A coalition of pioneering influencer marketing agencies, architects of the influencer marketing industry, announced the formation of the Influencer Marketing Association (IMA), designed to represent brands, agencies, networks and influencers. The national trade association will act as the voice of the industry, providing counsel around influencer marketing trends, measurement standards, transparency guidelines, and best practices for marketers and influencers.
In less than a decade, influencer marketing has established itself as an essential component of marketing strategies for companies around the world. In 2017, the industry was valued at $2 billion and is projected to climb to $10 billion by 2020, according to Adweek.
In looking at the influx of organisations in the marketing industry, there is no trade or industry organisation solely focused on supporting influencer marketing agencies and practitioners, despite its increasing prominence in recent years. The founding members of IMA identified this need and created the organisation.
By acting as a resource to members and the marketing / advertising / PR industry at large, the organisation aims to promote influencer marketing as an integral component of all marketing campaigns. A founding principle of the IMA is that robust technology, including platforms and analytics capabilities, must combine forces with human oversight, leveraging critical thinking, in order to be effective.
Among the association’s priorities is to establish industry guidelines for ethics and best practices, beyond the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. In order to ensure influencer transparency, authenticity and disclosure, IMA will encourage good citizenship and adherence to industry best practices, while clarifying FTC compliance standards.
“Influencer marketing has finally come into its own as a marketing strategy – not a tactic – that engages influencers to create and share sponsored content that reaches millions of target audiences and drives proven ROI,” says Danica Kombol, president of Everywhere Agency. “The Influencer Marketing Association believes real people tell the best stories about the brands, products and services they love. We also believe brands want to reach real, human customers. Therefore, none of our members would ever rely solely on an algorithm to pick influencers for our clients. To be effective, influencer marketers have to be tech-enabled to scale, but human-powered where it counts.”
As with any marketing initiative, influencer marketing needs to be measured to demonstrate value and ROI, however there is currently no industry standard to do so. Therefore, the association is developing industry benchmarking standards in order to determine the effectiveness of influencer campaigns based on audience growth, performance analytics, consumer engagement and campaign reach.
The association will also challenge the industry to look beyond engagement numbers, analytics and metrics, and instead consider the value of integrating the human element with technology.
Source: Influencer Marketing Association