CGI betrayal: new study reveals 42% of people don’t know they’re following a bot


Bot or Not? 42 Percent of Gen Z and Gen Y Have Followed an Influencer and Didn’t Know They Were CG

New Survey from Fullscreen’s proprietary TBH Panel Dives into CGI Influencer Sentiments and Preferences

Fullscreen, a global leader in social-first entertainment experiences serving creators, brands, and consumers, today released the first-ever study done on consumer sentiments around CGI influencers. The study, Can CGI Influencers Have Real Influence?, aims to provide insight into their proliferation to help brands and ‘human influencers’ see what is resonating with audiences and understand what the youth market finds appealing about their presence.

The study was conducted by Fullscreen’s research panel, TBH (To Be Honest), a proprietary panel of 18-34-year-olds that allows advertisers and marketers to conduct custom research and campaign testing to more effectively build campaigns. The study took place between Sept. 14-Oct. 26 among 534 respondents.

According to the study, 42 percent of respondents have followed an influencer they thought was real but turned out to be CGI. Was it a shocker? Yes. Did they feel betrayed? Absolutely. Two-thirds (66%) of the group surveyed felt surprised and intrigued when they found out and 60 percent thought it was funny. However, some felt betrayed or annoyed (42% and 41%, respectively).

“When it comes to CGI influencers, transparency is critical,” said Maureen Polo, general manager, Fullscreen Brand Studio. “While our study showed that a majority of Gen Z and millennials were intrigued rather than irritated when they found out an influencer they followed wasn’t a human, brands should still err on the side of caution and practice transparency, as more than half of respondents said they want to know who is behind the facade. We found that not only does creative control not mean better content, but that fans should always be put first.”

Key Findings:

Unmasking the Unfamiliar

  • More than half (54%) of respondents agree that they want to know who is behind the facade of the CGI influencer.
  • Brands, listen up. Gen Z and millennials would like to know if a brand is behind a CGI influencer (42%).
    • This social-first audience wants to see brands involved with CGI influencers, namely those in entertainment (39%), travel (35%), and retail (31%).
    • In fact, a few popular brands that respondents said they’d like to see CGI from (in an open-ended question) were: Nike, Adidas, McDonald’s, and various beauty brands.

Following Fakes

  • More than one-third (37%) are aware of CGI influencers but don’t follow them.
  • One-fifth (20%) follow a CGI influencer while more than half (56%) would intentionally follow a CGI influencer.

Buying from Bots

  • Over half of the respondents who engage with CGI Influencers have taken any of the following actions as a result:
    • Made a purchase (55%)
    • Attended an event (55%)
    • Followed a brand (53%)
    • Researched a brand or product (52%)
About Fullscreen

Fullscreen is a global leader in social-first entertainment experiences serving creators, brands and consumers. As a leader in branded content and social marketing services, Fullscreen partners with major brands seeking to engage valuable, elusive youth audiences on social platforms through original entertainment, influencer marketing, multi-platform social content and targeted media through the Fullscreen Media Network. Serving a broad range of clients from offices in Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta, Fullscreen’s rapidly growing brand marketing teams are defining the future of social-first, content-driven marketing. Fullscreen is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Otter Media, a WarnerMedia company. For more information, visit and follow on social media at @fullscreen.

SOURCE Fullscreen, n=548 18-34, weighted to the US population based on age/gender


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