According to a recent study commissioned by market research analysts Technavio, the global social commerce market is forecast to see average growth of 34% a year up until 2021. That will take its overall value to somewhere in the region of $166 billion. Social commerce is broadly defined as a sub-category of e-commerce in which the sale takes place within a social media website or app.

The user is not redirected to a retailer or brand’s independently-hosted e-commerce site as would have been the case in traditional social media marketing. The whole process from marketing to product or service choice, order and payment takes place within the native environment of the social media.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and other major social media platforms and apps have been rolling out social commerce functionalities over the past couple of years. While social commerce in 2018 is still a nascent market, it is growing quickly and attracting increasing ad spend. It’s considered a key new revenue stream and central to the future growth prospects of social media companies. And one of the core social commerce trends is influencer market. However, controversies around what represents ‘best practise’ or ‘ethical’ influencer marketing and the tensions it can create between brands and social media platforms is also becoming an industry challenge.

Influencer marketing is the practise of brands paying mainstream celebrities, and regular social media account holders that have managed to attract large followings, to endorse their products or services. The most common approach to influencer marketing is the influencer…