If you haven’t been smacked in the face with a conversation about AI or artificial intelligence in the last month, and you’re in the marketing space, you’re not getting out much. The algorithms and machine learning robots have gotten awfully good and at an awfully lot of things, including written content, graphic and image generation and all sorts of other tasks. 

But what does AI have to do with influencer marketing? And how will it impact what we do as brands, agencies, and creators? How will it impact the software vendors we work with?

I wanted to explore that topic a bit with Daria Belova and Anne Puzakova. They are both with HypeFactory, a very successful global influencer marketing agency. They’ve been winning awards and making some noise working with a lot of clients in the gaming world, among other verticals. 

We dug into AI and how it will impact influencers and influencer marketing, but then also took a tour through the Metaverse and influencers there, virtual influencers and how or whether they can even be trustworthy and a lot more. 

This episode of Winfluence is presented by CIPIO.ai, the community commerce marketing platform. Download its free eBook The Marketer’s Guide to Community Commerce Marketing today and learn how to turn your customers, fans and followers into top-performing influencers to grow your brand. The guide is a blueprint to identifying the influential voices in your own brand community, engaging them to advocate on your behalf, and managing an end-to-end strategy to do so. Download the guide for free here, or just click on the banner below.

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The Winfluence theme music is “One More Look” featuring Jacquire King and Stephan Sharp by The K Club found on Facebook Sound Collection.

Hype Factory Transcript

Intro: Do you want Instagrammers or TikTok ERs to post about your brand? Or do you actually wanna engage creators who influence their audience to buy your product? If you’re in the ladder of those two, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Win Influence, the Influence Marketing Podcast. 

Jason: Hello again, friends. Thanks for tuning into Winfluence, the Influence Marketing Podcast.

If you haven’t been smacked in the face with a conversation about AI or artificial intelligence in the last month, and you’re in the marketing space, well, you’re not getting out much. The algorithms and machine learning robots have gotten awfully good at an awfully lot of good things, including written content, graphic and image generation, and all sorts of other tasks.

But what does AI have to do with influencer marketing and how will it impact what we do as brands, agencies, creators, software companies, and the like, how will it impact the software vendors we work with?. I wanted to explore that topic a bit with Daria Belova and Anne Pusakova. They’re both with Hype Factory, a very successful global influencer marketing agency.

They’ve been winning awards and making some noise, working with a lot of clients in the gaming world among other verticals. We dug into AI and how it will impact influencers and influencer marketing, but then also took a tour through the metaverse and influencers there, virtual influencers and how or whether they can even be trustworthy.

And a lot more. Today we’re focusing on the emerging trends in future influencers and influence marketing with Daria and Anne from Hype Factory that’s coming up. This episode of Influence is presented by cipio.ai, the community commerce marketing platform. You brands out there probably have a content problem.

You need more and better performing content for paid social campaigns, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, the ad creative that performs best there is user generated content. cipio.ai does two things really well. We source authentic UGC from your community of customers, fans, and followers, and fill those content coffers, solving that problem.

The other thing we do well is identify the influential people in your community and have them also post on their channels, sharing valuable word of mouth recommendations with their friends, family, and followers. I want to show you personally, me Cipio in action. Book a demo with me, not a salesperson. Jason Falls.

I’m gonna do the demo with you. Just go to jasonfalls.co/cipio. That’s jasonfalls.co/cipio, jasonfalls.co/cipio. Go there now. Fill out that form and I will personally show you how cipio.ai can help you solve the content problem, increase performance of your paid campaigns, and give you one less headache around your marketing.

jasonfalls.co/cipio. I’m looking forward to that call the bleeding edge of tech in the world of influencers. Daria Belova and Anne Pusakova from Hype Factory are next on Winfluence. Daria and Anne, thanks for spending some time with us. Let’s make sure people have a bit of context as to who you are and what Hype Factory is. Daria, give us the elevator pitch as it were to what you guys do.

Daria: Okay. We are a global influencer marketing agency. We work all around the world with the best influencers and apparently best clients. We are actually specializing in performance marketing. We do it best, and we especially have a lot of experience in gaming in the stream. 

Jason: Well, certainly I’ve seen your work popping up of late, especially with case studies and whatnot here and there in the gaming industry of course, but I know you, you also have a lot of experience in other industries and other verticals. I look at it and know that the content in the gaming industry specifically. The content there is consumed in much longer form and very in-depth compared to, say, Instagram or TikTok. And that means to me the audience in the gaming industry is different. The influencers are different. I’m wondering maybe Anne, if you wanna jump in first how do gaming influences and or audiences differ in the types of content and sponsor integrations?

What stands out for you there? What’s the key to succeeding in gaming versus maybe other vertical?

Anna: So there are two sides of this story actually. The clients are very different in its core. The gaming clients are, extremely different from the brand once I can elaborate on that as well.

And the influencers are definitely one of a kind. When you see, when you go for the Gavin channels, you can notice that most of them they don’t pop up on the camera. They hide their faces sometimes. They never show their personality. They are introverts, which makes them hard to ask to participate in some online or offline events to show their face

and yeah, they can never show the product with them on camera if they hide themselves because they’re Yeah, introverted. They also deal with the audience that is predominantly male because the main viewers of the gaming content are men. Women are quite rare there. And, that doesn’t prevent them in any way to earn, say money as big fashion or big, lifestyle influencers.

They are very successful in their own field. So yeah, they have this popularity And they’re also the main authors on such platforms as Twitch. They do online broadcasting a lot. They can stream for hours. And this content is, content is highly engaging in its core. Like when we work with Twitch, we notice that conversions are just amazing there.

They’re much better than on platforms with prerecorded content, yeah, so that’s as for the influencers and I can tell about the brands that they are also very different. The gaming companies, they are less strict about their reputational risks, about the content that the influencer produces, though obviously they watch out for some particular cases, but, they are more demanding of the per performance than of the image that the influencer portrays. 

Jason: That’s an interesting, thing that I never really thought about. The gaming folks obviously have a little bit more, I guess liberal thought on how their brand appears, because a lot of these games are, shoot ’em up games anyway. Not all of them are obviously, but, yeah I’ve never really thought about that.

It, the gaming world is just a fascinating world to me. I still don’t quite understand why hundreds or thousands of people would log onto a streaming site like Twitch and watch somebody else play a video game for hours. But I guess I’m, I guess I’m aged outta that generation. So Daria, let me, I wanna get into what I really wanted to chat about today, which is Ai, Artificial Intelligence.

It’s the first or second phrase out of everyone’s mouth in Silicon Valley these days, but also in marketing circuits now, I even left the agency world for a startup. At CPO.AI because it’s, it’s powered by AI in a lot of ways and I’m fascinated there, but I’d really love your take on how AI is currently impacting, influencer marketing and maybe how it might evolved, impacted more in the next year or so.

What are your thoughts there?

Daria: There are actually different technologies behind AI at the moment. The one which we use in our agency is the AI instruments, which help us to find the right influencers depending on the target audience of, our clients. Because as I mentioned performance targets are very important for us. We really want the content which is produced by influencer.

Perform at the level of the KPIs. It means that we need to make this choice, right? Because, there are always like two parts of this high performing content: creative part and here the creativity of the influencer of the creator means a lot. And of course he’s her knowledge of the audience, but also we as the agency should know what is the real audience of this influencer and AI helps us to analyze, big amounts of data. That’s our geographical position. What are the preferences of the audience, which celebrities, influencers perform better in different business verticals. So we use this a lot. On the other hand we can also mention these generative Ai, which is widely used by the creators, in non industries, not only in influencer marketing but, there are a lot of contradictions in the discussions of this topic at the moment. Probably you’ve read like some people say that okay, it steals my ideas and then generally rates and new art or content based on actually my ideas, that’s one part of the story. Another part of the story is that creators can actually delegate to this instrument. Like executional part, like some pictures if they are not the main part of their content or I don’t know, language translations, correct mistakes, such kind of things.

But we actually discussed with the creators this topic recently, and we see 30% of them maybe delegate part of the content the minor one but in order, to have more time and effort to invest into the creative ideas idea generation. That’s what still, I would say human beings do. And we see that maybe in the future more and more of this, day-to-day routine things, which really part of everyone’s works and influencers work as well, will be delegated to generative Ai. But that means also that audience may expect more and more exclusive and really authentic content. At least that’s how we see it now. But time will show how this trend will evolve.

Jason: Yeah, that’s true. I’ve been, I’ve been fascinated in testing out some of the AI tools that I’ve been able to use, and the one area that I see creators especially being able to use it really well is if, there’s a lot of AI tools out there, especially for podcasters and people who produce videos, and longer form content where there’s AI tools out there that can easily determine within a, let’s say a 10 minute video.

Well, these are the three sections that are worth, editing out for social promos. So it’s not so much that Ai just so the audience understands, it’s not so much that creators are using it to manufacture content, that is not necessarily genuine from the creator, it’s that they’re using it to just make the editing and production process a lot faster and easier so that they can get more content out to more people quickly. Which, which changes the game a little bit. 

What are, I wonder what the dangers of using AI might be? I can certainly start to, empathize with writers and journalists and other creators who feel threatened by AI content at this point. Computer and data-driven content is is interesting and it’s, and certainly there are people out there that are just gonna copy and paste, so there’s a danger there.

But I also worry from our perspective on the brand and agency and services side of thing, Are we worried at all that AI is going to get intelligent enough to write strategies for us so that we don’t, we’re not, we’re no longer we’re obsolete and we’re not needed anymore. What do you guys think about?

Daria: I can start maybe, and Anne 

Anna: Yeah i will join, 

Daria: will add, because my background, I worked most of my marketing career for big brands in Fmcg. And I think that maybe part of the work could be delegated to Ai. But we have such a volatile economic situation that like every day something changes and the marketer is the person who should react really quickly. And Ai works based on some like previous data which we add to this technology. And we every day see the things which have never happened before. And I think that only human being can really find creative outstanding out of the box, solution in order to grow the business and the brand.

At least that’s my opinion, as a brand person, as a brand marketing person. But of course it would be great, to use AI to analyze like huge data we get from market research and make some conclusions based on it, and then we can invest more time and creative work and like long-term strategy.

Jason: Anne, you got some thoughts there?

Anna: Yeah, on the part of influencers, I believe that the biggest thread that we can face is being misleaded by fake content that was produced by Ai, for example, there could be cases where a person takes another person’s personality and using this generative AI produces the content. There are even tools to reproduce the voices. I’ve seen a creator who can sing with the voice of Kanye West though he’s not Kanye, he just applies this. Two to his singing and then he sounds perfectly like he’s the rapper, but yeah and probably, you have seen the picture of the Pope on the internet, like him wearing a big fabulous white, winter jacket though he never obviously wears this clothing.

This is the biggest thread that I see now that like a personality might be stolen and some fake information can be displayed on the internet and that can threaten someone’s reputation.

And another potential thread that I see is the content becoming less genuine and more like similar.

If some influencers don’t do much in a work with their content but rely just on Ai and obviously that’s what we hope will not happen because this content does not work because the audience will definitely spot that this is not produced by a human and will be engaged less in that type of content.

And this is a potential threat for the brands also who would work with the influencers that would do this, because they would never get the same results from their marketing campaign as they would get with the people who, consider human work in producing their content.

Jason: I I I can see a new data point coming into the influencer marketing software platforms now of what percentage of this influencer’s content is generated by Ai, versus what’s original. So that should be fun to try to figure out. And like you said, I I, I, I have faith in human beings. The audiences and consumers out there are gonna be able to spot the ones that are creating really good content versus the ones who are maybe being a little lazy and depending upon the algorithms. We’re talking the bleeding edge of AI and influencer marketing with Daria Belova and Anne Puzakova from Hype Factory.

When we come back, we’ll keep getting closer to the edge and talk about the metaverse. Stay tuned.

 Welcome back to Winfluence, sitting in today with Daria Belova and Anne Puzakova from Hype Factory. Before we the break, we were talking about the applications of artificial intelligence and influencer marketing, but let’s shift now and think through more of Web 3.0 and its impact on what we do.

Daria, I’d love your broad take on this. I still think the Metaverse is a place for gamers and bleeding edge tech people. Which if so, it’s certainly a legit and viable place for brands to talk to those audiences, and play there. But beyond that, I don’t really see yet the metaverse having a whole lot of relevance for other verticals and other consumers.

I think the barrier to entry is high. The adoption gap is wide because not everyone can afford a $300 VR headset. And if they do, there’s very little you can do in the metaverse that you can’t do just as easy on a phone or in real life from a communication standpoint. I’m curious if you think I’m wrong or do you see the metaverse continuing to grow in adoption and popularity, or are there really legit obstacles to, to it becoming as commonplace, as a method of communicating with other people as say, Facebook is today?

Daria: My humble opinion, it’s a very growing trend for future generations because, I dunno from business point of view, I can find a lot of applications from me personally, like a human being. Maybe again, that’s my age. I’m not sure that I’m ready, to spend a lot of time there. But, another example is my daughter who is from alpha generation and she like lives there.

And for her she says, okay mom now I’m busy. I’m going to meet my best friend and that’s the quote. And I’m asking, best friend okay someone from school maybe. She says no, that’s the girl whom I met in Roblox and she’s my best friend, or we live in one house. She told me We have a pet a nd we also plan to go to the cafe tonight.

That’s the story. So, that’s her life and when, I try to explain to her, okay I’m sorry I’m not sure that she’s your best friend because that’s Avatar. That’s Avatar and she told me no. Today I have this skin. Tomorrow I have a different skin, and I can be a different person here. That’s like part of her life already, like online and offline.

So my idea is that maybe for us we can look at it from business point of view and find, some business implications here now, but in future, I’m sure for future generations it’ll be like part like for us Facebook or Instagram now, that’s going to be a huge thing. And I know that many brands like relaunched actually their brand identity through Metaverse and we know like superstars who give concerts there, like these skins in Roblox.

I can tell you as a parent, They cost real money from my banking card, not virtual money. My daughter asked new skin for her birthday, whatever it means .So yes, I think that more and more brands will be using it, in future and communication plus, in terms of influencers, they also have asan actually mention, streams.

They show how they play these games. And then I think that the main difference here is that when the player comes to this metaverse, he or she can meet this influencer there also as a virtual influencer. And it’s just like the mix of real life person whom we see on Twitch, for example, or on YouTube.

And the avatar we meet in virtual world, and that’s I think a very interesting.

Jason: Yeah, it is. So let’s get into that a little bit, Anne. Let’s talk about the metaverse and influencers. I’ve got a few different angles on this. I can go to or I cannot actually go to, let’s say decentral land or Roblox or spatial or even horizon and easily at least I don’t think I can easily go there.

I have limited experience in the metaverse, but I don’t think I can easily go there and identify people there who have a lot of followers. In fact, the social construct of most of these sites is very one-to-one experiences between people. It’s very organic. It’s not, or at least it doesn’t seem to me, to be a place where influencer identification is really even feasible.

Am I wrong or are we gonna continue to need, traditional influence channels like Instagram and TikTok and YouTube and Twitch to identify people who are influential in the Metaverse and how the hell are we gonna know if they are or not? 

Anna: So basically they’re at the same person that use traditional social networks and then they go live on metaverse platforms and they, it’s easier for them to enter those platforms because they bring their audience from the existing channel with them.

It’s an easy start for them basically with the metaverse, if they have a developed networks outside of it. I’m not sure if your question, is regards to, like being real and Id identification. Yeah, is it?

Jason: Yeah. It’s really more of, if I if I go to, let’s say I go to Decentral Land, which is a popular metaverse destination. I can go into that experience and let’s say I just go into that experience because I want to, I’m not following anyone into there. I’m just going in myself and experiencing it.

I can, move around in Decentral land and I can interact with people, but there’s no way for me to know , Who should I be interacting with? Who should I be following? What events should I be going to? I don’t see the same type of connection with social networks, where, the influencer marketing software tools have come along and said, Hey, if you’re interacting on Twitch, here are the top 50 people you should be looking at.

Here’s their content. I agree with what you’re saying, if those Twitch users or Instagrammers or Talkers, bring their audience with them that makes perfect sense to me. I’m just curious, how are we gonna identify people who are influential in the Metaverse as opposed to influential people outside the Metaverse that just 

bring people with them?

Anna: Yeah, I believe they have some kind of social ratings inside the metaverse that, identify them as influencers because, there is a whole network of connections inside the metaverses, the users they chat they meet each other.

They do some missions there, and they gain some social capital from that inside the metaverse which, helps them earn money or yeah, become influential. So this is not really hard to spot now. But, all in all my belief is that, metaverse is not only about this gaming experience, it actually impacts our life in general.

As Daria mentioned, a lot of events can be held in metaverse that are more difficult to create offline, like concerts of famous artists or special workouts and Brad brands work with brands work with influencers on the staff to make it happen in the metaverse that works for their marketing goals.

And another point that we, that is that has come out of the metaverses and now we’ll face that is the methods of payments, right? The monetization crypto, NFTs and so on. So there are a lot of influencers, that are not only using these methods but they create content about it. And, this is becoming a new reality for us on even those who don’t even play games online and who don’t wa do not watch streams.

So this experience is way broader than just gaming. This, I believe, now touches all spirits of our life and, if we are into influencers at all, even if you follow just one famous person on Instagram, then we, we are already interacting with the metaverse this way or another.

Jason: So there are virtual worlds, and then there are virtual influencers. In fact, in, in that I’m talking about 100% fictional people, represented on social media accounts, avatars basically. So some, some person or persons are probably companies are building these avatars that are computer generated.

They’re fake even though, even though the pictures and video make it appear like they’re real people, cuz the technology is just there to make that happen. So this construct in itself implies that there’s maybe an ulterior motive behind these accounts. A company is gonna make that influencer or say whatever they want to get the audience to buy things, to become more aware of their products.

So Daria, can we trust these fake creations at all? Or do consumers not con discern anymore if the content is entertaining enough?

Daria: I think that, as I said that there are like two types of virtual influencers. Those who are created purely virtual, from scratch. And there are no real person behind it, that’s one type. Another is then someone have offline and online virtual and like real life identity. And I think that maybe for, some audience maybe it’s easier to trust like those who have offline and online combination of these identities. 

But on the other hand we see that more and more brands mainly fashion or makeup, they use these virtual, virtual influencers like created out of the trends. I don’t know some cultural events they are made of all these details and things which are going on in the world or in the category I dunno, makeup, for example, category. And this is like a social construct to my mind because the marketers they know for example, their audience, let’s imagine it’s Gen Z audience. They know what this generation is expecting from the influencer and they can construct this influencer, virtually. And moreover, this influencer may adapt into the needs.

And on the on one hand I think that there can be a lot of discussion around, is it authentic enough or not? And I don’t have the run and the answer actually, because it looks like absolutely new world. But on the other hand, why not? Because, I don’t know I read somewhere and there was a film even now with, Scarlet Johansen, I think when the guy fell in love just with the voice, why not falling in love with his virtual influencer if he or she’s in line with your needs? And yes, by this brands may also show their product. 

And I think that, maybe the question of trust and what we call human authenticity may become the main challenge in this situation, and I think we don’t know the answer yet.

Anna: I have a perspective on it.

Jason: Anne Anna your thoughts? 

Anna: Yeah, I have some perspective on it too. So I’ve scrolled through this, virtual most popular virtual influencers and the thing that Daria just talked about, their authenticity and the level of trust of the audience. In my perspective, it’s not that high actually, because even some of them the biggest of them like Lil Micala, she has 3.6 million followers on Instagram, and she’s the biggest out of them.

If we compare this account to the account of let’s say Selena Gomez or Kylie Jenner, which are top two on Instagram, they have, 300, 50,000, no, no, 350 million followers.

Yeah. We cannot compare them because still these virtual influencers, their life is limited by their online presence. And what is offline is never portrayed.

So it’s very hard to identify yourself with this, persona while it’s much easier to identify yourself with the people that you can see somewhere that can talk to you online, that have some problems and you sympathize with their life changes challenges, so I believe this is quite a safe tool for the marketers because this virtual persona can never do something that they don’t expect.

Jason: Yep. 

Anna: Because it follows their scenario all the time. So they’re not risky at all in the sense, well, 11 creature is obviously, much more dangerous. They can, I dunno, worse and anger, anything can happen with them. So yeah, I believe this, the number of their followers and the engagement rates show us that, still the audience sees them more as an image of a brand less than a persona.

Jason: I almost liken virtual influencers to the next generation of television shows. It’s if, if if the entity behind the virtual influencer is writing a good narrative and engaging the audience with a storyline along the way, it can be entertainment and it can absolutely they can amass a lot of followers.

And we live in a world where there’s something for everyone, right? Marketers, advertisers and and brand managers out there, have this love hate relationship with the coupon clipping crowd, right? The people who are always looking for a bargain or a deal, cuz you don’t wanna necessarily commoditize your brand, but at the same time, that audience will actually go out and buy things right now.

And I almost see. The virtual influencer as being a version of that, of there’s going to be a portion of the audience out there that will pay attention to a virtual influencer and when they recommend a product, they’ll go buy it and try it. And so as long as it continues to work for some brands from a marketing perspective, and as long as the audience continues to enjoy the content, then the virtual influencer is gonna exist whether we like it or not. But I agree with you that there’s a level of authenticity, there’s a level of, truthfulness and a genuine connection there that’s gonna be very hard to break through. Awesome, interesting things to talk about and interesting times we live in Daria and Anne tell people again where they can find you and Hype Factory on the Innerwebs.

Daria: Just High Factory.com and we are also on LinkedIn and just follow us and learn more new support influencer marketing. We share a lot of interesting cases.

Jason: They definitely do. So we’ll make sure those show links or those links are in the show notes, so you can find [email protected] Just click on articles or just go to the short URL for this episode, which is Jason falls.co/hype factory. Daria, Anne thanks again for 

sharing Your wisdom today. Fun chat. 

Jason: Think about it folks. A company can create a fake avatar, social media account, create content on that account that attracts an audience. Even create a version of, let’s say, a Kardashian that seems believable and have hundreds of thousands of people watching every post story real and just crank out what is essentially sponsored content all day to persuade that audience to buy things if it’s done well,

meaning the content is compelling to the audience, and the psychology has played well to persuade them to take action, the company behind that has a self-owned and governed media property that can just move units. Is that scary? Is that exciting? Is it ethically sound? I can see it a lot of different ways, but I want to know what you think.

Drop me a line at [email protected], or jump in the comments here, wherever you’re watching, and listen and let me know. Virtual influencers, what are the possibilities, what are the fears? I’d love to know your take. If you’d like, record your reaction on the Voice Memo app on your phone and email that file attachment to me at [email protected]

I’ll play back your thoughts on the show as we continue this discussion over. I do hope you’re enjoying Winfluence. If you are, why not share it with someone you know who might as well? Send them to winfluencepod.com or share a link to this episode on your social network of choice. Of course, you can now watch the show every Monday morning at 11:00 AM Eastern, 8:00 AM Pacific time.

We stream that live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. Just find me there. I’m Jason Falls everywhere. If you have a moment, drop Winfluence a rating or review on your favorite podcast app, we are on them all. Winfluence is a production of Falls and Partners and presented by cipio.ai. The technical production is by MPN Studios. Winfluence airs along MPN, the Marketing Podcast Network.

Thanks for listening folks. Let’s talk again soon on Winfluence.

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