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Who’s That Girl? The Rise of the ‘Digi-Influencer’

April 25, 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters

For brands and agents alike, developing a rapport with someone with the title of ‘influencer’ in their job description is now becoming second nature. The landscape of fashion marketing continues to change, with more and more advertising endorsements and sponsorships going to previously unheard of social media giants, rather than the traditional ‘celebrities’. As technology morphs our reality, we now have influencers who are somewhere else on the scale of ‘human’ - or in fact - not human at all. How is this effecting the industry, and will they do more harm than good?

What are AI Influencers?

If you are a regular social media user, chances are you have already come across a digital influencer perhaps without even realising it. Social accounts like Lil Miquela have surpassed goals many can only inspire to - with over 1.3 million followers and brand partnerships with the likes of Vetements and Prada. Influencers like her (i.e. ones that don’t arguably ‘physically’ exist) can be completely controlled by brands themselves, marketing their products without the fear of their human marketing tools ‘going rogue’.

What does this mean for influencer marketing?

On a surface level, the idea of brands having a marketing outlet have total control over sounds like a dream scenario, and a cost-effective one at best. But it does raise questions of transparency and authenticity, as well as a potential conflict of interests. The stakes of creating ‘fake’ engagement with a brand campaign is noticeably higher, while also making the rigorous process of finding the right product for the right influencer even more difficult if a fully-fleshed persona has not been established. As for the consumers, the response is less certain. Our natural human instincts (regardless of making a purchase) tell us to be wary of something new, especially where technology is concerned. Where AI tech continues to be successful in marketing is more ‘behind the scenes’ – helping to identify relevant content, fake accounts and recommendations.

For these new AI faces, it’s still early days. There is a definite noticeable interest from consumers and the industry itself, although hesitancy to fully embrace them still exists. Whether they are the perfect fit for brands across the board remains to be seen, with many questions needing to be answered for full growth and usage to be adopted.

Image credit: www.thetimes.co.uk


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