Robot Influencers and Their Impact on M’sia Influence Marketing Industry


Currently, Malaysians are not unknown to influencers and social media personalities. It’s not too hard to spot an influence account even, but seeing something like that can take a minute to process.

It has an influential aspect, has the following (3 million) and participates in it, and even does brand campaigns. It even produces music on Spotify with over 273,000 monthly listeners.

But looking at her, you might think that something on her face looks … off. Precisely. It is an example of the latest developments in the world of influencer marketing today: robot influencers.

So let’s be clear, they are no literally robots whom you can meet and greet in real life, but CGI characters, which is why they are also known as virtual influencers. The above influencer is created by a startup in Los Angeles called Bride specializing in AI and robotics.

Now the influencers of robots are increasing worldwide and many of them have collaborated with each other or are “friends” on their social networks (not surprisingly). Some of these other personalities include Shudu, Bermuda, But, etc.

What about Malaysia?

Yes, we have one or at least one account that aspires to go in that direction (judging by its tracking of multiple robot influence accounts):Avina.

Avina lives in Cheras and is currently 21 years old. So far I have not been able to find other influential robots like her in Malaysia and she is still in her childhood.

While Avina herself has not personally collaborated with other robot influencers like those big names I just mentioned, she has performed in some places like TRIBE and MoMo.

At first I thought it was already gaining strength and was sponsored by the brand’s content, but TRIBE confirmed to me that they hadn’t worked with it before and that the owner might have frequented TRIBE often.

Avina at TRIBE and MoMo’s / Image Credit: Avina

Now, it would be an interesting development to see an influencer robot grow in Malaysia, but this is definitely something new in the local influencer marketing scene that I was curious about.

So I interviewed Nuffnang and Gushcloud, two notable influencer marketing companies, thinking about what the future of working with these influencers would be like and how the industry could change, if at all. Although neither company has yet worked with an influencer robot, they are aware of the upward trend overseas.

The advantages and disadvantages of working with influential robots

“Robot influencers can do exactly what brands want to show their followers. Plus, they wouldn’t get involved in personal scandals either, “Jason Lee of Nuffnang shared with Vulcan Post.

He is also confident that robot influencers will be punctual in delivering content to their social media when working with brands.

“Hou Yin Wan by Gushcloud shared with Vulcan Post” The content there is highly customizable and what they show also provides a different experience for viewers, where it lies between the edge of realistic content and virtual content.

However, working with influential robots can seem like a double-edged sword. Jason has an idea that consumers may not appreciate the content posted by them, as they are aware that brands have full control over it.

Hou Yin also thinks that, especially in Asian countries, not everyone will still accept the influencers of robots. He believes it can be complicated when working with big brands, especially when it comes to religious contexts, in which there can be a possible negative repercussion.

Jason Lee and his team in Nuffnang / Image credit: Nuffnang

“The maintenance and management of influential robots would also require a significant investment. In addition, each of their posts consumes more time than a regular influencer, as they must first be identified, designed and then rendered to achieve a brand’s campaign goals, ”Jason added.

No, they will not replace the influential IRLs

Both companies are confident that this will not take over the human influencer marketing scene, but will coexist and be their own category in the influencer marketing industry. Which makes sense, because not everyone can or has the time to make robots like these compared to becoming influencers themselves.

As long as the creators of robot influencers are transparent, we believe their creation will be popular among a select group of audiences who see robot influencers as a form of “fantasy,” especially for communities that grew up with manga and anime. like Japanese, ”Jason explained.

Hou Yin believes that this form of content creation is sustainable despite the longer time to produce it, because if the quality of the content is good, brands would be open to paying a good price. And whether you work with these robots or IRL creators, the relationship shouldn’t be too different, he said.

Hou Yin and his team at Gushcloud / Image Credit: Gushcloud

Both Hou Yin and Jason also agreed that the criteria brands would look for in robot influencers would be the same as human influencers, such as having a good base tracking and participation rate before other factors, such as ‘appearance and personality.

Humans still control the influencers of robots

Personally, it’s hard to say that robot influencers themselves would be able to move away from drama and controversy just because their content is thought out more thoroughly. In the end, its creators are also human with their own opinions and beliefs.

Bermuda, the influencer I mentioned earlier, is actually one former Trump supporter with problematic views and had “beef” with 2 other robot influencers.

From breeding to beasts …? / Image Credit: Bermuda

Whether or not all of this was an advertising ploy through controversy, posting this content does not reflect this particular influencer well.

In the end, the people who operate these robot influencer accounts continue to be human with their own opinions and perspectives, and working with these influencers is not like working with an efficient machine per se. Any brand that works with influential robots cannot assume that it is the perfect solution for marketing.

Aside from any flaws, there is definitely potential for this new category of influencer marketing, even in Asia.

In Japan, there is even a so-called “virtual human agency” Aww this created 5 virtual influencers who have great following and participation on Instagram. South Korea also has its own virtual influencers such as Cozy which have been gaining strength. Again, it could be that these nations are also more receptive to concepts like these, which already gives these CGI creators a market to cater to.

In accordance with OnBuy, the most popular influence robot, lilmiquela earns approximately 6.5 thousand pounds (37.3 thousand euros) per publication. But in general, the average earnings per publication of robot influencers is between 100 and 200 pounds (between 572 and 1,146). not too far of what microinfluencers can gain.

How Much Do Robot Influencers Earn / Image Credit: OnBuy

Not to mention, Brud, the startup behind lilmiquela has so far closed US $ 6.1 million, indicating the potential of companies in this industry.

Overall, the general public feeling towards robots ’influencers seems positive, but it’s hard to know if the content they create really generates conversions for brands. Also, since they are “robots” and not exactly human, can we keep them with the same degree of accountability as the influential IRLs?

It’s hard to know where the line is drawn now, but they don’t seem to be a threat to today’s influencer marketing industry, so we can expect more robot influencer accounts to appear, local or not.

For anyone in Malaysia, it would be nice to see some virtual faces that really resemble Malaysian ethnicities, which would be more appealing as local people may find them more relatable.

  • You can learn more about Avina here.
  • You can read more AI-related articles we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: Avina i Lilmiquela

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