Why Influence Analysis is the New Credit Rating

I’ve written about Influence a few times in the past year – including a somewhat plaintive post asking whether flawed influence measurement is better than no influence measurement....

I’ve written about Influence a few times in the past year – including a somewhat plaintive post asking whether flawed influence measurement is better than no influence measurement. I’ve also hosted a Bootcamp at which the “influence” calculations of certain leading free monitoring tools were called into question, and then, earlier this month, I participated in a discussion in which the overwhelming mood was that influence could and should be measured – if only because it’s so damn important to marketers that we simply HAVE to try!

While I’m not keen on bogus science or flawed assumptions – having read Peter Shankman’s road-to-Damascus post that describes the moment that he realised how valuable it would be know how influential your customers are before they walk in the door – I have to say, I’m getting there.

He describes how, through companies like Klout, which use freely available data, businesses can now get a short, snappy rating against which to instantly gauge how much fawning a customer really deserves – or whether to simply send them packing.

It’s obvious really: we all have credit ratings; why not influence ratings?

The question of how this rating is calculated – whether it’s based on Twitter Followers, re-tweets, inbound links or shoe-size – is simply going to run and run…. and run. And the funny part is, most of us haven’t knowingly suffered as a result of a company knowing our “influence” rating (in other words – our commercial value) yet. Imagine when every shop, garage, restaurant and bar knows exactly how influential (or not) you really are. I predict that’s a 2-3 years away yet – but, boy, are we going to get irate about it.

“Do you know who I am!”
“Well, Sir. Actually – yes, we do”.


I’ll be discussing Influence and more at Monitoring Social Media in New York, London and Paris, in Nov and Dec.

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4 comments

  1. Justin Kirby Reply

    Unless there’s some affiliate marketing type tracking isn’t all online influence measurement still all about reach rather than the actual impact this reach has.

    As mentioned in recent LSE Research, in some markets like FMCG you might be better off targeting your non-loyal customers for more effective spread of WoM. As Dr Alain Samson pints out:

    The power of word of mouth is not its reach, as traditional mass marketing aims to achieve, but better targeting throughout networks: individuals’ decisions to forward messages benefiting from better knowledge of their network neighbours, leading to a more effective spread of the message.”

    See the influencer re-think

  2. dominique Reply

    One of the major difference with credit rating is that influence is specific.

    You may be a top influencers about food in the LA region but have zero influence when it comes to discuss golf in China.

    What is really important to me is actionable influence ™ that take into account

    – the community into which someone has influence
    – your ability to reach him/her.

    Here is an article I wrote on that topic: http://blog.ecairn.com/2008/06/11/actionable-influence/.

  3. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

    Thanks Justin. Following our marathon Facebook exchange 😉 I see your point – but yes, I also think proper analytics tracking is needed to gauge the non-spread-related “impact” (sales etc.)

    Hi Dominique – yes, true. Context is critical for accurate influence analysis, as it is for sentiment analysis. Nice post. Have you really trademarked “actionable influence”??

  4. The Key Issues in Social Media Monitoring Today « The Cube Reply

    […] be doing a review of the top influencer analysis tools at MSM10 London (and I’ve written about influence in more detail on my blog), but one interesting point to note is that, if you’re looking to […]

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