S4 Capital, the new venture from Martin Sorrell, has merged the Amsterdam-based influencer marketing firm IMA into its MediaMonks business. The move signals a broader trend of influencer activity becoming more of a creative than a media proposition.

S4 Capital has continued its slate of acquisitions with the purchase of influencer marketing agency IMA for €10m. The agency will merge with MediaMonks, also based in the Dutch capital, and is intended to increase its output.

IMA, according to its website, began as a fashion blog in 2010 before launching as a full service agency in 2013. Notably, the agency has an all-women management team including founders Emilie Tabor and Maddie Raedts; CEO Anneke Schogt joined three years later. It employs 85 staff.

The agency counts as clients brands like Pernod Ricard, Under Armour, Beiersdorf, Diesel, Microsoft, Heineken, Samsonite, and Booking.com, which are serviced by its network of 40,000 influencers.

In a statement, MediaMonks CEO Victor Knaap explained that “IMA has been at the forefront as this industry has started to come of age. We look forward to working with its entrepreneurial team in developing how powerful influencers can be as part of a digital marketing strategy”.

Currently, MediaMonks is focused on digital content production at scale, and operates specialised studios for specific categories. As IMA founder Emilie Tabor notes in the press release, “the influencer space is only just starting to properly mature”/

Though there may be some maturity, it has hurtled through a series of stumbling blocks. As WARC reported from VidCon earlier this year, with greater maturity comes greater accountability.

Meanwhile, companies that leverage influencers either as a media buy or as a creative option are gaining ground. For instance, the influencer “marketplace” Tribe, which began in Australia, has raked in significant investment (its latest round raised $7.5m) from figures such as the former Unilever CMO Keith Weed.

Influencer strategies have, over time, moved from big-name endorsements (see the Kardashians, for instance) where an expensive post gets to millions of followers, to influencers with smaller but hopefully more engaged audiences.

"This merger is yet another example of our focus on top line growth. Influencer marketing is an important sub-set of the digital content marketing industry and is predicted to double in size over the next three years,” Sir Martin said in a statement that predicts the global worth of the influencer industry is set to reach $15bn by 2022.

The IMA merger follows the integration of the Australian marketing transformation and CX company BizTech announced in June.

Sourced from Investgate, WARC, AdNews