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New Association Offers a Path Forward for Influencer Marketing

By: The Social Shake-Up

September 26, 2019

The world of influencer marketing is becoming increasingly complex to navigate. Brands that partner with influencers face numerous challenges, from avoiding influencer fraud to putting a dollar sign on a committed social following. And, while the Federal Trade Commission has established a set of rules for influencer endorsements, there’s little consensus among marketers on how those guidelines should be handled in practice.

To address these issues, a group of veteran influencer marketers have launched a new trade organization, the Influencer Marketing Association (IMA). The IMA aims to establish a set of ethical standards and benchmarks for the industry, which is set to hit $10 billion in 2020.

The Social Shake-Up interviewed Danica Kombol, CEO of Everywhere Agency and founding board member of the IMA, to learn more about how the organization intends to “help establish parameters and guardrails for this growing and changing industry,” per the official release.

Danica Kombol, CEO, Everywhere Agency

Danica Kombol, CEO, Everywhere Agency

How would you describe the current landscape of ethics in influencer marketing? 

The Federal Trade Commission has guidelines in place that clearly outline the ground rules, yet many marketers are still confused by disclosure and haven’t built an infrastructure to monitor posts. We need to educate the community on best practices, so marketers understand when and where disclosure is required, and the proper ways to do it.

How does the IMA intend to educate and inform marketers on those practices?

Beyond ethics, the Influencer Marketing Association is committed to ensuring that the human element of our practice gets equal billing with the technology we deploy to measure and source influencers. It’s our job to help establish benchmarks for measurement and to educate the community on best practices.  

What are some new and coming challenges for influencer marketers?

Social media platforms are in a constant state of flux. For example, Instagram is taking away the “like.” How will this act impact influencer marketing? We’ll see. The good news is that influencers are nimble and innovative. They will adapt to platform changes and constantly mine new ways to communicate as platforms expand.

What kinds of tools and technology are members of IMA finding successful as they evolve the influencer marketing discipline?

Influencer marketing is inherently measurable, and programs rely on technological resources to pull the data. The industry has come a long way: We now have technology to source influencers, analyze their audiences, assess engagement and measure the results of campaigns.  Much of this can happen real time, which is exciting to observe.

Where do you see measurement heading for the influencer industry? How is IMA working to build out new measurement standards, or strengthen existing ones?

The industry craves standardized measurements and benchmarks for success. The first thing we’re doing at the IMA is surveying influencers to glean solid data and insights around payment parameters for sponsored content. We’re also asking them which platforms are seeing the most engagement and how diligent brands are being in requiring disclosure. So much of the existing data on influencer marketing comes from the brand side. We wanted to go to the horse’s mouth and hear from directly the influencers. What trends are they seeing?

As an industry, we’ve done a pretty good job of building algorithms to assess the validity of followers and engagement. This allows us to root out fake followers and bots. But there will always be those who try to game the system. It’s important as an industry that we agree to do everything in our power to call attention to fake followers. I do hope the platforms themselves will be more aggressive at policing bots and inflated followings. In the meantime, it’s on us.

Follow Danica: @DanicaKombol

Follow the IMA: @InflMktgAssoc

At The Social Shake-Up

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