If you are working in influencer marketing, you must have heard of the new buzzword: AI influencers.
AI influencers, sometimes called virtual influencers, are particular influencers whose appearances are virtually generated by AI technology.
Even though it is the latest industry trend, they will definitely not take over completely human influencers.
Working with AI influencers could drive excellent marketing results and grow your business. This is why, it is essential to keep up with this trend and understand how to work with AI influencers.
In this article, we will discuss the history of AI influencers, how they will impact influencer marketing, and, with their existence, what will happen in the near future.
What are AI Influencers?
AI influencers are influencers generated by AI technology. They usually have CGI appearances and act like real human beings interacting with the world in a first-person perspective.
At the moment, The Conversations mentioned there are 3 types of AI influencers:
- non humans
- animated humans
- Life-like CGI humans
Most of these influencers nowadays use AI as part of their narrative such as LilMiquela and many others.
Currently, the closest version for us to a true AI influencer is Kuki, which is integrated with an advanced chatbot and offers the possibility of having a conversation with Kuki herself.
What’s the history of AI influencers
The concept of AI influencers first came out can be traced back to the early 2010s.
Back in those days, the early version of AI influencers were simply virtual characters in the gaming and entertainment industry.
As AI and computer graphics developed, these characters started to have more nuances and became more sophisticated, eventually becoming the virtual influencers we see today.
In 2016, the world welcomed Lil Miquela who is considered the first official hyperrealistic AI influencer in history. After her release, there were a ton of debates about whether she was a real person or not.
Since then, many brands also have developed their own AI influencers for their business, starting from their mascots. The most successful is CB de Casa Bahia, the face of a major retail brand in Brazil with over 10 million followers.
While initially AI was just in the name while the images were CGI creations in the past year, with the explosion in popularity of stable diffusion and generative AI, have emerged profiles like Milla Sofia whose images are generated by an AI model.
With the advancement of generative AI, virtual influencers will become more and more integrated with the real world and offer a more engaging experience to fans.
Why do Brands need AI influencers over Human Influencers?
While they are for now still a niche category of influencers AI influencers appeal to many brands for various reasons:
- They allow brands to try experimental and innovative ways to reach their customer base
- With AI influencers, brands can have full control of the messaging and branding
- Compared to human beings, AI Influencers are less likely to be caught in scandals or controversies
Besides those reasons, according to Influencer Marketing Hub data, AI influencers are collecting excellent feedback from the marketers who worked with them and inspiring more collaborations:
- 59.8% of marketing professionals have worked with AI influencers
- 15.5% plan to collaborate with AI influencers
- Over 60% of those who once collaborated with virtual influencers are satisfied.
Since AI influencers don’t exist as people outside of their social media feed, there is a team of professionals managing them, it is easier to have them align with the specifics of a marketing campaign.
How to use AI influencers in your marketing campaign
Although there is still no data about how effective AI influencers are compared to traditional influencers is clear the fit with the product is still the most critical factor for a successful influencer marketing campaign.
Audiences might be happy to see the innovation of AI influencers, but they may find human influencers more relatable regarding certain products.
Still, AI influencers are great if brands want to showcase an innovative image and position themselves at the forefront of a trend.
We’ve found 3 case studies in different industries to help you get to know better how to work with AI influencers.
Hugo Boss Rebranding (2022)
In the spring of 2022, the German fashion brand Hugo Boss underwent a major rebranding effort to reach the younger generations. First of all, it was the campaign, which included many traditional fashion influencers such as Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber.
It was a powerful signal to integrate virtual influencers in the rebranding, which showed that Hugo Boss’s future will focus on technology and innovation.
Miquela for Samsung
Created by Los Angeles-based startup Brud, Miquela Sousa has collaborated with prestigious brands such as Calvin Klein, UGG, Prada, etc. Among all the exceptional work, one paid partnership stands out: her collaboration with Samsung’s #TeamGalaxy.
In this collaboration, Miquela stands for one of the most advanced technologies, like the latest Samsung phone. The collaboration is undoubtedly a perfect match in digital heaven.
The presence of virtual influencers like Miquela Sousa has also redefined the concept of brand ambassadorship.
Miquela Sousa brings a unique allure to the brands with which she collaborates.
By leveraging Miquela’s influence, Samsung has effectively connected with a tech-savvy audience and embraced the essence of modernity, ultimately enhancing its brand image.
Noonoouri for Dior Rogue
In 2018 Noonoouri substituted Natalie Portman in the Dior “Rogue” perfume campaign. With her cartoonish appearance and exaggerated eyes, Noonoouri gave a huge tribute to her predecessor.
The commercial resembles the original version, with Noonoouri dancing while applying makeup. While it would be a standard ad for the cosmetics industry, using an AI influencer creates a sense of novelty and unexpectedness, making the ad much more appealing.
What is the Future of AI Influencers
As we know, AI tools like Midjourney, and ChatGPT are becoming more vital in every industry. They are integrated with many services to provide a more personalized user experience. With these tools becoming more precise and reliable, we expect to see them integrated with AI influencers in the future as well.
Integrating “true AI” tools in AI influencers will allow these influencers to connect with their audience better. As in the case of Kuki, AI models can be tailored to chat with users while having their characteristics.
Once this kind of implementation is proven reliable, we can expect many brands to start creating AI influencers of their own and relying on them as brand ambassadors while including them in much of the brand’s online material.
In conclusion, AI influencers have opened up a new frontier in the world of social media marketing. While they present exciting opportunities for brands to engage with their audience in novel ways, they are still in the early stages of development. As AI technology progresses, AI influencers will become more common while providing better value to brands.