.

The Pros:

  • Easy targeting of sector specific influencers
  • A broad section of results considered to rank and score influencers
  • Harnesses a small proportion of measurement data direct i.e. web badge and linked social channels
  • See ‘Pros’ of Klout

The Cons:

  • An influencer can be easily misrepresented, and in turn, results can be skewed. For example, if an influencer doesn’t add the badge to EVERY page on their blog, they’d still be ranked against someone who had, similarly if an influencer didn’t link all the required social media accounts they would still be ranked against someone who had, thus compromising their rank position and presenting a misleading set of results. Since there’s no way of identifying those that have completed the full criteria, from those that have not, there’s much room for misrepresentation where it comes to ranking scores
  • The ranking system is heavily weighted in favour of volume metrics i.e. number of followers, quantity of unique visits, etc and NOT on performance or engagement
  • There’s no legitimate means of monitoring against data contamination as the information collected is too limited
  • Data streams are limited to three social media networks
  • An influencer is only able to register to one sector (they cannot be ranked on multiple sectors)
  • Ranking occurs monthly
  • Since one part of the nine index streams data features Klout score – see above Cons

Conclusion

Perhaps the biggest flaw of all these methods of ranking is that they place far too much emphasis on a single, context-free score, that ultimately doesn’t convey enough detail about a potential influencer to be even close to useful. There’s no information about their engagement, or details about the demographics of their community of followers. Ultimately, a high score attributed to a large audience doesn’t matter in the slightest if the influencer doesn’t align with your goals.

So long as one understands the limitations of each ranking service, the scores may be useful as a rough signal of reach, at best. Ultimately none should be relied upon as a standalone metric, but instead, used in conjunction with other measures to identify right-fit influencers – such as Pitch Pack.

To quote Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist for PR agency Weber Shandwick :

“The idea of measuring social influence and reputation through a single recognisable data point is extremely alluring to brands [and individuals] who want to source [or measure their] online influence. To truly understand reputation, however, you need to look at the composite of online and offline influence, perceptions and cues.”

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