Artificial Intelligence and Influencer Marketing: Between Revolution and Reflection

It is impossible to talk today about future trends in the influence marketing sector without delving into the subject that has caused so much controversy in 2023: artificial intelligence. Last year was marked by the intensive integration of AI into our practices. Its impact affects both content creators and marketing professionals, and renews the intriguing question of virtual influencers.

An article by Sarah Levin Weinberg, co-founder of Stellar.

Impact on content creators: a double-edged sword

For content creators, generative AI is becoming an essential tool, according to the study by Creator Now. Tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E, as well as the latest features from Meta, YouTube, or TikTok, become muses and artisans: facilitating and stimulating creativity, helping to generate or materialize ideas, and opening the way to original and diverse content production. Other tools even go as far as creating real clones, allowing influencers to speak thirty languages or host live events indefinitely, resulting in increased audience reach and revenue. This revolution translates into considerable time savings, freeing creators for more strategic tasks or to interact with their subscribers.

However, the growing dependence on these technologies raises concerns about the loss of creative authenticity and spontaneity, and about the standardization of content that could dilute the uniqueness that is the essence of influence marketing. At the heart of these technological innovations, ethical and legal questions, particularly around malicious deepfakes and identity theft, remain prevalent and require increased attention.

For influence professionals: a preferred partner

For professionals, the integration of AI is not new. Used for years in influence platforms, predictive AI with Machine Learning allows marketers to precisely analyze large volumes of data, offering a better understanding of influencer trends and behaviors. Social listening and sentiment analysis have become essential to understand the results and optimize campaigns for better ROI.

Generative AI, on the other hand, offers endless opportunities but is not without limitations or challenges. Creating strategies, concepts, and briefings for influencers… each step in an influence marketing campaign where Chat GPT proves to be an assistant and a “brainstorm-buddy” of choice, but where human intervention remains and will remain central – good news for those who think that machines will replace humans. Why? Because it needs us to be briefed and challenged; because it is limited to past data and describes what has worked, but not what will work; because it lacks emotions; and because it does not know how to maintain real relationships. Only human influence experts can be avant-garde with ideas, feel what can move or disappoint, and create a strong relationship with influencers – a fundamental element in influence marketing.

Virtual influencers: yes, but.

The emergence of virtual influencers such as Lil Miquela marks a fascinating evolution in the world of influence marketing. These digital characters that are booming in Asia offer total control and unprecedented flexibility to brands, allowing them to shape them in their image and no longer fear past or future bad publicity. They are a ROI solution, generating high engagement at minimal cost, and opening up new creative possibilities.

However, their existence raises important questions in the West, where their number is still relatively low but growing. The lack of authenticity and reliability is a major obstacle, as virtual influence contradicts the inherent principles of authenticity and trust in influence marketing. Finally, there are legal and ethical issues: the obligation of transparency or the warning about the overrepresentation of idealized and perfect bodies that may perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards.

In France, openly virtual influencers with a societal or environmental mission, like Anne Kerdi who promotes her region or Beenfluencer who fights for bee preservation, seem to have a promising future and represent the trustworthy virtual influencers of tomorrow.

A delicate balance to find?

2023 has been a year of deep introspection for the influence marketing sector, confronted with the immense possibilities offered by AI, but also with new challenges. Finding a balance where technological innovation coexists harmoniously with human creativity and uniqueness will be essential. Transparency, regulation, and strong ethics will be the keys to navigate this new era of influence marketing, where artificial intelligence continues to redefine the boundaries of what is possible.

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