The Rise of AI Influencers: Transforming the Social Media Landscape

Influencers have dominated social media for years, setting trends and shaping their followers’ shopping habits, forging an industry worth more than $20 billion. However, the landscape is quickly evolving with the rise of a new player: the AI influencer.

What Are AI Influencers?

AI influencers, also known as virtual influencers, are computer-generated characters that promote products on social media. These digital personas, created through CGI, motion capture, and artificial intelligence, mimic the behaviour of human influencers, providing brands with a distinctive approach to engaging with consumers.

Popular AI influencers such as Lil Miquela, who has been featured in advertisements for Chanel and Givenchy, and Lu of Magalu, a product of Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza, are revolutionising the creation, consumption, and marketing of content. With millions of followers engaging with their content and purchasing the products they promote, AI influencers are becoming innovative tools for brands to connect with audiences in a saturated social media space.

The Appeal of AI Influencers

AI influencers interact with the world from a first-person perspective, posting selfies, attending events, and even engaging in public squabbles with each other. They range from cartoonish 3D characters, such as Noonoouri, to photorealistic images, such as Aitana Lopez. A team typically manages these digital personas to land brand deals, carefully designing them to appeal to specific audiences, particularly Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

“Virtual influencers are appealing to this next generation of individuals who are already living in a digital world,” says Ridhima Ahuja Kahn, VP of business development and partnership at Web3 company Dapper Labs. “For them, whether someone’s real or not seems to be less important. What’s more important is which personality really resonates with them the most.”

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Benefits of AI Influencers

AI influencers offer several advantages, blending cutting-edge technology with new storytelling methods and making influencer marketing more customisable, creative, and cost-effective.

Creative Freedom: AI influencers are highly customisable and not limited by time, space, or physics. Brands can make people look and act however they want, allowing for more creative marketing strategies.

Control Over Messaging: Brands have more control over what AI influencers say and do. AI influencers, unlike human influencers with their own perspectives and goals, strictly adhere to their programming, thereby minimising the risk of misalignment with a brand’s vision.

Cost-Effective: AI influencers tend to be less expensive than human influencers with similar following sizes. For instance, Lil Miquela, with 2.6 million Instagram followers, charges around $9,000 per post, significantly less than human influencers with similar reach.

Scalability: Brands can easily create multiple virtual influencers targeting specific demographics and markets. These influencers can create content and engage with followers around the clock.

Standing Out in a Saturated Market: AI influencers help brands stand out in a crowded social media space. Research indicates that consumers are just as likely to follow AI influencers as human influencers, making them effective tools for generating buzz and increasing ad recall.

Drawbacks of AI Influencers

Despite their advantages, AI influencers also have some drawbacks, particularly regarding authenticity and ethical considerations.

Lack of Human Experience: AI influencers may come off as disingenuous and shallow since they lack real-life experiences. This can make their endorsements seem less credible to some consumers.

Trust Issues: The authenticity of AI influencers can be a concern, especially if it is unclear whether an influencer is real.Labelling content as AI-generated and fully disclosing when an influencer is AI-generated is essential to maintaining trust and preventing disinformation.

Objectification: Many top AI influencers are modelled after young, thin female figures, often perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes and unrealistic beauty standards. This issue is especially significant for women of colour, as the use of their physical appearance to create virtual influencers can lead to further objectification and commodification.

How Do AI Influencers Work?

We create AI influencers using sophisticated CGI, photo-editing tools, and generative AI. They cultivate a persona that followers and brands can align with, posting content regularly and spreading it across various social media platforms.

Brands promote products either through the AI influencers’ social media pages or by featuring them in ads on their channels. Generative AI’s rapid advancements are simplifying the creation and maintenance of these digital personas, leading to the daily addition of more AI influencers to social media.


The rise of AI influencers is transforming the social media landscape, offering brands new ways to connect with consumers. While there are clear benefits, including creative freedom, control over messaging, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and market differentiation, there are also significant drawbacks related to authenticity and ethical considerations. As AI technology continues to evolve, the role of AI influencers in marketing will likely become even more prominent, necessitating careful navigation of their advantages and challenges.



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