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Artificial Intelligence Influencers are taking over!

In October 2017, Facebook altered the Instagram API to make it harder for users to search its giant database of photos. The change was a small element of the company’s response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but it was a significant problem for parts of the digital marketing industry.



Not long before, New York-based influencer marketing agency Amra & Elma had developed a platform that ingested data from Instagram, and allowed its client to use AI image classifiers to find very specific influencers. For instance, they could find an influencer with, say, between 10,000 and 50,000 followers who had posted photos of themselves in a Jeep. Facebook’s move killed this capability in a keystroke. Another day in the digital duel between the AIs deployed by digital marketers, and those deployed by the social media platforms.


Once upon a time, successful advertising was a question of artistic creativity and financial muscle. Hire a hot agency to produce a 30-second ad, spend a lot of money with TV and newspaper owners, and you were bound to make a splash. The Mad Men of Madison Avenue were about sizzle and silver, not science.


Elma Beganovich, co-founder of Amra & Elma, says “AI is a game changer in digital marketing, especially influencer marketing. Brands are now able to pinpoint their target demographic precisely, and speak to them directly. Technologies like voice recognition allow us to identify what topics influencers are talking about on YouTube and Instagram TV."


Influencer marketing is a significant and fast-growing section of the digital marketing industry. The big agency networks (WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, and Interpublic) have their players, and there are hundreds of independent outfits. The industry is currently valued at $8bn, and before COVID-19 came along, was forecast to double in the next two years. Jessy Grossman, founder of Women In Influencer Marketing (WIIM), thinks that the virus might accelerate growth: “Brands have been hit hard. We are going to see them pinch every penny and demand the most ROI. Digital marketing is far more efficient, data driven and quick. It’s also the most economical way to get production quality content and large-scale distribution at a fraction of the price.”


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