The measurement of online influence is a much-loved topic among marketeers and agency-folk alike. Blogs can be particularly difficult to measure in terms of influence, many are not audited which often means resorting to tools like Alexa & Technorati. Then there’s the mammoth task of defining influence in terms of engagement, quality of content, frequency of posts… the list goes on.
So, I spent some time this week testing out the bloglevel tool.
Here’s my findings:
The tool is upon first glance very user friendly (unlike some social media monitoring tools where you need to have a degree in semantics to get a vague understanding of the data), you simply enter the blog url to assess an influencer rating.
You also have the option to search via topic, which is very useful indeed. We’ve previously talked about the importance of ‘category influencers’ in our ‘Valuing consumer influencers’ article and that there’s no such thing as a one size fits all influencer so it’s great to see that Edelman have taken this into consideration with the tool.
The searches take a while to run (approx 30secs – sometimes longer) and the tool is prone to crashing but I guess that’s what you get with a free tool in beta!
As with most free online measurement tools, there’s no option to geo-target on the topic search, which does make things painful as you have to wade through the Global blogs to get to the Australian ones. We did raise this with Edelman and they agreed that geo-targeting would indeed be a useful function and may be added to future versions of the tool. This drawback does mean that the topic search is pretty limited unless you’re searching for U.S. blogs.
What is interesting is the straightforward url search. This is useful if you already have a blog that you would like to rank in terms of influence.
The tool generates four scores out of 100 across the following categories:
As well as the score, the tool also helpfully generates a paragraph of copy explaining the relevance of each score – like so:
After playing around with the scores, it feels like anything over 50 is a pretty good result. The above scores were between 46 and 50.
Edelman calculate the scores based on a whole host of variables that make up an impressive looking formula including Google page rank, frequency of posts, number of subscribers, comments, Google & yahoo in-bound links (see below table).
What’s interesting is there’s quite an obvious metric missing here; monthly visitors. Call me old fashioned but surely the number of people visiting the blog each month is fairly important when it comes to influence? To be fair to Edelman it is a huge challenge to verify monthly blog readers, there are some tools out there like my domain stats – but I’ve found them to be pretty inconsistent which means often we have to rely on the bloggers themselves to provide figures using tools like Google Analytics (yes there’s obvious limitations here too).
I think, considering the tool is free, it’s a great resource to quickly obtain an influencer rating on a list of predetermined blogs. A pat on the back for Edelman from me – the tool may have it’s limitations but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.