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Thanks to the rise of social media, there's a mad race to measure influence and help brands harness it to their advantage. That has created an ecosystem of companies vying to prove that they can most accurately identify the social media users with the most clout.
One of the most prominent players in the space, Klout, is also one of the most controversial.
More and more of our time is spent helping our clients not only make their online experiences more usable but developing a persuasion strategy that will run through their online customer journey.
In order for us to be able to develop these persuasive strategies, the majority of our time is spent one-to-one with consumers, understanding what motivates them, observing their online behaviour and understanding how they are influenced to buy online with one retailer over another.
With all this in mind, as a follow up to my previous article, Nine women x nine hours = nine usability insights, this article details an up-to-date list of nine of the most influential persuasive techniques, in no particular order, that retailers are using to encourage visitors to buy in 2012.
Facebook is the world's largest social network and arguably it knows more about many individuals than any other organization.
The data it collects from the hundreds of millions of users it serves has enabled Facebook to build a billion-dollar advertising business, and serves as justification for Facebook's valuation, which may top $100bn when the company finally makes its public debut.
Few social media companies are as controversial as Klout, which seeks to measure the influence individuals have within social networks.
For some, the company, which has raised tens of millions of dollars in funding, is the "standard for influence" it describes itself as. Others are more skeptical, questioning the ability of any company to truly measure who has influence in any meaningful way.
Social influence company PeerIndex this week closed a $3m Series A round of funding from a group of high profile angel and private equity investors.
Led by Antrak Capital, this includes former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, Stephen Klein of Activebuddy fame (which went on to be acquired by Microsoft) and angel investor Sherry Costu.
With this money in the bank, and brands including Atlantic Records, Penguin Books and The O2 all lining up to use its scoring system for marketing purposes, the British contender to Klout is finding a niche for itself.
Whereas Klout is striving to be the 'standard for influence', targeting consumers' egos for the most part, PeerIndex is positioning itself as a leader in 'influence marketing'. We sat down with CEO Azeem Azhar to talk about developments in this space.
We are in a time of convergence. Traditionally, influence was in the hands of the media. Now anyone with access to a cell phone can be engaged and influence a community. As our online identities now focus on our real name, personal brand isn't merely a celebrity worry anymore.
How this influence is measured is changing and Klout and Kred (amongst others) are all vying to be the barometer that we use to measure it. But which one is going to top the other or is there room for them all?
‘Digital marketing’ is a much, much bigger beast than the marketing industry alone.
Just by looking at the spread of stories we cover on the blog, you can see that there’s a multitude of influences that change how brands talk, act and sell – but also think.
In the same light, the team here draws inspiration from many different places.
We’ve decided to share with you what’s caught our eye this week; what we’ve tweeted, posted, passed around the office and shaken our heads at.
Thanks to the continuing evolution of social media, there’s a lot of talk at the moment around influence, identifying and understanding it in action, as well as how this can be used commercially.
Just last week my colleague, Matt, wrote an insightful post about the intricacies and accuracy of this, but recent conversations I’ve had with quite a few people makes me think that on a wider basis, the fundamentals around this increasingly complex area are misunderstood, and in some instances, overlooked altogether.
Early last year I wrote a post about online influence measurement service Klout, I ran a few simple tests and came to a conclusion: Klout doesn’t work.
Based on several recent articles supporting the service, I thought it was worth taking another look at Klout and restating a few points about the value of online influence and measurement.
Forget 'audience', 'unique visitors' and 'page views.' Thanks to social media, more and more brands are looking to base media buys on new metrics like 'influence.'
Take, for instance, the brands that are turning to the Influencer Network put together by Condé Nast's Vogue.
AdWeek describes the Influencer Network as "a panel of some 1,000 women deemed to have sway over other women, based on how active they are on social networks like Facebook and Polyvore, a fashion site where people create collages of outfits and share them with other members."
Just how big a part of the link economy is content sharing? According to a study which looked at behavior across some 300m who share content monthly using the ShareThis button, sharing now accounts for approximately 10% of all traffic on the internet.
And when it comes to the source of this sharing, one site stands out above all others: Facebook.
Yesterday we wrote about a new app called The Social List, which has been launched by The Sunday Times and is boxing in a similar area as Klout and PeerIndex.
Here's how it is being positioned: "The Sunday Times Social List is set to become the definitive measure of the most influential people within the social space."
Tricky. The trouble with measuring 'influence' is that it is incredibly difficult to do so in an automated way. I think it's virtually impossible to make any real statements about who is and isn't influential without some form of human analysis.
These tools are of course works in progress, and as they stand they are certainly indicators of something, but I'm not sure they're indicators of true influence.