Rozy’s latest Instagram post shows her posing with a golf club and wearing a broad smile; this picture alone garnered close to 10,000′ likes’. With over 87,000 followers, Rozy is one of the leading social influencers on the photo and video sharing app. There are many influencers like her; what makes her different, one might ask. What separates her from the rest of the influencers is that Rozy is not a real person but created using AI.
New Influencer on the Block
The AI influencer was created by Korean media company Sidus Studio X. Rozy debuted in August as a 22-year-old AI influencer. Her age would remain the same age throughout; in fact, this year, she celebrated her ‘2nd 22nd’ birthday. Interestingly, Rozy has been offered a lot of advertisement opportunities. Her parent company claims that the number of sponsored content deals have swelled to 100. Sidus anticipates a million dollars in marketing sales this year. Rozy has been modelling for Chevrolet and has also posted content for a few makeup and fashion brands.
Rozy is not the only virtual influencer out there. Some of the other popular AI influencers include:
Lil Miquela: Her full name is Miquela Sousa, and she is arguably the most successful AI influencer with 1.5 million followers on Instagram. She is 100 per cent programmed. In 2018, she took over Prada’s Instagram account and did campaigns for UGGs and featured in Vogue and V’s issues. Over time, Miquela has used her reach to advocate for various social issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement. A secretive LA startup has managed Lil Miquela’s account since 2016.
Lil Wavi: Lil Wavi has 11,000 followers on Instagram, and unlike other AI influencers, he has his presence on YouTube. This influencer in his 20s distinguishes himself due to his facial tattoos. He can be seen sporting high-end brands such as Gucci and Prada.
Ronnie Blawko: Ronni Blawko goes by the title Blawko22 and is a good friend of Lil Miquela. He is often featured as Miquela’s sidekick. He refers to himself as a Sex Symbol and wears a mask.
Growing Market for AI Influencers
The concept of AI influencers has been around since 2016 but gained much traction in 2018. As the term suggests, these are not physical influencers but computer-generated and controlled virtual personalities. The concept of AI influencers has been a hit, especially for marketing. Some of the most prominent brands, most often fashion and lifestyle, worldwide are using these influencers for their campaigns.
Interestingly, over time, brands are becoming more accepting of AI influencers, even over human influencers in a few instances. According to a report, Baek Seung Yeop, the CEO of Sidus, said that human influencers might sometimes withdraw from a certain campaign over bullying controversies, but AI influencers have no such aversions.
Flexibility is another feature that draws brands to collaborate with these AI influencers. For example, if there is a mistake in a shoot with virtual influencers, the errors can be erased and amended in a matter of a few minutes, unlike in the case of real-life influencers with whom the whole shoot has to be redone.
A study by Hypeauditor, an AI-powered influencer platform, found that virtual personalities have up to three times more engagement rate than real influencers. On the flip side, content production costs more in the case of CGI influencers.
Interestingly, this year, India became one of the first countries to lay down guidelines for advertising through virtual influencers. The Advertising Standards Council has mandated that the agency disclose that the advertisement’s personality is CGI/AI-generated. The Council defined these virtual influencers as “fictional computer-generated ‘people’ or avatars who have the realistic characteristics, features, and personalities of humans and behave similarly as influencers.
Despite all the excitement around these virtual influencers, there are a few drawbacks too, which might stop them from completely taking over the industry. The main challenge is that there is still a lack of ‘human’ touch, which may hamper connecting with the audience on a more personal level.
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I am a journalist with a postgraduate degree in computer network engineering. When not reading or writing, one can find me doodling away to my heart’s content.