SXSW gave influencer marketing critics a platform to vent about the pitfalls of social scoring tools, but the CEO of Kred is firing back to defend his product in the eyes of marketers.
Speaking at SXSW last week, several speakers suggested marketers end their use of influencer scoring tools like Klout and Kred in a panel covered by Marketing. Following the panel Marketing spoke to Kred CEO Andrew Grill who defended the validity of Kred and its value to marketers.
Among the criticisms of influencer scoring tools was the idea that they are not transparent enough. As Marketing live tweeted during the panel, host Jure Klepic of Lucule Consulting said the problem with Klout/Kred is that they aren’t audited and marketers have no way of knowing what the scores actually mean – a statement Grill adamantly disagrees with.
While Klout may be secretive about the algorithm that decides its score, rill explained Kred shows how its scores are calculated on its website (it’s a mix of reach and activity, including how many followers/friends a user has and how many times they’ve been mentioned, retweeted, liked etc.) and shows an ‘activity statement’ on each profile that shows how actions are scored.
Grill also said that two of the panelists, Klepic and Intel senior social media strategist Ekaterina Walter, had previously been ‘Kred leaders’ and took part in a Kred summit in May 2012. Though Klepic said “Klout and Kred don’t work. They never did and they never will,” Grill claimed Kred had previously enjoyed a “very healthy working relationship” with both Klepic and Walter prior to the SXSW panel.
Grill pointed out that Kred is built into monitoring platforms such as Radian6, Brandwatch and Social Bro, which means marketers can use the tool in conjunction with other analytics tools and compare the score with other social data.
To the charge that Kred and Klout are not audited, Grill said, “Kred would be delighted to work with an auditor to confirm the accuracy and transparency of our scores – and have not been asked to be audited to date, nor have any social media platforms as far as I am aware.”
He said he considers Kred an analytics company and works with marketers who use Kred as part of their social media campaigns to provide the numbers they need to measure ROI. He added that Kred is constantly reviewing its algorithm, but tries not to make dramatic tweaks. When Kred does make changes, it tries to be transparent about what actions are affecting its scores. If social scoring tools don’t do that, Grill said they will continue to be criticized.
“Influencer measurement is a very new area and the whole industry is grappling with how to accurately measure and report inline influence,” Grill said. “Our stance on transparency allows the industry to see exactly how we score.”