A new type of influencer has emerged to replace human stars in the non-face-to-face society that occurred after COVID-19. This is a virtual influencer that is very similar to the appearance of a real person. They are increasingly influential, especially with the great response of Generation Z, the digital native. Let’s look at the strengths of virtual influencer compared to Human influencer, actual use cases, and prospects.
Strengths of Virtual influencer
(1) No constraints of time and space
Unlike real humans, Virtual influencers can exist anytime, anywhere. Therefore, they can be used more actively in digital marketing during the pandemic period.
(2) Few risk factors
Since they are not real humans, they are unlikely to cause any unsavory problems. Therefore, virtual influencer can be effectively used in marketing.
(3) Fresh and interesting images
They are completely newly created influencer in the digital world, so they can approach consumers with fresh and interesting images. Therefore, they can easily attract consumers’ attention.
(4) Availability of a variety of social media
Virtual influencer can actively communicate with consumers across various social media channels such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.
Examples of Virtual influencer
(1) Lil Miquela
Lil Miquela is a virtual influencer and a Brazilian-American living in LA. She works on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook. She has about three million Instagram followers. She was selected as a model for top luxury brands such as Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton and used for various marketing contents. She also released a music album.
Imma is a virtual influencer based on Japanese culture. She works on Instagram, Twitter, and Zepeto, a metaverse platform. She has about 356,000 Instagram followers. She modeled for various brands such as Adidas and IKEA. She was used for various marketing contents beyond time and space constraints. She has recently entered the NFT ecosystem.
Prospects of Virtual influencer
According to the research from HypeAuditor, the core audience of virtual influencer is younger people between 18 and 34 years old (73%). There is also a large number of younger people between 13 and 17 years old (14.47%). As such, the younger people is enthusiastic about a completely new star, Virtual influencer. Therefore, virtual influencer can be used more actively in marketing targeting the younger generation.
In addition, the power of virtual influencer, which operates on various social media channels, is expected to grow. In fact, the engagement rate in Instagram posts of virtual influencer was about three times higher than that of human influencer. Based on their strengths and popularity, their activities are expected to further expand to areas such as Metaverse, Live Commerce, and NFT. Thus, the possibilities of using virtual influencer in your business are endless.
Nick Baklanov, “The Top Instagram Virtual Influencers in 2020”, HypeAuditor, 2020
Koba Molenaar, “Discover The Top 15 Virtual Influencers for 2022 – Listed and Ranked!”, Influencer Marketing Hub, 2021