AI, Automation, And Authenticity: Three Catalysts Disrupting Influencer Marketing

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Let's face it - marketing has changed a lot in the last 50 years.

From the days of traditional newspaper advertising and letterbox drops to the modern marvel that is influencer marketing, technology has transformed how we communicate and advertise products.

Consider this - you're trying to sell a product, such as a new toy. In the past, you might have had an advertisement in a newspaper or even a catalog.

These days, you can get your product market to microcosms of a far more fractured audience.

This ability to target precise audiences presents an incredible opportunity for marketers, whether they’ve just completed a new qualification such as an online MBA in Ohio, or if they’re a well-versed marketing professional with many years of experience under the best. 

Let’s explore how social media has changed the game for marketers.

While you may not run the next Instagram or TikTok, understanding how marketing works in the 21st century is a great way to get your marketing career started.

A crossroads of change: Opportunities of automation

Marketing has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

We've seen a shift away from traditional marketing, such as product placements in newspapers and catalogs.

We've seen an emergence of this new type of marketing culture - where influencers can peddle their wares to ordinary people like you and me, and be largely successful at doing so.

A crossroads of change: Opportunities of automation

Influencer marketing was worth more than $20 billion in 2023. 

It’s an extraordinary amount of money being spent, in much smaller and fragmented audience microcosms than what was previously possible.

The opportunity for highly targeted advertising has resulted in several changes that are transforming how marketers conceive advertising.

There’s this concept that three factors are core to this new norm - with automation, AI, and authenticity being fundamental to the success of the modern influencer if used correctly.

Automation, while largely a tenet of traditional marketing movements, is starting to shift into something new - more than just simple post-scheduling.

AI is in part, enabling that - by providing new and innovative ways for marketers to target users.

Authenticity binds it all together - reminding us that while technology is powerful, being human is a tenet to what makes influencer marketing successful - not just data.

AI: Supporting influencers

Tens of millions of posts are created every day by brands all over the globe, as well as hundreds of millions of comments and reactions across a litany of platforms - from Instagram to TikTok, data is all around us.

To analyze all of that data at a single account level is incredibly difficult and having the resources to analyze that volume of information is often difficult for influencers, who may work in small teams or even by themselves.

The advent of AI tools and the rapid growth of these systems is enabling some form of rudimentary analysis.

This can help influencers access some of the analytical potential that can be afforded by larger organizations, often at a fraction of the cost.

For example, an influencer who harnesses AI may be able to use a tool to understand how different user microcosms are engaging on different platforms.

If an advertiser wants to promote a product that is heavily targeted towards a particular user group, such as say, cruise ships, an AI tool could potentially be used in a few ways. 

These include identifying what influencers may be best suited for product placement, how those targeted audiences are responding, and what other similar fields may be worth targeting with advertising. While it won’t replace creativity, the insights it can provide can be useful for maximizing marketing outcomes.

AI: Supporting Influencers

An essential element - Authenticity

It's important to recognize that influencer marketing is ultimately more than simply advertising a product.

After all, anyone can sell a product, whether it’s a credit card or a holiday.

What's important to consider is how a product aligns with an influencer’s brand - and if the product an influencer is selling is an authentic representation of their views.

A classic example of influencer marketing gone wrong was the curious advertising relationship between rockstar Ozzy Osbourne and the butter substitute brand I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in the mid-2000s.

Looking to market their product to the UK market, Ozzy was typecast in an ad as a home cook, completing a rock-cake recipe in a mix-up of traditional cooking videos.

While the marketing attempt was in some circles considered rather bemusing, in reality, the campaign was derided as being inauthentic and not a true reflection of either the musician or the butter brand.

Ozzy is well known for his long and storied career as a rock musician - particularly for his history as a singer for the band Black Sabbath. 

An advertisement for a butter substitute seemed far gone from what he had achieved over the years and seemed like a cash grab. 

It goes to show that brands need to think carefully about what sort of influencers they align their products with - and likewise, influencers need to consider if a product aligns with their brand.

Automation, AI, and authenticity may be disruptors - but combined, they’re changing the way that we think about influencer marketing for the better.

As the market continues to grow and evolve, it’s exciting to consider how this level of highly targeted advertising will not only benefit marketers - but help foster a better ad experience for those who consume media content. It’s truly an exciting time to be a marketer.

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