Are AI Virtual Influencers the Future of Content on TikTok and Instagram?

Discover the potential impact of AI on social media marketing as TikTok and Instagram introduce features for AI-generated content and interaction. Learn about the implications for influencer roles, audience engagement, and the ethical considerations of automated interactions.

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Since late 2022 and into early 2023, as ChatGPT has gained popularity, businesses worldwide have begun to integrate artificial intelligence into their daily routines. Marketing is one of the industries most significantly impacted by this trend.

We’ve seen AI being used to answer simple questions, write content according to specific needs and prompts, provide ideas, and make analyses, which makes marketers’ lives easier and reduces costs — I am not getting into the quality realm for now.

It did not take that long to see images and even videos created by AI. Then, not only writers have been concerned about the use of these tools but also designers, animators, and video makers.

Of course, this is just the beginning and we may still see many other applications of artificial intelligence in marketing. That’s what I am going to talk about in this article.


    How far do you think Artificial Intelligence may get?

    The recent rumors point to the use of it on social media, which can be surprising for some people, but quite predictable, since the use of these platforms embraces billions of people, resulting in an extremely important channel for marketing campaigns. 

    According to Demand Stage “TikTok has 1.7 billion registered users as of 2024. That is a 390% increase since 2018. It is predicted that this number will reach 2.13 billion in 2025” while “reports show that Instagram has 2 billion monthly active users”, SproutSocial says.

    AI for Social Selling on TikTok 

    Considering the growth in TikTok users and the rise of new artificial intelligence features in the last months, we could expect that sooner or later the platform would include new tools in this direction. 

    It is already possible to see a new button to let people know that content was created using AI.

    But that is not the end.

    TikTok seems to be on the possibility that brands could soon count on artificial intelligence to create virtual influencers. 

    As reported by The Information

    “The feature, which is still under development, would generate a script for a video ad based on a prompt submitted by the advertiser, as well as an AI-generated influencer to perform in the video, according to an advertiser who has seen plans for the tool. TikTok Shop merchants could also use the AI influencer tool to promote their goods, said two other people told about the idea by TikTok staff.”

    This can be a clever movement when looking at the amount of money people spend on the platform. According to Social Media Today, TikTok users spent U$ 3.8 billion in 2023 while Douyin users spent U$270 billion, especially with shopping live-streams.

    Although spending by Western audiences is significantly lower than that of their Asian counterparts, it still presents substantial opportunities for businesses across all regions.

    If that feature really comes out, we will soon start to see even more AI-generated content not only in text but also in video. Here are some questions that I make to myself:

    Will real human influencers’ jobs be threatened? How good will this content be?

    I don’t think the influencers we see today will be replaced by prompt-made “people”. Besides being probably cheaper to run a campaign with a virtual influencer, we know that AI lacks something important when it comes to influencer marketing: humanization.

    An AI-created influencer will not have real experiences with a product and will not be able to share their real opinion about it. In addition, humans connect with humans, and working with real people will keep the personalization, emotions, and approaches for digital campaigns still on top.  

    So what is the benefit of it?

    Having a “person” to create content and talk about your business at a lower cost is something relevant, even without all that value that humanization can provide. If businesses are looking for more superficial approaches, it will definitely work.

    The other thing is that for live shopping, brands will not need to have a real person talking and exposing products and prices – without sharing real experiences, of course – so it will be possible to have lives streamed 24/7 to sell day and night.

    AI for interacting with followers on Instagram

    Meta does not want to be left behind. By the way, Instagram has more active followers than TikTok – at least for now. 

    Rumor has it that the platform may not work actively on content creation, like TikTok, but on engagement. 

    As reported by The New York Times:

    “The program, which is in its early stages of testing and known as “Creator A.I.,” would allow influencers to chat with fans through direct messages on the social network and potentially through Instagram comments in the future, according to five people briefed on the company’s plans.”

    The messages—and potentially comments—will be designed to replicate how users interact with their followers, and they will be labeled as AI-generated. This raises questions about how the platform will gather data to accurately replicate users’ tones and behaviors. Is it time to start worrying about this data collection? We’ll soon find out.

    The goal here is to make it easier for creators and brands with too many followers to respond to their audiences’ requests. As soon as a message pops in, AI sends a personalized message. Sounds interesting huh?

    Indeed, it will make things much easier to connect creators with their audiences. But I see the benefit for brands and a small issue for creators:

    For brands

    It will be much easier to respond to questions, and complaints and also sell, since they will not need a person to reply message by message.

    For creators

    If you follow someone who inspires you or whom you appreciate as an artist, would you be satisfied with getting a response from their Instagram that was clearly not written by them? 

    Fans want to be noticed by their idols, they are following a real person, and once again, humans connect with humans.

    According to The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg definitely does not want to be left behind and is investing hard to compete with Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI, positioning himself on AI as an “increasingly important driver of opportunity”. So we may expect to see more moves from Meta toward AI in the near future.

    Now what?

    Now we just sit and wait for the next moves. 

    If TikTok and Instagram are really working on these new features, we will have to wait until they are released to evaluate their potential opportunities or risks.

    We can’t deny that all of them sound interesting and promising. However, the deliberate use of AI in marketing routines without taking into account the importance of human connections may not be so good for brands.

    By the way, if you want to create content with AI tools but with the touch of a human writer, you should meet WriterAccess Humanizer

    It ensures your AI content not only engages human readers but also aligns with search engine guidelines, offering you peace of mind in an ever-changing digital landscape. Give it a try!


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