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AI Influencers: A New Phenomenon

The way people consume advertisements is shifting. Influencer marketing has become more popular than commercial and digitials ads, with influencer ad spending projected to reach $35 billion in 2024.  


However, it seems that artificial intelligence (AI) has come for real-life influencers. 


AI has revolutionized a multitude of industries, including marketing and content creation. An emerging trend is AI influencers, or virtual personalities that are created and controlled by AI. 


Gaining popularity on social media are AI influencers like Lil Miquela, a virtual musician who has over 2 million Instagram followers. Another example is Shudu, the world’s first digital supermodel to collaborate with major fashion brands like Louis Vuitton and Lanvin. 


These virtual personas are becoming a powerful tool for brands seeking to reach new audiences and elevate their marketing efforts. Here’s all you need to know about them:


Benefits of AI Influencers 


  • Accessing Niche Audiences: Partnering with AI influencers whose content fits with a brand’s values and target audience can help businesses reach new customers and increase brand awareness. 


  • Creative Content: AI influencers create engaging and visually appealing content. By collaborating with businesses, they can create content that perfectly enhances the company’s marketing efforts across all platforms, saving time and resources. 


  • Authenticity and Relatability: Unlike traditional ads, AI influencers can create a more organic feel as they seamlessly integrate brand promotions into their content. It does not seem as forced as with real influencers, and the content has a more casual look. 


AI vs. Human Influencers 


  • Competition: AI influencers are now competing with real influencers for brand collaborations and audience attention. This competition will push human influencers into adapting new strategies and offerings to stay relevant, as AI influencers may be more cost effective. This could present new and engaging opportunities, such as collaborations between AI and human influencers. 


  • Trust and Ethical Concerns: Human influencers build their following mainly based on reliability and genuine connections with their audience. The content of AI influencers may lack the emotional connection and authenticity that audiences search for, going against consumer expectations and preferences. Using AI influencers could also seem misleading and deceptive, and thus lead to extreme scrutiny. 


Potential Risks for Brands 


  • Accuracy of audience: AI generated audience insights may not be accurate, which could cause brands to target the wrong audience and possibly create content that does not resonate with its target audience. It's also important that the AI content matches the brand values and clicks with the target audience.


  • Legal risks: AI influencers could expose advertisers to compliance issues with copyright, intellectual property and industry regulations. Brands must understand the risks they may be taking when collaborating with these virtual personas. 


  • Disclosure: If brands do not disclose collaborations with AI influencers, it could lead to reputational risks and engagement damage with their audience. AI-generated content lacks some authenticity and emotional depth, which could result in lack of trust and credibility.


AI influencers give brands a chance to connect with new audiences and boost marketing. By using AI-generated content and dealing with trust and authenticity challenges, brands can fully tap into the potential of AI influencers and stay competitive in the digital landscape.


By: Amanda Longa

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