Synthetic Influencers: AI is Making Marketing Unreal; Recruiting Is Sure to Follow

Peter Weddle

By Kate-Madonna Hindes, TAtech Staff

Ask any investor fluent in technology patterns and they’ll tell you the biggest game-changer is already upon us. The rise of AI, or artificial intelligence, has touched every facet of business in almost every industry. While HR and recruiting usually lag behind marketing trends, AI continues to reshape brands, influencers and marketing itself, proving that when the right technology comes along, anything and everything can be changed … including recruitment.

Just this month, key takeaways on AI-based marketing include:

Google announced that it is releasing a database of synthetic speech to combat “deep fake” audio detection research. Google stated, “Public awareness of “deep fakes” (audio or video clips generated by deep learning models) can be exploited to manipulate trust in media: as it becomes harder to distinguish real from tampered content, bad actors can more credibly claim that authentic data is fake.” Combine Google’s risk management initiative with the rise of AI-based influencer marketing and the stage is set for tremendous growth in AI in every industry.

TechCrunch recently shared news on how investors are doubling-down on AI-based influencer marketing. Brud, (the creator behind virtual influencer Lil Miquela,) just closed another round of funding, bringing its total valuation to $125 million. With money flowing into AI-based marketing, it’s no wonder that other companies are seeing growth as well.

The Verve recently published a piece detailing that virtual influencers now have direct competition from AI-based start-ups, called, “Synthetic Media,” which are taking dollars in by accelerators like Betaworks. The Verve mentioned, “The company plans to make a series of $200,000 investments in 10 startups that want to build technology that can create better digital influencers.” The robots are coming for the Kardashians.

AI is already in play, matching influencers and brands with AI-based software. VentureBeat shares, “In a newly published preprint paper on Arxiv.org (“Machine Learning Techniques for Brand-Influencer Matchmaking on the Instagram Social Network“), University of British Columbia researchers describe an AI system that can predict the “most fruitful” partnerships between top social media users and companies.”

Even more noteworthy? Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a frontrunner in the marketing world who combines deep learning and AI with consumer wants, shared case studies where AI and influencer-integration dramatically improved campaigns like Philo:

Philo improved the click-through-rate of its influencer marketing campaigns by 172 percent and reduced the number of views it took for the national streaming service to acquire subscriptions by 1000%.

As subscribers and customers, we never purchase on value or trust, but on perception. While real-life influencers like the Kardashian tribe certainly drive big dollars, most have accepted that every face has its heyday and human influencers are expensive to keep around.

Take for instance, Shutterstock’s recent ad promotion, It’s Not Stock, highlighting the fact that they were able to fully recreate the Frye Festival’s infamous influencer advertising with the plethora of media available on their platform. As they put it: It’s not stock, it’s not human, and it sure is gaining attention—all for a fraction of the cost.

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