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Everything You Need To Know About Virtual Influencers

Nov 17, 2023

Influencer News

Everything You Need To Know About Virtual Influencers

Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters who can be human-like in appearance with realistic features and characteristics, cartoonish in nature or even anthropomorphic animals. They don’t exist in the physical world however in the world of social media they live their lives to the fullest. Similar to real life these influencers have teams behind them except in this case it is designers, writers and artists trying to create a character that walks, talks and acts like any other human.

The rise of virtual influencers isn’t a new trend even though it has exploded in recent times. There were cases like the musical artist Hitune Miku and Kizuna AI who paved the road with their campaigns and brand appearances. Although these successes were mostly centralised to Asia and didn’t branch out recently virtual influencers from across the world have been making waves with brand collaborations and more! Check out Lil Miquela’s collab with Alexander McQueen below.

@lilmiquela

In my Biggest Bag Era. ILYSM @Alexandermcqueen #alexandermcqueen #McQueenSeal #McQueenEyewear

♬ Princess Diana – Ice Spice & Nicki Minaj

Virtual influencers can be found on all social platforms but most are found on Instagram as the image-based format fits them perfectly. There are some major differences that virtual influencers have with other Instagram influencers, one being the fact that all changes to content can be made instantly. And in comparison to their real-world counterparts, they’re always available 24/7 and take no breaks so in our boss’s eyes they are the perfect workers

But how do they fit into the current marketing space?

VIRTUAL INFLUENCERS IN MARKETING

Virtual influencers have already been involved in various campaigns from a variety of brands including Renault, Calvin Klein and Samsung to name a few. But just like everything they have their pros and cons

Pros     

Production: is generally easier as you can fix mistakes or make changes! You also don’t need to pay for make-up or hair technicians.

Distance: means nothing to them as they can be anywhere in the world they’re needed even two places at once. No need to pay for accommodation or travel costs.

Virtual Influencers are safe: and reliable so you won’t see a surprise later that makes them a brand risk.

Available 24/7: and 7 days a week.

Virtual influencers are the “in” thing: right now and generate buzz and high engagement.

Cons

The costs: of creating or using a 3D AI-powered can be very expensive

The Virtual Influencers craze will wane over time:leading to a decline in interest in their collaborations 

Various Ethical concerns: are raised as they can’t truly understand or experience the product they are promoting. 

Limits the consumer’s emotional connection: they can make a virtual influencer.

Chance of creeping the audience out: with the model if it falls into the uncanny valley.

THE TOP 5 VIRTUAL INFLUENCERS

Lu do Magalu – 6.5 Million Followers

Brazilian Virtual influencer Lu Do Magalu debuted more than a decade ago to promote the Magazine Luiza, one of Brazil’s biggest retailers, to market the IblogTV on YouTube. Since then she has been in everything from product reviews, unboxing videos and even memes on her pages.  

Lil Miquela – 2.7 Million Followers

Miquela Sousa better known as Lil Miquela is a Virtual model who has already partnered with top fashion brands such as Dior, Prada and Calvin Klein. She’s also released a single in 2017 along with a music video at Lallapoolza online festival last year. She as a loyal fanbase dubbed the “Miquelites” who follow her on all platforms from Twitter to TikTok. 

Barbie – 3.6 Million Followers

Needed no introduction Barbie is already a massive name with her new film and rich history and range of products. On YouTube, she takes the role of a Vlogger while on Instagram she shares reels with skits.   

Janky and Guggimon – 1 Million Followers

The Creators of Janky and Guggimon Superplastic a leading creator of animated synthetic celebrities, apparel and designer toys. In Guggimons own words he describes himself as a “fashion horror artist & mixtape producer with obsessions: handbags, axes, designer toys, Billie Eilish, & The Shining”.  

Any Malu – 644,000 Followers

Another Brazillian virtual influencer who is fully animated! Since her debut in 2015 she’s managed to grow from a YouTube star to a transmedia superstar. She even has her own TV show on Cartoon Network! 

FAQs

What is a virtual influencer?

Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters who can be human-like in appearance with realistic features and characteristics, cartoonish in nature or even anthropomorphic animals!

What do virtual influencers do?

Similar to normal influencers, virtual influencers promote products and services while partnering with a variety of brands.

What would be a virtual influencer’s impact on real social media influencers?

If their popularity continues to rise we could see a point where many real social media influencers are replaced by popular virtual influencers due to the benefits they provide and the advantages they have over their real-world counterparts.

Who was the first virtual influencer?

Cynthia the “Gaba Girl” Mannequin created by a retail display designer Lester Gaba created a 100-pound plaster Mannequin in the 1930s which was taken out to pose for Life magazine which birthed a star.  

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

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@ Socially Powerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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