CFP: JIA on AI and Virtual Influencer Advertising

Call for Papers

JIA Special Issue on AI and Virtual Influencer Advertising

Journal of Interactive Advertising

Extended Abstract Submission to GMC Deadline: January 31 2023

Full Paper Submission to Journal Deadline: November 30, 2023

The Journal of Interactive Advertising (JIA) is seeking submissions for its Special Article Collections Section on “AI and Virtual Influencer Advertising,” which will also be the paper track title at the 2023 GMC at Seoul. Papers presented at this JIA track of the conference will be considered for publication in the Special Section in the Journal of Interactive Advertising.

This Special Section aims to feature the papers that examine the processes and effects of virtual influencers empowered by artificial influence. Virtual influencers, social media celebrities that appear artificial in nature while presenting the same type of content as real human influencers (Stein, Breves, and Anders, 2022), or computer-generated digital characters existing entirely online (Bringe, 2022), are rapidly widening its impact in marketing. For example, a recent virtual influencer survey (Influencer Marketing Factory, 2022) reports that 58% of respondents follow at least one virtual influencer, and of those, the reasons for following virtual influencers were the content (26.6%), storytelling (18.6%), music (15.5%), inspiration (15.5%), avatar aesthetic (12.1%), and interaction (11.8%). The rise of virtual influencers has been boosted by the growth of people’s virtual activities since the COVID-19 pandemic. In China alone, the market size of virtual influencers has seen exponential growth since 2021 (Statista,2022). The core market value of virtual ‘idol’ sector, which was 3.4 billion yuan in 2020, increased to 6.22 billion yuan in 2021, then to 12.08 billion yuan in 2022 (Statista, 2022).

These digital personalities (Mrad, Ramadan, and Nasr, 2022), due to their ‘influential’ power to inform, entertain, and persuade consumers, are useful assets for advertising. Not only might they be as influential as human influencers, but also they are safe for and controllable by the brands. As influencer advertising benefits from the bond between influencers and followers, influencer advertising serves as a new means for brands to efficiently assure return-on-investment (Taylor 2020). This will also be true for virtual influencer advertising. With the added benefits of controllability and safety (i.e., scandal-free), the use of virtual influencers in advertising and marketing will consistently grow. New media opportunities such as the metaverse will, even more, popularize the use of virtual influencers.

Research on influencer advertising has investigated the role of sponsorship disclosure, influencers among children, influencer-follower relationships, and the effect of consumers' characteristics such as social comparison tendency. Though there have been some studies such as a recent study by Thomas and Fowler (2021) which investigated AI influencers as brand endorsers, more advertising scholars need to pay attention to the roles of virtual influencers in advertising processes and effects. Thus, original manuscripts are invited for this Special Section Article Collection dedicated to virtual influencer advertising, within the broader domain of interactive advertising.

Extended Abstract Submission to GMC JIA Track

- Deadline: January 16, 2023 (Check GMC website for any updates)

- Authors should submit an extended abstract including everything, which should be less than 5 pages (single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, 1-inch margin on all sides).

- How to submit: Check GMC website for the link and instructions. Be sure to select the “AI and

Virtual Influencer Advertising” JIA track.

- All papers will be reviewed for their fit, theoretical and methodological rigor, and contribution to both theory and practice.

Full Paper Submission to the Journal

- Deadline: November 30, 2023

- Manuscripts must be electronically submitted through

- Authors should select “SPECIAL SECTION: AI and Virtual Influencer Advertising” as the

manuscript type. Please also note in the cover letter that it is for the Special Section.

- All submissions are subject to the formal double-blind review process of JIA.

Inquiries should be directed to:

Chang-Dae Ham

Guest Editor

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 

Jooyoung Kim

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Interactive Advertising

University of Georgia,


Bringe, A. (2022, October 18). The Rise of Virtual Influencers and What It Means for Brands. Retrieved

     December 19, 2022, from

Mrad, M., Ramadan, Z. & Nasr, L.I. (2022), "Computer-generated influencers: the rise of digital

     personalities", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 589-603.

Stein, J.-P., Linda Breves, P., & Anders, N. (2022). Parasocial interactions with real and virtual

     influencers: The role of perceived similarity and human-likeness. New Media & Society, 0(0).

Taylor, C. (2020), “Is COVID making marketing influencers more influential?” Forbes,

The Influencer Marketing Factory. (2022, March 29). Virtual Influencers Survey + INFOGRAPHIC.

     Retrieved December 19, 2022, from

Veronica L. T. & Fowler, K. (2021) Close Encounters of the AI Kind: Use of AI Influencers as Brand

     Endorsers, Journal of Advertising, 50:1, 11-25, DOI: 10.1080/00913367.2020.1810595