A year ago I write wrote about the social media scoring site Klout which watches your social media behavior and assigns you a score based the size of your network and how people in that network react to your posts. So now that they have a year in the books I wanted to revisit the site and share why I think their rapid growth is about start heading in the other direction.
As an advertiser Klout is a great marketing channel because you are able to send out offers or perks to a very targeted audience who you know have a certain amount of social media klout. I’m not sure why but this seems to be a really under utilized feature of the site as perks have been few are far between with a real variance in their quality. It seems like the area where the site could generate revenue and would thus be a serious business driven for the growth of the site. Only time will tell of they will be able to take advantage of it.
On a personal level, the game mechanics makes it easy to see why a lot of my people have gotten caught in the site. You quickly make it part of your daily ritual of checking in to see ow your score is fairing. The score goes up and you feel great and if it goes down you try to post more often to pump it back up. The problem starts to surface after the novelty wears thin and a whole different reaction starts to grow – frustration.
The one part of the game mechanics that Klout fails miserably to do deliver and I think is going to be the downfall of the site unless it is fixed is the complete lack of real feedback on what positively or negatively is effecting your score. If you think about it, in another other game there is a clear correlation between your actions and the resulting score. A super simple example is the longer PacMan stays alive, the more pellets he eats – the higher your score gets. Klout really breaks down because there is no feedback to tell me why my score is going up or why it is going down. It is like playing PacMan with the screen turned off so all I can see is the score and because I am playing blind have to guess what is going on in the game by moving the joystick and watching my score to see if I am doing something right.
This game mechanic has been frustrating for me as I keep a pretty similar posting pace across all my social media channels yet I have seen my score move up and down in spite of this consistent approach. I have seen much more extreme examples where I have had several friends who had their score suddenly drop over 20 points for no understandable reason. Every single one of them got so frustrated that they didn’t understand why their score dropped and how they could fix it that they left the site permanently.
To be success Klout needs to understand that if you are going to put a score on something then you need to give the user a tangible understanding of how the score is create. You have to give them feedback to so they know how they can play the game better and get the higher score. Without that feedback I think that Klout is going to see their growth stagnate before shrinking as more and more people get fed up with playing the game blind.