Klout, a social graph measurement company, announced Monday that it has closed an $8.5 million round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins with help from Greycroft Partners as part of the sFund. Founded in 2008, the latest round of financing brings Klout’s total funding to $10 million.
Using its unique algorithm, Klout determines which individuals have the most influence on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Klout CEO Joe Fernandez says the company will use the new funds to add more social networking sites to its algorithm. To gauge which users have the most influence, the service tracks the “impact” of their opinions, links, and recommendations to determine who has the most sway over online content. Essentially, the algorithm looks at tweets, status updates, Google mentions, LinkedIn connections, and it measures the ripple effects and chain reactions that each has to effectively measure how other Web users respond.
Because the service simply measures who has the most influence without breaking individuals down by category, political and religious figures are thrown into the mix with pop singers with some interesting results. For example, teen-pop phenom Justin Bieber tops the charts with a perfect score of 100. His runner-up: The Dalai Lama.
Yes. The Dalai Lama came in second to Justin Bieber.
Third place went to Lady Gaga, with a score of 89. And coming in at number four: Barack Obama, with a score of 88.
Fernandez explained in the Klout blog that the scores shouldn’t be translated to mean that Justin Bieber has more influence in the world than Barack Obama, but rather that he is “using social media more effectively to drive more actions from his network than anyone else right now. The fact that almost no one had heard of this kid a year ago and he is now a worldwide star is impressive.”
To outline this fact, Fernandez pointed out the fact that both Justin Bieber and Barack Obama had tweeted links to YouTube videos within 24 hours of one another last week. Bieber’s video saw nearly 10 times the number of views that Obama’s video received.
Klout’s technology obviously has meaningful implications for marketers and advertisers who want to hitch their brands to the biggest movers and shakers on the Web. “People are hungry to get even more meaning from their daily social media use, and Klout is creating an important and new standard measure of relevance,” said Kleiner Perkins partner William “Bing” Gordon in a prepared statement. “I hope everyone who reads this shares this message so my Klout score goes up!
Klout plans to use the new funding to not only add new services to its algorithm, but to expand its engineering team as well.