Back to Klout - a Comparison

OK, I spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to figure out what's going on with Klout, the website that measures and charts your social media performance across a range of different metrics.

In particular, while looking at my own statistics can only give me an idea of how I'm doing today compared with yesterday, or last week or last month, comparing my profile with others helps to put that into wider context.

Sometimes I see how I'm performing against friends, sometimes people who I actually like on Twitter, and sometimes people I've worked with and respect on a professional level. The figures below relate to the latter, although I'll avoid naming her.

Klout as Analytics

Klout returns plenty of data, like any other analytics platform, but it can take a while to fully understand what you're looking at. It's not all hit counts, unique users and conversion rates - instead it's follower counts, unique retweets and amplification.

These are analogous to one another, though. Like on a website of your own, on Twitter or Facebook you have an audience you can build, a conversion rate (how likely it is that people will act on what you say) and relevance to what the wider audience is likely to be searching for.

So, how do I stack up against this chosen fellow Klouter? Let's take a look...

Klout Score


I'm in red on the above, and the figures cover the first 30 days of May 2011. It's been a good month for my Klout score, as I've been tweeting much more consistently about SEO and social media, and I've picked up quite a few followers.

My fellow Klouter, shown in blue, has 500 followers - nearly three times as many as me - and, unlike me, has linked her Facebook performance into her Klout account too. I only use Facebook for personal stuff, not for work, so there's not much point having that connected for me.

The fall in my Klout score towards the beginning of the month was while I was on holiday for a week - since then it's been onwards and upwards, which I'm delighted about. If this is a measure of performance across the board, then I think I'm doing OK so far.

True Reach


I'm not exactly winning on this one, I'll admit that. True Reach is about how wide an audience any given tweet will reach, and my score isn't the highest. It's a work in progress though - I'm picking up a decent number of followers as time goes on, and I'd much rather have relevant contacts than the largest number.

Case in point: every time I tweet about dog-walking (I don't own a dog, I just live by a park) I pick up a follower. It's an account for some professional dog-walking service that auto-follows anyone on Twitter who uses the word. You can pick up followers by mentioning iPads, or Lady Gaga, or erectile dysfunction. They increase your audience size - and therefore your True Reach - but without actually acting on what you have to say, they're useless.

This is analogous to building your website audience without thinking about conversion. Sure, more people are reading what you have to say, but how many are giving you their money? If your bandwidth consumption spikes due to the increased size of your audience, you could actually end up losing money as a result, just to keep your new, 'popular' website up and running.

So I'm not too worried about True Reach - I'm sure it will rise as my other scores do, but it's not one of the most important metrics for me right now.

Network


This is a much more satisfying graph, and shows how well May has gone for me in terms of my Twitter networking. While my fellow Klouter, still shown here in blue, has had a somewhat turbulent month, my core network has grown and grown - again, with the exception of the week I was abroad (roughly the second quarter of the graph).

In many ways this metric is comparable to True Reach, but it measures your direct connections, your online peer group if you will. I have a strong core network who I engage with on a near-constant basis, so it's nice to see that my red line is heading upwards on this one.

Amplification


Last one, if you're still reading - thanks for sticking with this. Amplification is as close to conversion as you can really get on Twitter, unless you're tweeting iTunes affiliate links or something. It's a measure of how likely your tweets are to be acted upon - replied or retweeted, spreading the word to more people out there.

I'm particularly good at this, apparently. I'm more likely than most people to receive a reply from anyone I choose to tweet directly at, and more likely than most to have my general messages retweeted. Maybe I just manage to say particularly interesting things - I'm not sure.

However, the important thing here is that Amplification is the one Klout metric I really do care about. As I said, it's effectively your Twitter conversion rate, and the only concrete way of measuring how much your messages matter. In my case, a high proportion of what I say is deemed important enough by others for them to actually interact with it by hitting reply or retweet, and that's more than a little satisfying.

To Sum Up

This article serves two purposes. First of all, it's an ego stroke for me - and hopefully a bit of an advert for my Twitter abilities, creating content that gets acted upon an above-average amount of the time, even in a relatively small network of followers.

More generally, though, I hope it sheds some light for some readers on how Klout compares to platforms like Google Analytics as a means of keeping a watchful eye on your Twitter performance, as well as identifying the areas in which you could do better.

If you want to know what I have to say that's so damned interesting, you can follow me on Twitter too - I'm @bobblebardsley.

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