Lies, Damned Lies, Klout Scores and Vanity Metrics

‘Just because everything can be measured, doesn’t mean that you should measure everything’

During the summer the football club I support (Arsenal) offloaded one of their squad players, a young Brazilian player called Denilson. This was a move that resonated well with most supporters who had grown tired of his inability to exert any influence on a match. He played in a central midfield role, essentially as a defensive midfielder, but most of his passes proved ineffective for an essentially attacking team.

Despite that, his OPTA stats scored quite highly. (For those non-football (soccer) fan readers, OPTA are the number one organisation measuring and compiling data and analytics around sports.) In fact, a couple of years ago he was the highest ranked defensive midfield player in the Premiership…according to the stats…yet his ability to influence the outcome of a game was almost zero. The actions that contributed to his score – blocks, interceptions, passes etc – were many, yet they had little overall impact.

If he was a social media user his Klout score would have been very high – yet most people connected to him would say he had little influence.

Continuing with the football theme, the other week I watched the live game between Fulham and Tottenham. The match stats show that Fulham had the majority share of possession, that they had 26 goal attempts against only 8 by Tottenham, and 11 corners against only 1. From those stats you may assume that Fulham won the game. But they didn’t. Tottenham scored from 3 of their 8 chances whilst Fulham scored from only 1 of their 26.

If soccer teams had Klout scores then Fulham would have had a much higher score that day.


The quote at the start of this blog was taken from a presentation by Tom Farrell of Paddy Power that was given at a conference – Future Digital Strategies – that I chaired last week. Unlike my usual manor of recruitment and HR this was a chance to mix with digital marketers working for companies ranging from Expedia to Disney, Virgin Atlantic to Facebook. As chairman I was able to ask questions, and I asked most of the speakers about influence…how they identify influencers.

For commercial businesses the key influencers mainly used to be journalists and editors – trade press, local and national press and broadcast media – but in the new social media landscape the position is less clear. Everyone I asked was looking to identify bloggers and tweeters who had reach and impact…and they all seemed to use measures such as Klout and Peerindex as a starting point. Not as the final decision maker but as an indicator of who to investigate further. Continue reading “Lies, Damned Lies, Klout Scores and Vanity Metrics”