- Startup You & Mr Jones this week bought influencer marketing agency Collectively to expand services for brands seeking to work with social influencers, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
- You & Mr Jones will combine Collectively with TheAmplify, the influencer marketing firm it acquired in 2016. Adobe, Coty, Danone, De Beers, Diageo, HP, Intuit, LinkedIn, NFL, Old Navy and Unilever are among the clients of the newly combined company, which will operate under the Collectively brand.
- Collectively co-founder and CEO Ryan Stern will lead the merged company. Her management team will include TheAmplify CEO Amy Luca, who will be president and head of international, while Collectively co-founder and executive vice president Alexa Tonner will be COO, according to the announcement.
You & Mr Jones' acquisition of Collectively is a sign of how influencer marketing continues to be a growth strategy for advertisers seeking to cut through ad clutter by working with social media personalities with dedicated followings. You & Mr Jones' TheAmplify saw 50% growth during the first six months of the year, contrasting with the pullback among major ad holding companies like Interpublic, Omnicom and Publicis that recently reported double-digit declines in revenue as marketers slashed spending in the coronavirus pandemic's early days.
You & Mr Jones saw 27% revenue growth during the first half, and was valued at $1.3 billion in a $200 million funding round last year. The acquisition of Collectively marks its latest investment in the influencer marketing industry after participating in a venture capital round for influencer relationship management startup Traackr two years ago. In 2017, You & Mr Jones disclosed an investment in Tribe Dynamics, an influencer platform that ties press coverage to sales, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. David Jones, the former CEO of advertising giant Havas, founded You & Mr Jones in 2015 with a $350 million investment and positioning around leveraging technology for marketing.
Before the pandemic, spending on influencer marketing was forecast to reach $9.7 billion in 2020, with 66% of marketers planning to boost their influencer budgets, per a survey by CreatorIQ and Influencer Marketing Hub. The pandemic led to a slight dip in influencer campaigns in March, but there have been signs of a gradual recovery in ensuing months as marketers targeted homebound consumers, a recent Forrester study indicates. Marketers used influencer campaigns for creative work and content that was unavailable from advertising agencies when pandemic lockdowns began, the firm found. Procter & Gamble's Bounty brand of paper towels, E.l.f. Cosmetics, Häagen-Dazs, Hollister, Macy's and NYX Professional Makeup are among the companies that have enlisted influencers in campaigns this year.