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Influencers have not been as quick to jump on the AI wagon: They are optimistic but cautious, and only about half have embraced it

by | Dec 14, 2023 | Public Relations

While virtually every field of business is chasing the AI promise of streamlined uber-productivity, which certainly includes marketing and communications, influencers are among the scant relative holdouts. Although the tech has already impacted essential aspects of influencer marketing, including content brainstorming and creation, influencer discovery and vetting, and campaign performance measurement and analytics, and while adoption within the space is definitely growing, there is still much uncertainty about AI—and some see it as a threat to the relatively new but swiftly growing creator economy.  

A new report, AI in Influencer Marketing 2023, from micro-influencer marketing platform SocialPubli, explores this influencer perspective. It’s the latest in a series of annual industry reports covering the evolution of the content creation economy through the perspectives of its key players, engaging both influencers and marketers to better understand how AI is impacting and reshaping the industry.  

Influencers have not been as quick to jump on the AI wagon: They are optimistic but cautious, and only about half have embraced it

“Nine in ten influencers report already being familiar with artificial intelligence while half are already using AI to support their work. On the agency side, nearly eight in ten marketers are leveraging AI for work, demonstrating its growing potential to support and enhance partnerships between brands and the influencers they work with,” said Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO of SocialPubli, in a news release. “At SocialPubli, what we’ve seen is that AI is not only expediting processes, but also enhancing campaign effectiveness and opening up new possibilities for creativity and engagement.” 

Influencers and AI

While influencer perceptions on AI vary, the majority of influencers lean toward cautious optimism regarding the impact AI has had on society and on their field of work.  

  • Is AI a threat or an opportunity?: 71.4 percent of influencers view AI as an opportunity for growth and success. 
  • Current use of AI: 51.7 percent of influencers report already using AI to support their work. Top AI uses include brainstorming ideas (45 percent) and generating images, video or copy (34 percent).  
  • Virtual influencers: About 30 percent of influencers polled reported following or engaging with virtual influencers.  
  • Trust and reliability: In the case of influencers, a majority of them trust the information provided by AI, with nearly 64 percent relying on the data it offers.  
  • Future outlook: 36.9 percent of influencers report excitement as their main feeling toward the increased use of AI, while 41 percent report feeling equally excited and concerned.  
  • Transparency: About two-thirds of respondents said they would disclose the use of AI to their followers, while one-third said they don’t consider such disclosures necessary.  

Influencers have not been as quick to jump on the AI wagon: They are optimistic but cautious, and only about half have embraced it

Marketers and AI

Marketers typically see AI as an opportunity, using it for various tasks, and emphasizing trust in AI data while advocating for transparency in disclosure. 

  • Is AI a threat or an opportunity?: 81.7 percent of marketers indicate that they see AI as an opportunity.  
  • Current use of AI: The most common uses include social media copy (47.2 percent); generating images or video (38.9 percent); editing (36.1 percent); research (34.7 percent). 
  • Virtual influencers: 62 percent of marketers are open to teaming up with virtual influencers, but only 27.5 percent have worked with virtual influencers. Of those that have, 21.7 percent have had positive results. 
  • Trust and reliability: 76.1 percent of marketers surveyed trust AI data, indicating their willingness to incorporate AI into their processes. 
  • Future outlook: Almost 55 percent of marketers feel more enthusiasm than concern about the rise of artificial intelligence. Only 15.5 percent are concerned or have a negative perception.  
  • Transparency: 84.7 percent of marketers want influencers to disclose whether they are using AI in sponsored campaigns.  

Influencers have not been as quick to jump on the AI wagon: They are optimistic but cautious, and only about half have embraced it

According to El-Qudsi, influencer marketing can flourish with AI, but only when both sides are transparent and communicative about their efforts. “Authenticity has always been a hallmark of influencer marketing,” El-Qudsi said. “AI is a technology in development and there are many gray areas to be identified and addressed as it becomes more widely adopted. As the potential for incorporating AI into marketing efforts grows, it will be critical for brands and influencers to agree together on the aspects that matter to them, including transparency in their communication and in their use of AI tools to support their content efforts.”   

Download the full report here.

Research was conducted by SocialPubli using an online survey during September 2023. In total, 1,235 influencers from Europe and the Americas responded, as well as marketers from 73 agencies in Europe, the Americas and other regions. 

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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