AI seems to be an inescapable topic and with 35% of businesses around the world using the tool, it seems that it’s only going to get bigger. Despite the controversies surrounding this type of software, influencers and marketers are finding a lot of success. As such, this article will discuss SocialPubli’s AI in Influencer Marketing report and provide a supportive commentary on how it can impact wider circles of the industry.
STUDY: 76% Of marketers, 52% Of Influencers Use AI In Their Work
The AI in Influencer Marketing report first began its life as an online survey that was carried out in September 2023. This survey was answered by a collection of marketers and influencers, all of whom were already registered on the SocialPubli platform.
Overall, SocialPubli managed to collect 1,235 influencers and a further 73 agencies. In turn, the report uses their answers to build a comprehensive overview of the usefulness of AI in a number of different sectors.
This report also offers us a closer look into the candidates’ demographics, particularly when it comes to influencers. SocialPubli states that most of the participants were based in either Europe or the Americas and six out of ten of them identified as female. The source also notes the majority of these individuals were aged 26-45.
The AI in Influencer Marketing report supplies us with a plethora of key findings, but this article will only focus on the three most imperative. These are described below.
- Almost nine in ten influencers are familiar with AI.
- Influencers tend to have mixed feelings about AI but the majority of the candidates were enthusiastic about its potential.
- Nearly 72% of candidates do not interact with virtual influencers online.
SocialPubli’s report provides a unique look into the state of AI-generated content. It allows readers to expand their horizons and notice how this tool can accentuate every aspect of the marketing industry. Ted Murphy, the Founder, Chairman & CEO of IZEA comments on the rapid growth of AI and how it must become more cost-effective in order to become more widespread within the influencer marketing industry.
‘AI usage is growing rapidly, and I believe it will rapidly accelerate in the future. The impacts of AI on influencer marketing will be profound, with generative sponsorships becoming mainstream over the next few years. Unlike current methods of creating sponsored content for influencer marketing programs, in this new paradigm, both parties collaborate closely to co-create content together alongside AI. This allows brands and creators to boost creativity, lower costs, and speed up production.
Generative AI will be an important component in keeping influencer marketing relevant in the future. The costs of sponsored posts from influencers have grown exponentially over the past two decades, and at some point, the cost increases need to level out. AI can help make sponsorships more affordable while simultaneously helping brands and creators produce new types of content that just aren’t possible in real-world constructs.’
Murphy’s insights not only showcase the potential of AI in our modern world but give us a better understanding of the types of technology that are available to us. Generative AI focuses on a range of different content such as video, text, and imagery. Therefore, it seems that these tools can help influencers and marketers build a series of comprehensive campaigns with ease, giving both parties more time and resources to place elsewhere.
The first finding within the AI in Influencer Marketing report explores how prevalent AI is in our modern society and how it’s quickly infiltrating our everyday lives. The report shows us that 87.6% were familiar with AI, suggesting that these candidates are not just seeing this tool across social media. AI is now used in essential fields such as healthcare, business, and data management, exemplifying its versatility and power in a number of different assets. Thus, we can assume that the public expects to see a lot more AI-powered tools, allowing it to become a common part of influence marketing. Iman Abdelaal., the Head of U.S. Operations for LiveMe also explains how developments in AI are supporting high levels of growth for this platform.
‘AI is being used as a creative tool, helping influencers explore new ideas and styles. As AI becomes more integrated into creative processes, influencers may experiment with novel formats and content types. AI-generated content could become a unique selling point for some influencers. We’re seeing the impacts of this on some streaming platforms including platforms like LiveMe.
It’s important to note that these potential changes are subject to various factors, including technological advancements, regulatory developments, and shifts in audience behavior. The influencer industry is dynamic, and AI will likely continue to play a significant role in shaping its evolution.’
Though LiveMe could still be considered a small platform, its use of AI indicates its determination for success. However, the source still notes the importance of regulating and monitoring the capabilities of AI, even on live streaming platforms, which are mostly conducted by the influencers themselves. In turn, it’s vital that industry leaders show impartiality toward these types of tools and see them as an asset rather than a complete solution for influencer-generated content.
SociaPubli also notes that although candidates had a fairly mixed perception of AI, the majority of them spoke well of the tool. 36.9% stated that they felt more excited than concerned, 41% felt equally excited and concerned, and 22.1% were more concerned than excited. Abdelaal gives his own thoughts on how influencers are responding positively to AI.
‘Many influencers have shown interest in AI tools that enhance their content creation processes by offering ways to optimize and streamline some of the more tedious aspects of content creation. This includes AI-powered photo and video editing tools, caption generators, and other automation tools. Influencers often enjoy the time-saving aspect and the ability to maintain a consistent and polished aesthetic.
Influencers can also benefit from AI for analytics and optimization purposes for their overall growth as creatives. AI tools that analyze audience behavior, suggest optimal posting times, and identify content trends are welcomed by those looking to maximize their reach and engagement.’
The analytical side of AI assures us that this tool is not just for creativity, it can be used in all areas of a marketing campaign. This is especially beneficial for content creators who are looking to exert full control over their work, giving them everything they need to track the success of their campaigns. Not only can these programs help influencers produce viral content, but they also have the chance to help them develop a better work-life balance.
Although a large portion of the report’s sample seemed to feel indifferent about the power of AI, this doesn’t mean that they’re not aware of its progress and evolution. Emma Lenhart, the Project Development Manager at HireInfluence also acknowledges how influencers can feel weary of the prospect of these tools.
‘There are definitely mixed feelings among influencers about using AI and integrating the technology into existing workflows and creative processes, which is fair and to be expected as with any new technology. It’s crucial for those of us within the industry to recognize that AI should not replace human-led creativity.
However, I think an important mindset shift for influencers is to see AI as a tool and asset for creativity, rather than something that thwarts it. If used responsibly, AI can be a way for influencers to gain a deeper understanding about what their followers engage with and respond to, in order to better inform their content strategy moving forward; ultimately better serving both their audience and brand partners.’
Although we cannot deny the positives surrounding AI technology, Lenhart’s comments remind us once again to not rely on these tools wholeheartedly. Influencers use their creative potential to produce a wealth of profitable and intriguing work, but a lot of this content requires a hefty load of time and money. Thus, it’s best to use AI to reduce these burdens, rather than just replace human work altogether. In turn, we may see an increase in AI usage in research and data analysis, but it’s unlikely that these tools will be able to completely wipe out humans just yet.
The final finding within this report concerns virtual influencers. These content creators are typically formed using a selection of AI technologies and CGI software. As such, these digitally crafted influencers work in a similar fashion to regular influencers, giving them the chance to collaborate with a variety of highly sought-after brands. Sega Cheng, the Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of iKala explains the nuances surrounding these monetization opportunities, especially with regard to the East.
‘The development of virtual idols in Japan has been relatively rapid and mature, and they even have particular agencies to help with business collaboration. In Taiwan or other countries in South East Asia, many virtual influencers have not fully mastered the marketing resources associated with brand collaborations. Therefore, they require the expertise of a professional influencer marketing team to assist in promoting more opportunities for business partnerships.’
Cheng’s insightful comments remind us that influencer marketing is a powerful strategy all around the world. Thus, it’s important to recognize that even though virtual influencers may not be hitting all of the marks in the West, they still hold a lot of value in other lucrative countries. Plus, since a lot of these Eastern countries have been at the forefront of many technological advancements for many years now, we can assume that they’re also working to promote the force of virtual influencers.
Despite their potential and ingenuity, virtual influencers are not finding much success, with less than 30% of the sample following them on social media. This poor performance leads us to believe that viewers prefer influencers who use AI to elevate their work, rather than those who use AI purely to generate content. To explore these drawbacks even further Iman Abdelaal offers her views on the concept of virtual influencers and the importance of authenticity in these matters.
‘Virtual influencers don’t have personal lives or experiences, which can eliminate concerns related to authenticity. However, this lack of authenticity can be a double-edged sword, as audiences may find it challenging to form genuine connections. But, they can be designed to appeal to specific niche audiences that might be underserved by human influencers. This customization allows brands to target audiences with precision.’
In spite of these comments, Emma Lenhart explores how marketers can use virtual influencers to the best of their ability, offering them more success in this dynamic industry.
‘While using virtual influencers introduces a new dynamic, the fundamental approaches marketers use to execute campaigns remain consistent. Marketers should acknowledge the differences between AI and human influencers, and create campaigns tailored to objectives in order to ensure a seamless experience that aligns with the brand and resonates with the target audience.’
To finalize this piece, Abdelaal offers a wealth of extensive advice on how marketers can utilize AI so that it helps their campaigns grow from strength to strength.
‘The first step is to ensure that influencers are carefully selected based on your marketing strategy and needs. It’s best to choose influencers whose interests align with AI and whose audience is likely to be receptive to such content. Look for influencers who can authentically integrate AI into their niche.
The second step is to educate and inform. It’s crucial to work closely with influencers to ensure they have accurate information about the AI applications being promoted. Encourage them to create content that educates and informs their audience and ensure you have a team that can review the content being shared before it’s live for their audiences.
Lastly, monitor and adapt. As AI technology continues to grow, it’s important to regularly monitor influencer campaigns, gather feedback, and be ready to adapt strategies based on the evolving landscape and audience responses.
In summary, leveraging the enthusiasm of influencers for AI presents exciting opportunities, but it’s essential to approach it strategically, ensuring authenticity, accuracy, and alignment with broader marketing goals.’
Abdelaal’s guide to AI in influencer marketing encourages us to critique these tools, but not disregard them completely. Now that these tools are so common and accessible, it seems like every sector is using them in some way or another, without giving it a second thought.
But, the Head of U.S. Operations reminds us to regularly assess the benefits linked with AI and forces us to ask whether they’re actually useful to our brands. These comments also note that we should be using human power to assess the work of AI, which could open up a range of job opportunities for the future workforce. Therefore, these comments allow us to question the validity and usefulness of AI but also ask us to experiment with the tools on offer so that we can extend their practicality and growth.
SociaPubli’s AI in Influencer Marketing report provides us with a stellar selection of informative findings and when paired with the comments of industry leaders, we are able to gain a much more comprehensive understanding of these tools. Yet, with this understanding comes an increase in responsibility. As these tools become more apparent and approachable, it’s important that both influencers and marketers continue to use their better judgment to assess whether AI is the best resource for their desired goals and campaigns.