Limitations of Klout scores and a new method for social media metrics (KPIs) based on lifetime engagement

Social media metrics (KPIs) are a hot topic but not easy to achieve

Take for instance the limitations of Klout scores  which were illustrated when Forbes published a list of 100 most powerful women globally but they had mostly very low Klout scores. In other words, Angela Merkel has better things to do than tweet all day .. BUT Lady Gaga appears to do this. The limitations of Klout have been pointed out before as well – for instance Five primary problems with klout  . Even so, many of the consultants in Social media like relatively simple metrics like Klout scores because they tell people what they want to hear ..

I have recently been thinking of this topic and here is a thought:

Social media metrics are about interactions (engagement with social media) but to convert interactions to any meaningful numerical metric is not easy.

As we see from the limitations of Klout above, this is due to many reasons – some of which include:

a)     Companies and individuals have different intentions for engaging in social media – ex One may seek to get buzz for their product which other may seek to target a specific audience or to buy a specific product

b)     Social media engagement may differ across industry – so some industries like media(ex a new movie) may have a lot of social media interest than say creators of industrial machine tools (aka Angela Merkel vs. Lady Gaga)

c)      By definition, metrics and conversation do not go together i.e. the intent of social media is to create conversations but even when we want to engage in conversation, we do not really intend these conversations to be monitored.

As a blogger and also actively engaged in the social media(although I do not class myselves as a social media expert), I have two observations:

a)     Often, I get a response on a blog after YEARS .. i.e. people will contact me about a post after a long time. This, there is value in the lifetime metric of a blog

b)     We need to compare ‘apples with apples’ i.e. social media metric needs to be across a specific industry

So, based on the above, could we define the lifetime engagement value of social media?

The IAB has an interesting presentation on social media metrics based on the idea of Intent Awareness and Benchmark  (good branding from their site to create the methodology as an acronym of their organization! – but that apart – there is value in the analysis)

Now, to this, we could consider a ‘lifetime awareness’ i.e.  The key suggestion is to consider the quantitative lifetime value of a metric over a period of years

Ex –  I attend a conference and speak today. The presentation is loaded in their site and slideshare. This has impact over 5 years .. (same idea apples to blogs and also tweets)

So the metric could be:

1) Conference size estimate – ex large(more than 1000 people) – medium(100-500 people) – small(less than 100 people)

multiplied by

2) impact – high (reaching more than 50%) – medium(reaching about 30%) – low (reaching about 10%)

multiplied by

3) Lifetime impact (a multiplier which would have to choose on various factors – ex how well known the speaker is, how often they are rewteeted, how many conferences they have spoken at etc etc )

The methodology could be applies to any social interactions – for example econsultancy gives a list of 35 social media interactions

While this is subjective because of the lifetime multiplier – the combination of lifetime multiplier with benchmarking across an industry (refer the IAB presentation) would balance out the metric 

Thoughts welcome

Image source: gerardbabitts


  1. In the realm of social media metrics that are “Lies, Damned Lies and Klout Scores”

  2. ajit says:

    thanks Dean. I was also more keen to see a solution ie a way to improve the situation. hope you are well!