Exactly How Valuable Are People With High Klout Scores?

If you’re anything like our office, you are in intense Klout competitions with your fellow coworkers. As the newest way to establish just how influential you are, your “Klout” is an increasingly valuable measurement to businesses looking to enhance their online marketing strategy. Apparently, it’s also vital to your friends at work who will undoubtedly begin sizing you up based on how you rank.

Klout scores range between 1-1001 being a sign that you may have gone to Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn once in your life and 100 meaning that there is some godly aura floating around you, your name is probably Justin Bieber, and that people literally eat up every word you say for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (See: Justin Bieber Cereal). Most celebrities have Klout scores of 70+, with Justin Bieber at 100 and Lady Gaga at 93. Companies partnering with Klout.com are already giving away “Perks” to a certain number of influencers depending on their Klout number and which topics they are influential about. Some “perks” are only open to a handful of people.

A Beverly Hills company, Ad.ly is no stranger to using a person’s online influence to the advantage of companies. For the last year and a half Ad.ly has sold over 26,000 paid celebrity endorsements via personal social media channels. Ranging in price from $1,000-$200,000, depending on the individual’s social influence, promotional messages can be purchased by marketers looking to promote their products and services in an innovative and tactical way. Ad.ly advertises itself on the basis that marketers can run low-risk campaigns by choosing multiple people to sponsor their messages at reasonable prices. Others can take a leap of faith picking Charlie Sheen, Klout of 84 (Is any news good news?). The company also boasts access to extremely targeted markets. Below is an example of one of the graphics they display on their website:

My question is: Does a person’s Klout actually determine the impact they have on their audience? Can we predict that those with high online influence can directly persuade others into action? I scoured the Twitterverse for some of Ad.ly’s sponsored messages and used our Compete.com data to determine each celeb’s actual impact on website traffic for the days surrounding their endorsement.

Lauren Conrad (Klout of 77) Backs John Frieda

The link in the tweet is a direct link to the John Frieda website, which is great for our measurement purposes. Below you will find traffic data surrounding the time of Lauren’s tweet.

Though Lauren increased the site’s daily reach by 5%, it was hardly a game-changer for John Frieda. Considering Lauren Conrad can demand between $5,000 and $10,000 per tweet, I would be curious to know if the 5% increase in daily reach garnered sales or influenced future sales of an equal or greater value. I decided to expand the tracking to understand the trends of the website over a two month period.

This graph left me wondering- well, who tweeted June 16th?! With a little research I found that it wasn’t actually a tweet that drew people to John Frieda’s website, but rather an online coupon campaign.  Advertised across a range of freebie and beauty websites, the company offered free samples of their Frizz-Ease Smooth Start product line to those who “Liked” John Frieda US on Facebook and filled out a quick questionnaire.

However, all hope for the famed twitter endorsement is not lost.

All four of the Kardashians (average Klout of 87), Paris Hilton (84), Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino (74), Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (56), Nancy O’Dell (64), Chris Brown (93), Kendra Wilkinson (72), Holly Madison (78), and Lauren Conrad (77) helped Living Social sell 1.3 million Amazon vouchers.

Tweets went out throughout the deal that ran from the 19th-20th. Mind you, Living Social has deals every day.

As you can see, this collection of social media endorsements among highly influential players actually paid off.

Does this mean that social media micro-endorsements are only valuable in bulk?

How do you think companies can take advantage of this Compete data in future promotions and campaigns?

About Jen Duguay:
Jen Duguay joins Compete to take on all things social media. She comes from a social issue background, most recently having worked for the Social Innovation Forum, the venture philanthropy arm of Root Cause, a nonprofit research and consulting firm. Jen's interests include singing, marketing, running, art, making guacemole, and using social entrepreneurship to tackle world issues. She has spent time in Belize and the Dominican Republic working on microfinance initiatives and recently traveled to Kenya where she studied the public healthcare system. Follow Jen @jenduguay on Twitter.