Unilever Ventures, the venture-capital and private-equity arm of Unilever, has invested in influencer marketing platform CreatorIQ.
Together with growth-equity company TVC Capital and Affinity Group, it has invested a total of $12m (£9.4m). The software system manages and optimises creator-driven campaigns for brands including Airbnb, Dell, Disney, Mattel, Ralph Lauren and Salesforce.
Unilever's stake reflects its aim to improve the integrity, transparency and measurement of influencer marketing, both for its brands and as a way of setting best practice for the industry as a whole. Issues such as follower fraud and audience duplication are affecting the influencer marketing channel.
Vasiliki Petrou, executive vice president and group chief executive at Unilever Prestige, said: "The entire digital advertising ecosystem understands the important role creators are playing in advertising and brand-building; the industry needs forward-thinking companies to address issues like data transparency and fraud.
"CreatorIQ is proactively developing solutions that empower Unilever to continue to set global measurement standards for the influencer marketing industry. Their platform enhances the quality and integrity of our brands’ campaigns by safeguarding against follower fraud and brand safety issues."
CreatorIQ has expanded in the past 12 months and has opened an office in the UK. Former Unilever marketing chief Keith Weed is an investor in influencer marketplace Tribe.