Professor Mirbabaie and colleagues address in a recent publication the differences in the perception of trust in human and virtual influencers. Influencers in social media are often perceived as a trusted source for many people which is why companies increasingly promote their products through them. However, influencers can also cause reputational damage for a brand. Virtual (computer-generated) influencers can be used to minimize these risks and to better tailor content to a target group of a company. However, preliminary findings reveal that although participants were often unsure whether the presented influencer was human or computer-generated, perceived trust, social presence, and humanness was consistently rated higher for human influencers.
Hofeditz, L., Nissen, A., Schütte, R., & Mirbabaie, M. (2022). Trust Me, I’m an Influencer!-A Comparison of Perceived Trust in Human and Virtual Influencers.