Yahoo plans to let marketers bid on ads based around a user’s ‘social influence’, rivalling the likes of Klout to offer brands new ways of amplifying messages via their most vocal customers and advocates.
The move would see marketers bid against each other to target users judged to have a high degree of authority among their peers.
Yahoo revealed the plans in a patent, published last week but filed back in December 2011. It suggests a score could be based on the number of followers a user has on social networks and the number of times they are mentioned in others' posts.
Yahoo’s "social reputation ads" would put it in competition with the likes of Firms including Klout, Kred and Proskore, which already offer ratings of how influential internet users are.
Yahoo notes that marketers can currently specify where on a site their ads are placed to help target a specific type of user.
The patent suggests taking this to the next level by identifying users with higher, or lower, than normal sway over others.
"The level of social influence may be based upon factors such as the number of followers of the user, the number of contacts of the user, and/or the title of the user," it says.
It adds that the score could further be tweaked by looking at:
• The number of posts, reposts and retweets they make
• The type of products they "like"
• The lists they subscribe to
• The amount of times others write about them
• How influential their own followers are
"In this manner, an advertiser may be billed a higher amount for advertisements provided to users having a higher social authority score than for advertisements provided to users having a lower social authority score," the patent adds.
Marketers can make use of these to directly target high-ranking individuals by sending them messages via Twitter or LinkedIn.