InPowered offers products aimed at helping marketers "discover and promote expert opinions about their brands." Our past coverage of Klout apparently caught their eye as they've just introduced a new "Expert Ranking" feature, which is supposed to rank experts on various topics, and let brands see what experts are saying about them.
We had a conversation with CEO and co-founder Peyman Nilforoush, who tells us about what they're trying to do here.
"We built the inPowered Expert Ranking platform to be quite opposite from 'influence' measurement services like Klout," says Nilforoush. "We believe that measuring influence is (and always has been) a pretty flimsy model, mostly due to how easy it is to game those measurements."
"For example, every time I post a photo of my 2.5 year-old daughter, my Klout score goes up, because lots of people Like and comment on those photos," he adds. "But that doesn't make me more 'influential' (especially not in a way that is of any benefit to brands) - it simply shows that I'm good at sharing cute photos. inPowered focuses on measuring true subject matter expertise, based on everything people have published online. We believe that 'influence' is how people react to your status, whereas expertise is how people react to your knowledge. And how people react to your knowledge has a more solid return for brands."
He makes a good point. The knock against Klout and similar services and this notion of "influence" certainly isn't new, but it does illustrate what inPowered is trying to do differently.
"Another core difference is that we make people's expertise actionable for brands," Nilforoush continues. "If a marketer searches for their brand or their products, they will instantly see a list of all the top-ranked experts and what those experts are saying about them. Then, with the click of a button, they can turn those expert opinions about their brand or products into native ads that can be run anywhere on the web, social, or mobile."
Basically, the new ranking system is about uncovering quotes to be used as testimonials. It enables brands to turn "expert opinions" into ads that can run across web, social, and mobile environments, targeting contextually relevant customers, according to Nilforoush.
"For example, if Ford wants to promote what the experts are saying about one of their new vehicle's, we can target contextually-relevant buyers anywhere online (including across social and mobile platforms) to ensure that more people are reading what the top experts are saying about Ford's new vehicles. This helps increase brand awareness and drive consumer demand."
The algorithm is based on depth, consistency, and validation. Nilforoush explains how it uses each:
Depth - When measuring Depth, we check to make sure that people aren't just re-writing press releases or other people's opinions. We believe a true Expert goes deep into the subjects that they are an expert in, meaning that they add their own opinion and insights.
Consistency – The next critical factor is that the expert writes consistently on the topics in which they are an expert. That means that someone isn't just writing about Apple's iPhone because there was an announcement that day – they write about Apple products or mobile devices consistently, all the time.
Validation – Once we identify that someone is writing with depth and consistency on specific topics, then we check to make sure that their content is being validated – meaning that people consistently share and comment on their content.
Only when all three of these criteria are met do we surface someone as an expert on a particular topic. People can of course be experts on multiple topics, but they need to match these criteria for each individual topic before we rank them.
Content creators. who want to see what they are experts in, can do so on profile pages like this:
People in general might want to see the top experts for any given topic. They don't currently give you the ability to just see the top experts in a list, but Nilforoush tells us that's coming soon.
"The current results will show you all of the top expert opinions based on what they're saying about the brand, products or topics you searched for," he says. "And then in the lower left we'll show you all of the other experts who have written something about your search query recently. So marketers can use that list in the lower corner to compile a list of experts they should be speaking to. But we will, in the near future, be adding a simple way to compile lists of ALL top-ranked experts on a topic in numerical, ranked order."
The platform consists of both free tools and paid promotion capabilities. Anyone can go to the website, search for a brand, product, or topic, and see what the top-ranked "experts" are saying about a search term. That part is free.
"They can also amplify those expert articles to their social networks for free, too," explains Nilforoush. "But if they want to promote those expert opinions beyond just their social followers and target all relevant buyers online (including social and mobile), brands & marketers can simply hit the 'Promote' button next to the article or expert opinion that they want to promote, and then we turn that into an ad, which they would then pay us to run across all relevant channels."
What do you think? More helpful than Klout?