Services & Software

Klout looks to score points with brands

The startup launches a business dashboard to attract paying customers who want to understand the who, what, and why behind digital influence.


Online influence-tracking startup Klout today launched Klout for Business to flip its scoring system for the benefit of brands.

Founded in 2008, Klout measures influence by scoring a person's activity and relationships across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites. The San Francisco-based company has primarily used its scientific formula on status to show people how they measure up against their peers. Klout says it's scored more than 100 million people, and claims to analyze 2.7 billion pieces of content and connections each day.

Klout does bring in some money -- likely low double-digit millions this year, according to Forbes -- with a small Perks program that lets brands offer goodies to people with online authority. But with Klout for Business, the company looks to move beyond its status as a yardstick for ego to attract more customers willing to pay to understand the who, what, and why behind digital influence.

Klout for Business, for the time being, is just a fancy title for a free product that gives brands a set of analytics that identifies influential folks who discuss their products or services on social media services. The tool also provides insight on how best to appeal to digital audiences. The business product will evolve to include for-charge features later this year.

"Klout for Business will continue to develop into a portal where we intend to help brands and agencies streamline their understanding, management, and engagement with this important segment of the digital population," Matthew Thomson, vice president of business development at Klout, wrote in a blog post. "Our goal is to help brands and influencers build relationships that transcend the current advertiser-consumer dynamic."

In essence, Klout for Business amounts to a targeting tool for brands and advertisers, which means it will compete with a host of other social media marketing and analytics services.

Klout has raised roughly $40 million in funding and is partnered with Microsoft.