Consumers as likely to buy products advertised by AI-influencer models as those advertised by humans, research says
Consumers are as likely to buy products advertised online by AI-created models as by humans, new research says.
The study, presented at the British Academy of Management 2023 conference, found that AI influencer-models make possible a new type of more targeted marketing that cuts down the need to employ humans.
Researchers Dr. Abida Ellahi and Main Shakeel Ahamd, of the Abbottabad University of Science and Technology in Pakistan, compared online videos advertising Versace, Dior, Samsung and Gucci products on Instagram that featured the AI-created models, Noonoouri, LilMiquela and Imma.
They compared the comments from viewers left on the web page below the adverts with those left below similar adverts using human models.
They found that 78% of comments left on Instagram below the AI adverts were positive, 17% neutral and 5% negative. For the human adverts the figures were 75%, 19% and 6%.
Common words used in comments about the AI models, which resemble people but are still obviously not human, were "love," "beautiful" and "gorgeous."
Dr. Ellahi told the British Academy of Management conference at the University of Sussex, U.K., today (Friday 1 September), that "We have seen the birth of a new category of influencer in the field of marketing, the AI-created model.
"We discovered no clear distinctions in terms of following or liking the AI models-based advertisement. This shows that consumers might be as willing to follow an influencer who uses AI or a human being.
"This implies that AI influencers can function in a manner that is fundamentally comparable to that of human influencers."
Dr. Ellahi said that in future marketing departments could create the exact AI model to appeal most to the potential buyers of each product.
"The study suggests the implications of AI influencers' advertisements by highlighting that AI influencers can provide brands with more targeted and personalized marketing strategies. AI influencers can provide brands with more cost-effective marketing solutions."
She said the findings refuted the theory that people found AI models creepier the more human-like they became.
The researchers also interviewed some of those who had seen the adverts, who said that AI models were powerful ways to show off innovative products and create positive brand perception. A complete reliance of brands on AI models ads might raise questions about their authenticity, however, and a blend of human and AI models was best.