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TikTok Tests AI Avatars for Advertising

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 19, 2024
TikTok Tests AI Avatars for Advertising

TikTok Tests AI Avatars for Advertising

TikTok is reportedly developing a new AI feature that could potentially change the advertising landscape on its platform by introducing virtual influencers capable of reading advertiser-generated scripts. This move could place AI avatars in direct competition with human influencers who currently dominate the platform’s advertising space.

The innovative feature, still in the testing phase, allows advertisers and sellers on TikTok Shop to create scripts for a virtual influencer, according to a report by The Information. These AI avatars are designed to promote and sell items directly on the platform, mimicking the roles typically played by human influencers.

However, the effectiveness and readiness of these AI avatars for widespread use remain in question. Early tests indicate that they have not performed as well as human influencers in generating e-commerce sales, suggesting that there are still hurdles to overcome before a full rollout.

TikTok’s exploration into AI is not new. The platform has previously introduced AI-driven features like the Song Generator and has implemented AI tags on certain filters and effects to enhance user interactions. These ventures into AI technology have produced mixed results, showcasing TikTok’s willingness to innovate while also highlighting the challenges of integrating AI smoothly into user experiences.

Impact on Human Creators

One major concern with the introduction of AI influencers is the potential impact on human content creators. Many TikTok influencers rely heavily on brand deals for income, particularly after the platform discontinued its $1 billion creator fund—a fund that was criticized for inadequate compensation. The integration of AI avatars raises questions about how sponsorship dollars will be distributed and whether this new technology might undercut the opportunities available to human creators.

The deployment of AI influencers on TikTok also arrives at a sensitive time for the company, which has been urging its user base to lobby against potential legislative actions that could threaten its operations in the U.S. The platform’s strategy in balancing the rollout of this new feature, without alienating its vast community of content creators and users, will be crucial.

As of now, TikTok has not provided official comments regarding the ongoing development and potential implementation of this AI feature. The company’s approach to handling the delicate balance between innovation and the welfare of its human influencers will be pivotal in determining the success of AI avatars in the commercial ecosystem of TikTok.

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Featured image courtesy of kues1 on Freepik

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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