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The Future of Influencer Marketing: How AI is Changing the Game

Posted on January 12, 2024

This is an opinion piece by Yuhwen Foong

Since we have all started using ChatGPT, I can’t help but wonder what are some of the biggest impact it would bring to social media and naturally, our business in influencer marketing. One of it being, if everyone can create content at scale, then content becomes less precious and with time, we will just forgo consuming information entirely. I’ve lived long enough to have come from an era pre-Canva and pre-Canva days meant whenever we receive a “Greeting Card” on WhatsApp, we would appreciate it because we know a designer painstakingly used some kind of a software to draw it from scratch. Today, everyone can open Canva, slap a logo on an image, and et voila! You have a greeting card! The novelty is dead, I skip through all these greeting cards every Chinese New Year, Raya or Christmas, because to me, it has already lost its meaning. 

I believe the same would happen with the rise of AI. A lot of jobs will be lost, but new jobs will arise. Don’t worry yah! 😄 A lot of what we feel is normal in social media will be replaced and as business owners/marketers, it is important for us to anticipate this change and pivot as soon as possible. 

Some of the good impacts of AI. With the help of AI, companies and individuals are now able to create and distribute content at an unprecedented scale. In fact, this article was written with the help of AI. What use to take me 3 hours to write, not takes 1 hour. So writers of course become cheaper to hire because less time is needed. Writers also become perfect since all articles are written with flawless grammar, making us all sound robotic. And, with 3X more content, can we read that much faster as users? 

Another benefits of AI in social media is the ability to identify and connect with influencers who are most likely to be effective in a given campaign. By analyzing data on user behavior and engagement, AI algorithms can help identify influencers who are most likely to resonate with a specific audience. This can lead to more successful campaigns and better return on investment for brands. Or will it? I give you an example, like income taxes. Have you ever heard that the T20 don’t pay taxes? That is true because in every written rule, there is some loophole to bypass the rule. Who has more money, will hire the better tax accountant to help them evade their taxes. So what happens? The geeks will win this race. Whoever has the means to understand the algorithm and game it wins. Is this content what users want to see or is this what “the algorithm thinks” the users want to see? 

Hypothetically speaking, if curation gets better and perhaps it will somehow get better, the gazillion more content to skip in order for us to get to the content a user wants, may tire users out. It will be a battle of mass contribution and curation. On the consumer/user side, we definitely want curation, help me sieve through all that irrelevant stuff please but on the content creator side, I want opportunity for my content to trend, opportunity for me to grow my follower base and get as much ROI for the brands that sponsors me. Instead of 1 in a 1000 content, now I’m competing 1 in a 100,000. My opportunity to trend drops significantly. As platforms, what will you do? Will Meta, TikTok, Google and all other social media platforms prioritize curation over retention of creators? I believe all the social media platforms will focus on curation above all else, because if they lose their users, they lose revenue. 

So, if the platforms are not going to help us, it is then up to us, influencers to fend for ourselves. What will happen? Definitely there will be heaps more Micro-influencers. Now that anyone can create content, anyone with a basic understanding of algorithms will probably make it to be a Micro-influencer and they will probably stagnate there because it’s not so easy to become an Alpha unless they change their strategy. In this case, the pyramid will become much broader at the bottom.

Now that the bottom of the pyramid gets heavy and loaded, competition becomes steep to rise to the top, in fact, there will be less “on the top” influencers than we are used to. For example, there will be so much less A-list celebrities but a lot a lot of B-list celebrities. This is already true today. Back in the days, everybody watched Friends and Friends was talk of town and then we all watched The Big Bang Theory, and that was super awesome as well. We know the characters by name, we love the characters and we follow them on social media. Today there are 10X more content thanks to Netflix, I don’t even remember celebrity names anymore. 

So, in order to become a Kim Kardashian, it will be that much harder. It will not be as easy as creating a reality TV show, even a sex scandal may not help with this much information overload. It will take a lot more to become a Macro/Alpha influencer. I would urge all Macro influencers and even the current Micro influencers to take advantage of where they are today (with a nice comfortable base of followers) to solidify their position and do a major revamp now, and fast. Do not get too comfortable where you are, but really put in that much more effort to grow. Before long, you will be fighting with so many more micro-influencers. 

As brands, what will be the impact? I shouldn’t say in case the influencers get mad at SushiVid. Please DM me for more information 😄. It will be really interesting to see how influencer marketing pans out in the next decade and I hope my company will be around to support and be a game-changer in this space.

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