Influencer Marketing Takes Next Step to Address Consumer Privacy, Fraud, and Accuracy

Influencer marketing isn’t going away. The big payouts for top influencers might challenge their “authentic” authority with audiences, or not. Influencers on the rise might also have fraudulent, exaggerated numbers of followers.

But the influencer market is diverse enough to deliver audiences of any size, by individual or cohort, when brands use data solutions that can keep up with fraud, as well as consumer privacy concerns.

Ryan Detert, CEO of machine-learning-powered solution Influential, told me: “We handle branded content from the handles of micro-, macro- and mega-size influencers. We require approval [from consumers]. A core piece of our influencer marketing is based in consent.”

The CCPA, which takes  effect in a matter of months, is a sign that it might soon not be enough for data vendors and brands to guess at the respectful way forward with consumer audiences. The time may be coming when they’ll be mandated to seek permission for managing, storing, and using consumer data.

A new partnership between Influential, and data and media measurement vendor Freckle, suggests marketers are interested in exploring the benefits of getting their audiences more involved with the exchange of their data.

Freckle’s offering, an app called Killi, allows consumers to select which data they share with advertisers and third parties. To complete the transaction, Killi users also receive money through their app for the data they share.

Currently, the money paid to consumers isn’t that much (a few dollars perhaps for an individual). But the transactions do go far toward making the data transaction more transparent. This, in turn, avoids the risk of alienating consumers who are being hit with branded content.

“There’s clearly changes coming to how data is collected and used,” said Freckle/Killi chairman and CEO Neil Sweeney. “What we thought was that there needed to be a source of data that conforms to this new compliant world. This boils down to using data specifically with consent from consumers. Should a brand or platform use that data, you’re allowing that to happen.”

The small monetary transaction – but they’ll add up, eventually – offers a certain symbolic value or significance above the financial gain. Consumers are quite literally invested in the ad process.

“The efficacy using the Killi app is better,” said Detert. “People are even more targeted. The idea is not just to check off the marks [with regulatory compliance]. It is better for business outcomes, sales and foot traffic.”

Since Influencer campaigns have lots of moving parts – the cohorts of Influencers, along with all their individual audiences – there is also a lot of data to manage. If data is more accurate when exchanged among active participants, Influencer campaigns are sure to benefit.

Detert explained, “The reason why Influencers are a better medium from the likes of the Killi app, is that advertisers are able to avoid  interrupting the consumer journey on the a platform consumers are on anyway. Consumers see content that is branded and emotive, as opposed to a banner ad or pre-roll. Now brands have an ambassador backing a great product, and we can accurately map back to the ad unit and determine [foot traffic]. Data points from Killi target people more intelligently, so brands see more results, but are also more compliant and effective.”

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