In the past few years social media influencers have become increasingly popular for brands to work with in digital marketing efforts. Celebrities and social media stars alike have found work and careers posting to their social about their favorite brands to work with.
The newest trend in this space are virtual influencers. Virtual influencers are computer generated personalities that, with popularity, are able to endorse certain products similar to celebrity influencers and people with public stature but with a twist. The ability to personally create an influencer from scratch that is the perfect fit for your individual brand, is the revolutionary new wave.
Social media and celebrity influencers have proven to be successful digital marketing tools. Why would companies opt to go in the direction of a virtual influencer instead? Well one thing organizations have to worry about when working with celebrities and public figures is their behavior. Celebrities have gotten into trouble and been involved in various controversies in the past that could hurt brands’ images. Virtual influencers however don’t present this risk so they pose no risk of hurting a brand’s image.
The Future of Influencers
There are potential issues with the sustainability of virtual influencers. At the moment it is unclear how popular virtual influencers will become. There aren’t an abundant amount of virtual influencers that currently exist that have large enough followings to challenge popular celebrity and social media influencers. Lil Miquela is the most popular virtual influencer with just 1.5 million followers on Instagram. This number is impressive, but pales in comparison to other popular influencers, who actually exist, like Kylie Jenner.
Most of these computer generated influencers are contracted to work with brands, similar to regular celebrity influencers. Further, the creator of the virtual influencers are getting paid to represent brands. A different opportunity may present itself, though. Instead of paying for celebrity or virtual influencers, brands could opt to create their own virtual influencers in house. This would save brands a lot of money and if marketed and grown correctly would be just as effective. This is a potential trend to keep an eye on in the influencer sector of the digital marketing industry.