Why Relying Primarily On A Single Third-Party Platform Endangers All Personal Influence Measurement Platforms
This post was written by our Founder & CEO, Larry Levy:
Social game developer Zynga’s recent slide certainly speaks to the dangers of technology platforms and brands relying on “someone else’s” data to remain a viable player in their respective markets.
Zynga, the dominant Facebook game developer with brands such as Mafia Wars and Farmville under its belt, is finding the darker side of their dependence on Facebook’s platform.
Experiencing the greatest slide since its initial public offering in December, Zynga shares dropped 37 percent after their second quarter earnings came out last week, putting them down 68 percent overall since its IPO.
The reason for the steady decline?
Citing Facebook’s recent interface updates that feature newer social games at the detriment of platform staples, Zynga’s drop is a cold, hard reminder that the lack of control over third-party platform changes is a very real danger for all brands.
Where does this leave the world of influence, where reliance on third-party data and platforms is an acute concern for social influence measurement tools that measure “personal” influence like Kred, Klout and others?
Why Influence Measurement Needs a Broader Range of Data Sources
Third-party platforms (especially social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter) are notorious for algorithm and interface changes, often with little warning to the platforms and brands that depend on their data.
For influence measurement platforms that primarily rely on social media data, sudden algorithm changes in those social platforms could shift weight or credence of certain metrics. Every small shift means brands are left guessing how these tools measure influence.
And that’s a problem.
Brands need true indicators of influence, focusing on a broader and more complete data set of what defines influence. Most tools rely solely on Twitter and expect consumers and brands to be okay with the calculated risk of ever-changing metrics and access to data.
Most platforms will deny this, stating that they access multiple social networks. But if we asked most influence platforms this question – “If you had no access to Twitter could you still function?” the honest answer would be “no”!
A Word of Caution to Brands Seeking Deeper Evidence of Influence
Would you consider ownership over brand assets negligible or even optional? Would you give up control of your brand’s visual and informational identity to third parties that could change direction at a moment’s notice?
Zynga’s lesson revealing the drawbacks of relying on a single third-party platform is one of caution for brands and agencies seeking a deeper understanding of the science behind influence measurement.
When your primary benchmark for measuring influence is handed over to a single third-party platform like Twitter, you run the risk of the rug being pulled out from beneath your influence marketing efforts at any moment. Not to mention the fact that measuring influence by a single indicator gives you little more than a superficial popularity score.
Is that really what you want to base your influence marketing efforts on?
While influence (and the credibility needed to persuade) can be a brand’s best weapon for consideration and third-party endorsement, its impact is only as viable as the data used to measure it.
Image credit: Krissy.Venosdale