In the following picture, there are two virtual people and a real person, can you find out which one is who? The answer at the end of the article! 👇
Virtual Influencer, a term you have probably heard before, but you have certainly never thought about... At least, that was my case! And yet I'm working in the influencer marketing business 🤓 A concept with Black Mirror-ish allure, yet very real, and implemented for several years now. But before getting to the heart of this subject that is gaining more and more momentum on the web, a definition seems to be necessary.
What is a virtual influence? 🤔
A virtual (or digital) influencer is a public personality that is popular and present on social networks, and whose appearance is totally or partially artificial. These avatars can have a human form or not (animal appearance, or other) and have their own personality, values and story that will correspond to different audiences chosen beforehand.
With her 3 million followers, Lil Miquela is certainly the most famous of them all. She earns an estimated £6.5K per sponsored post, which is similar to a real influencer for the same number of followers. Beyond her posts, she has also been assigned a voice that she uses to release music: +200K listens per month on Spotify, featurings with real famous artists, her video clip "Money" has generated 4 million views on YouTube 👀
For more examples, I invite you to consult our TOP 10 virtual influencers.
On their account, these fictional characters can also carry messages for causes they care about. To take the example of Lil Miquela, she has been actively supporting the Black Lives Matter cause for several years.
These Instagram-only personalities now have a huge following and an engaged community. But what is their interest? Do they function as real influencers?
What is the purpose of this?
Just like an influencer in the flesh, these avatars are able to partner with brands. A new style of collaboration is emerging that has several advantages:
With digital, you can create what seems unattainable with a real person. The virtual gives way to madness and creativity, a very interesting advantage for brands that want to stand out.
Brands have total control over what gets published, leaving the field of possibilities open. This option avoids all the risks they might encounter such as poor quality of the content rendered, poor work experience with repercussions, etc.
The lives of these influencers are completely fictional, allowing brands to fit perfectly into their life moments, such as getting a license, getting pregnant, or simply making them appear in a setting at the end of the world without any problems or jet lag. Something that is impossible to master with real influencers.
A bad buzz or cyber-harassment will not have any consequences on the mental health of an avatar since by definition it does not really exist. No risk then for them to take a sabbatical from social networks because of the hate that can be found there!
Appealing to the virtual, this is the challenge that KFC has given itself in 2019 by creating itself a virtual version of the famous Colonel Sanders, but updated with a more hipster side. Although he is the official representative of a brand, he was able to make partnerships with brands as well. We can see him drinking a Dr. Pepper or promoting a shower gel with shea butter. A bit surprising for someone who can neither drink nor wash himself but after all why not! 🤷
Will they replace the real influencers?
Faced with the arrival of these people totally created from scratch, some people are quite doubtful. Should we trust people who do not even exist? 🤔
Very personally, I find these Instagram accounts original and entertaining even if I sometimes find their realism quite disturbing like the one of the accounts created by the AWW agency.
However, I find it quite difficult to believe a story invented by an agency for the benefit of its sympathy capital. The whole point of influencers (in my opinion) lies in the sharing and the honesty of the person towards his community. An interest that seems to me totally absent when it comes to following the fake dual nationality of such or such avatars. 🤥
When real people on Instagram promote products/services that they themselves have tested, how can we believe in the recommendation of an unreal person? This is the main problem with these accounts. Their partnerships are quite limited since they are mainly visual.
It is for this reason that these digital influencers will never replace the IRL influencers. Instead, we can talk about non-hostile cohabitation on Instagram 🤝
Now, I don't find it at all uninteresting for a brand to look into this phenomenon for possible partnerships, as there are still many unexplored avenues of photo or video content 🔥
Although they have thousands, even millions of subscribers, I know that in France these accounts are not followed very much, unlike in the US and Brazil.
Hello curious little ones who came straight to get the answer 👀
The two virtual influencers are in the middle and on the left of the picture!
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