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#IMA20: Brands Are Waking Up to the Power of Influencer Marketing

After an intense day of judging, we reveal the official Influencer Marketing Awards shortlist. It’s clear from the record-number of entries that brands are finally waking up to the power of influencer marketing.

With the Influencer Marketing Awards 2020 taking place in just under two months, it’s time to announce who is in the running for bronze, silver, and gold. The panel of judges from across the globe spent an intense day deliberating and debating the record-breaking number of entries across the 24 categories.

There has been real creativity coming through in this year’s entries as brands are waking up to the power of influencer marketing and are clearly dedicating more budget to this sector to scale their campaigns, according to the judging panel. Compared to the 2019 entries, judges have seen more evidence of brands being noticeably more strategic in the influencers they are choosing to work with in order to reach a bigger audience and are going to town with activating talent both on and offline.

It was an absolute honour and pleasure to judge the fantastic entries for the 2020 Influencer Marketing Awards. Nominees should rightfully be very proud to have their outstanding work recognised, and after some tough judging, we have a list of extremely worthy winners in categories including campaigns, agencies, tools and truly remarkable individuals. The future of influencer marketing is clearly in very safe hands, said William Bonaddio, social media consultant. 

Campaign awards

Although influencer marketing is becoming part of the wider marketing mix, the campaign categories demonstrated excellent research, sound insight and innovative strategies that focused solely on influencer campaigns. Campaigns were carefully measured; objectives set with the target audience in mind; and a refreshingly diverse range of influencers chosen to reach target audiences. 

“Many of these integrated campaigns prove social media’s value to traditional media,” commented Anna Anderson, social talent lead at Conde Nast. 

Viral Nation, R-Squared, MATTIO Communications, Influencer, Gleam Futures, and Ogilvy are in the running to win one of the most popular awards — Best Integrated Influencer Marketing Campaign (Multi-Channel). Following fierce debates from the judges, strong entries from Captiv8, rewardStyle, The Hut Group, OST Marketing, and Seen Connects will compete for Best Use of Data.

Most Effective Collaboration and Partnership had stand-out entries from Gold Boutique, IMA, Jelba The B2B Online Specialist, MediaCom, Ogilvy, Pegasus, Shell, and Takumi, who have all been shortlisted. Making the shortlist for the Most Creative Influencer Marketing Campaign is HCL Technologies, Influencer, influencia, Ogilvy, Pulse, Shell China and Talent Village who will battle it out for bronze, silver and gold.

Technology awards

A trend that came up in the technology awards was the clear investment in new technologies and the use of extensive analysis tools. Using a blend of human insight and in-depth data to discover the right talent and create genuine relationships with brands is what’s leading the way in the technology entries. 

“Providing insights that connect genuine influencers with brands that have the same values is vital for campaign success,” commented Hannah Tyrell, international social marketing manager at M&S. 

The battle of the tech continues as Traackr, Tagger, Impact, CreatorIQ, and Influencity go head-to-head for the Best Influencer Discovery Tool award. CJ Affiliate, Influencity, and Traackr are up for Best Relationship Management Tool. Meanwhile, the judges had a difficult time deciding who should make the cut for Best Campaign Planning & Management Tool, listing CreatorIQ, Influencity, Tagger, Traackr and Q-83 as worthy contenders. 

Agency awards

The agency categories were hotly debated amongst the judges, with the panel looking for clear USPs and refreshing approaches that lead to creative, meaningful work in addition to real results.

“In what is a saturated market, it was great to see those pushing industry standards and challenging what has become the norm,” said Ruby Soave, influencer lead at Prince’s Trust. 

The likes of R-Squared, Seen Connects, and Buttermilk Agency go head-to-head for taking home the prize for Best Boutique Influencer Marketing Agency. The ever-popular Best Large Influencer Marketing Agency is back with entrants including Collectively, Gleam Futures, Kairos Group, Tailify, Takumi, The Fifth and Viral Nation competing for the top prize.

Vertical awards

The popular vertical awards were challenging to judge given the caliber of entries this year. A clear trend was the diversity of carefully selected influencers and the execution of campaigns across different touchpoints.

“It was nice to see influencers on long-term contracts that became true brand ambassadors to create real authentic voices,’ commented Nicolas Mauron, head of influencer marketing and digital partnerships at Breitling. 

The likes of Ogilvy, Pulse Advertising, Takumi, Buttermilk Agency and MATTIO Communications have been shortlisted for the popular Best Beauty Campaign category. Entries from THE FIFTH, Talent Village, Ogilvy, Ball Street Network and 160over90 all made it for the competitive Best Sport & Fitness category

As always, Best Food & Drink was a tough category to judge with so many strong entries. Making the shortlist is Buttermilk Agency, Collectively, IMA, Influencer, Ogilvy, Tailify and Takumi, whilst Awin and rewardStyle compete for Best Fashion & Style campaign. 

New categories 

Three shiny new categories were added to the mix this year and garnered attention from the likes of IMA, Influencer, MSL, Ogilvy and Pulse Advertising, all of which are in the running for gold in the newly created Best Cause-Led Campaign category, sponsored by headline sponsor Kindred. Meanwhile, Kairos Media, Viral Nation, United Esports, Wildfire Social and 160over90 will battle it out for the new Best Gaming Campaign award, and HCL Technologies and Saulderson Media are contenders for Best Small Budget Campaign, sponsored by Takumi.

View the full list of shortlisted brands, agencies, and tech platforms on the website.

Vote for your Industry Choice and Rising Star 

Voting is now open for you to choose which company should win the coveted prize for Industry Choice of Technology or SaaS award. Remember standard rules apply, with one vote limited per company. Voting closes at midday Wednesday 5 February – exactly one week from now – so head to the website to cast your vote.

It’s also time to cast your vote for the Industry Rising Star and recognise the hard work and inspiring movements of those rising stars of the industry over the last 12 months. Again, voting closes at midday Wednesday 5 February – exactly a week from now – so head to the website to cast your vote.

Secure your seat

See who picks up bronze, silver, and gold on the night after you’ve wined and dined in the glamorous Sheraton Grand Park Lane in London on March 25. Secure your seat online now before the event sells out.

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