This article was originally published by Adweek

After noticing that more brands were turning to social media stars and influencers to pitch their products and create campaigns, Kerry Perse saw an opportunity to create a data-backed score that could grade influencers on their effectiveness with marketers.

In December, Perse and her 22-person team unveiled the OMD I-Score. The tool helps marketers dig through profiles to find the right influencers to work with based on the type of content that they create. According to Perse, I-Score is akin to Hollywood’s Q Score that ranks the popularity of celebrities. OMD says some 15 clients now use I-Score, which has led to a 40 percent increase in influencer revenue.

Three factors are used to discern credible influencers: a rating from the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) that checks brand safety; a breakdown of the user’s followers parsing real accounts from fake ones; and an analysis of the creator’s engagement rate. After establishing these ratings, OMD then works directly with creators to give them products, oversee content and negotiate the rights for content distribution.

The idea is “to develop proprietary tools that use data to help modernize the influencer marketing approach as well as hold [influencers] more accountable for results,” she says.

Perse’s bet on influencer marketing comes at a tough time for the genre, given the rise of popular personalities such as Logan Paul and PewDiePie that also dovetails with a spike in controversial content and its attendant negative press. That’s why agency involvement in picking influencers is so important, according to Perse. “In the selection process, we’re very careful to take a look at the rating of their content, but then we go through and do a deep manual review of all the content that they’ve posted, and we guide the process very closely,” she says.

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