FORWARD continues to be an Influencer Marketing industry leader. Today, we announced the first-ever Influencer Marketing trade organization. Alongside leadership from other pioneering influencer marketing agencies (see our leadership team), the Influencer Marketing Association aims to act as the voice of the industry, providing counsel around influencer marketing trends, measurement standards, transparency guidelines, and best practices for marketers and influencers.

Please read our official press release below.

Influencer Marketing

First-Ever Influencer Marketing Trade Organization Launches Today

San Francisco, May 22, 2018 – A coalition of pioneering influencer marketing agencies, architects of the influencer marketing industry, today 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 organizations in the marketing industry, there is no trade or industry organization 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 organization. By acting as a resource to members and the marketing / advertising / PR industry at large, the organization 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.

About the Influencer Marketing Association

The Influencer Marketing Association was founded in 2018 as the official trade organization committed to protecting the authenticity and ethics of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is defined as real people telling real stories about the brands, products and experiences they love. Our mission is to drive growth in influencer marketing; advocate on behalf of influencers, marketers, and consumers by ensuring ethical standards are met; and serve as the go-to resource on best practices, measurement standards, and trends. The Influencer Marketing Association was founded by a group of pioneering influencer marketing agencies and networks whose founders continue to lead the influencer marketing industry today.

Our Vision

The Influencer Marketing Association emphasizes the value of integrating the human element and leading-edge technology while operating under a set of ethical standards to achieve marketing objectives and deliver ROI.

Our Values

  • Protect the tenet that the human element of influencer marketing is critical because brands want to reach human consumers.
  • Field critical research on influencer best practices and trends.
  • Educate the industry on influencer marketing trends and being an expert resource to all who engage in it.
  • Establish guidelines for ethics, best practices, and measurement standards.
  • Promote influencer marketing as an integral component of successful marketing campaigns.
  • Advise brands, agencies, networks and influencers on how to establish and maintain proactive, collaborative and creative environments.
  • Develop industry standards for measurement, metrics and analytics to inform future influencer marketing programs.
  • Ensure good citizenship and adherence to industry best practices and disclosure standards.
  • Be a resource for agencies and/or brands wanting authentic, credible, objective marketing strategies.
  • Support influencer marketing practitioners to encourage market strength and growth.
  • Encourage new ideas and industry growth through inclusion, respect and good listening
  • Challenge the industry to combine, consider, and encourage authenticity and human critical thinking skills alongside technological resources.
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  1. Laura Phillips Bennett on May 22, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Excellent and thank you. Your values are a model for all of us. Looking forward to supporting your efforts.

  2. Chelsea Day on May 22, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Yes! I’m so excited to see the impact this industry has made, and I love what FORWARD is doing to educate and support the community.

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