Virtual influencers are still a relatively new concept, but they offer a unique approach to influencer marketing. They stand out from the crowd, becoming an attractive option for brands looking to differentiate themselves. In this piece, we’d like to discuss who creates virtual influencers and why.
Virtual influencers are computer-generated personalities that are designed to look like real people and have their own distinct characters, styles, and interests. They are created using 3D modeling and animation software and are often used as a marketing tool to promote products and services to online audiences.
Such influencers can be designed to look and act like humans or have more fantastical appearances, such as animated animals or robots. They typically have their own social media accounts and share content.
According to a survey conducted in 2022, which studied the preferences of consumers in the US, 58% of the participants stated that they were currently following virtual influencers. Interestingly, the trend of following virtual avatars was found to be most popular among adult members of Gen Z, with a staggering 75% admitting to being fans of virtual influencers.
Let’s take a look at the most popular virtual influencers that have already won the hearts of millions around the globe.
Virtual influencers are the wave of the future! They collaborate with global brands, share the latest trends in the digital world, and never have bad hair days. Check out our personal top five virtual influencers you can start following today (if you haven’t done this yet):
Lil Miquela is a 19-year-old social media personality who first appeared on Instagram in 2016. She is known for her fashion sense, modeling skills, and activism on issues such as social justice and mental health.
The model was created by a Los Angeles-based startup called Brud. Despite not being human, Lil Miquela has gained a significant following on Instagram. According to estimates by the British trading platform OnBuy, Lil Miquela earned about $11 million in 2020.
She makes music, collaborates with Samsung and Calvin Klein, and launched her own clothing line. Lil Miquela even has a relationship from time to time. And yes, she has a challenger who is also a woman and has Brazilian roots.
Guggimon is another virtual influencer who has gained popularity on social media. Created by Superplastic, Guggimon’s character is known for its unique and edgy style, often wearing punk-inspired clothing and accessories. He is also famous for collaborating with various fashion brands, and for surreal and sometimes disturbing artwork together with his metaverse buddy, Janky.
Referred to as the “world’s first digital supermodel”, Shudu Gram was created by British photographer and digital artist Cameron-James Wilson in 2017. Shudu’s popularity can be attributed to her stunning visual appearance, which has garnered attention from the fashion and beauty industries. Her Instagram page has featured collaborations with high-profile brands such as Furla and Louis Vuitton, among others.
Nobody Sausage originated in Portugal and first appeared on social media in 2020. Founded by motion graphic designer Kael Cabral, this funny character gained popularity on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok for its cute and quirky appearance, as well as its relatable and humorous content. Nobody Sausage represents a growing trend of virtual influencers who offer a refreshing and unconventional perspective on social media and influencer culture.
Noonoouri is a young and stylish girl with large eyes, created by a German graphic designer named Joerg Zuber in 2018. She wears a variety of designer outfits and accessories and has already become a fashion icon in the world of virtual influencers. Noonoouri is known for her collaborations with fashion brands such as Dior, Versace, and Fendi, as well as her advocacy for social causes such as climate change and animal welfare.
Some digital artists go further and leverage the power of AI to generate entire worlds. Such digital environments often feature surreal and dream-like landscapes, and they are designed to be immersive and interactive experiences for users. The popularity of AI-created worlds on Instagram can be attributed to several factors:
They provide a break from the stressful and overwhelming nature of social media. Users can explore these worlds and engage with them in a way that is detached from the real world.
Virtual worlds offer a new form of creative expression. Users can create their own digital spaces and share them with others, which raises the level of artistic experimentation.
The rise of AI-generated worlds can be seen as part of a larger trend of virtual reality and digital experiences. As technology continues to advance, they offer a glimpse into the future.
Check out the collection of fascinating AI-generated worlds on our Instagram:
If you compare HypeAuditor’s reports over the past three years, it may be true that virtual influencers are better than real ones. For example, virtual influencers have engagement rates almost three times higher than real influencers’ engagement rates.
The core audience of virtual influencers is women between 18 and 34 years old (44.76%). However, there are also many younger people between 13 and 17 years old (14.64%). That’s double the average of regular influencers, whose young audience averages about 7% of their entire audience.
Let us also note the positive expert expectations from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta universe, perhaps the perfect place for virtual influencers.
Zuckerberg is creating a new place for communication in the metaverse, and our virtual humans will become something that people will inevitably need in the metaverse, and I believe that this will create value for us as a brand. Moriya Takayuki, CEO Aww Inc.
Of course, virtual influencers have their downsides. You may have heard of a concept called the uncanny valley. It is used in robotics, computer graphics, and animation to describe the feeling of discomfort that can arise when a robot, virtual character, or other artificial entity appears human-like.
This is an important point because it highlights the need to carefully consider how virtual influencers are designed and presented. Maybe after a while, virtual content will be specially labeled, like movie posters marked 18+, for example. But for now, virtual influencers coexist with us in the digital space and help us develop influencer marketing.
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