Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) conglomerate Unilever teamed up with two venture capital companies to invest $12 million into CreatorIQ, a marketing platform chiefly concerned with marketing activities that utilize social media influencers.

Unilever was joined by TVC Capital and Affinity Group, a partnership of TPG Growth and Evolution Media. CreatorIQ executives say that the new injection of capital will be used to further expand the company’s AI-based platform to manage brand campaigns in the influencer-marketing segment.

CreatorIQ even built a software platform called Enterprise Creator Cloud; this platform uses AI to choose the perfect influencers for a specific project, manage workflow and paid-media allocations, measure outcomes, protect brands from fraud and ensure that influencers get paid. CreatorIQ also counts Airbnb, CVS, Dell, Disney, Mattel, Ralph Lauren and Salesforce as part of its robust portfolio of 2,000 clients.

Fighting fake followers

The funds will also expand the platform’s capacity to weed out fake followers and remove unintentional “duplicate” followings; both of which are considered serious issues in influencer-based marketing. Addressing issues such as these are crucial for continuing growth as more brands harness influencers to reach and engage their target audiences, especially in the younger demographics.

Unilever is an outspoken critic of follower fraud, as well as other connected issues with regards to influencer marketing. Last year, Unilever’s then-CMO Keith Weed actually announced that the company would never buy “fake” followers, nor work with a single influencer that did so. Although now retired, Weed remains involved with the new kid on the block that is influencer marketing, by investing in another influencer-marketing company, Tribe.

Data transparency and anti-fraud measures are important to big companies, since influencer marketing can and does give marketers significant “bang for their buck”, but it can also mean a lot of money and marketing opportunities wasted if the influencer has fake followers, whether it’s intentional or not.

The influencer effect

How big is influencer marketing? As of 2018, most of the Total Media Value in Q3 and Q4 of that year was generated via influencers. A study by InfluencerDB revealed that the top 5 best-performing brands, Fashion Nova, Gucci, LikeToKnow.It, Zara and Nike enjoyed the most media coverage and the highest engagement numbers thanks to influencer marketing. By using influencers and having posts shared hundreds of millions of times, it’s estimated they garnered media value worth between $168 to $588 million throughout the year 2018. This infographic from InfluencerDB tells the tale:

Some of America’s top brands (particularly in fashion) use a lot of influencers for their marketing campaigns. From the above infographic, it’s clear that influencer marketing is hot now and can mean phenomenal media values if implemented properly. (


With this much media value and through-the-roof engagement numbers at stake, it’s not surprising that companies like Unilever chose to directly invest in companies like CreatorIQ to ensure their brands are protected against influencer fraud.

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It’s quite clear that influencer marketing can be a useful and cost-efficient marketing tool, but is it right for your brand? Is it a marketing strategy you would use? And would you sign up with CreatorIQ as well, should you use influencer marketing for your brand? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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