Social Scoring Is An Industry, But Marketers Are Skeptical

With the rise of social media, “influencers,” and buzz marketing, “social scoring” has become an industry unto itself. Klout, for one, has emerged as a star in the space, thanks to good press and a partnership with Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Yet research is emerging to suggest that marketers remain skeptical about the value of social scoring platforms.

Asked whether they found such services useful for finding “influencers,” a majority of marketers (55%) said “No,” according to a survey of about 1,300 marketing professionals conducted by Sensei Marketing and the consultants at ArCompany. "The problem is that the results provided by these platforms are too varied," ArCompany found, adding that the results do not convince most marketers that the "influencers" are in fact influential.

“The majority of marketers surveyed … stated they either distrust the metrics reported by social scoring platforms or that they’ve had little success using them,” said Sam Fiorella, partner at Sensei Inc., a Toronto-based consulting firm.



“Clearly, social influence scoring platforms must evolve their methodologies to better integrate with sales campaigns and report the impact they have on purchases and not just brand amplification,” Fiorella added. “Alternatively, they must integrate with more social CRM platforms, which would allow for the merging of their influence campaigns with transactional data.”

An even greater percentage of respondents (68%) said they have little faith in social influence scores, although they said such lists are helpful as a starting point for filtering out potential influencers -- but not as a stand-alone measurement.

Some 94% of the marketers surveyed did not fully trust the metrics of social influence scoring platforms.

As a result, 64% of respondents said they do not use influence scores as part of their marketing strategy. Rather, respondents said they are more likely to manually sift through lists of so-called influencers, and vet each one individually.

Over the next 12 months, more than 62% of respondents said it was unlikely they would be using a social scoring platform, because they just aren’t sold on the model as a valid form of measurement.

Conducted online this past February, ArCompany said it surveyed more than 1,300 professionals. The majority of those surveyed (60%) said they are based in North America.

Of the surveyed respondents, about 63% identified themselves as marketing professionals, while 20% said they were in public relations, and nearly 17% identified themselves as business executives.


3 comments about "Social Scoring Is An Industry, But Marketers Are Skeptical".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Mathew McDougall from Digital Jungle, April 13, 2013 at 12:05 a.m.

    I concur with Gavin on this. Social scoring certainly has become it's own segment within the social media marketing ecosystem but is very early in it's existence and as such will take more time to mature and start to provide tools and scoring algorithms that make sense as well as add value to marketers and consumers alike.

    I know from my contact with SinoTech Group and their product, Buzz Equity ( that creating a standardisation for scoring a particular social media element is no easy task and yet we Marketers seem to be looking for something that can become the criteria for selection and justification for SMM campaigns/programs. I have also used Klout ( to help my Agency Brands understand why we selected one KOL (influencer) over another but so far our Agency Clients are not convinced but this selection criteria but more on the actual performance (post campaign). I suggest this will become more aligned as results can show a stronger predictability between a 'score' and result.

    Again, good post.

  2. Danny Brown from ArCompany, April 13, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.

    @Matt - Hi Matt,

    Completely agree on the maturing nature of the space. The big issue that both Sam and myself see (and what we explore in the imminent book) is in trying to actually standardize influence to begin with.

    There are far too many factors at play - situations people are in, emotional factors, peer influence, etc. - that to try and place a one size fits all score on that person opens up immediate flaws.

    Instead, we need to move away from having today's "influencer" definition at the centre of the marketing circle, and instead place it back on the person that truly matters - the customer.

    We're looking forward to expanding on this report's results in the next few weeks when our book is released.

  3. Kris Patel from Zig Marketing, April 15, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.

    @Danny @Matt Good points on both fronts. I am one of those who do not believe in the 'social scoring' models being promoted. In my eyes they do not hold any reliable data translating to a measure of influence. I think getting from influencer to customer is the one aspect that our clients will understand the most. It is also the one aspect most difficult to dimensionalize. An influencer could drive customer engagement directly, 2 steps down the funnel and even more. Marketers should go beyond last-click attribution. Meaningful models will focus on the consumer path the purchase, the mix of resources consumers use to reach a brand engagement, pre and post research to find lift in brand favorability, influencer tactics that drive a direct consumer-to-brand engagement. While complicated now to most, a proper engagement model can tell the story well.

Next story loading loading..