August 8, 2023

Virtual influencers: How can brands benefit from them?

Virtual influencers are fictional individuals created by computers that appear and communicate with real people on websites, social media, and video content. These "virtual influencers" aren't real people; instead, they were made with the aid of cutting-edge technology, frequently using 3D animation, artificial intelligence, and modeling. They have become more well-known recently as a cutting-edge method of connecting with consumers and promoting brands, goods, and content.

How do they work?

Brands can collaborate with the virtual influencers to promote products and services. They can wear, use, or talk about these products in their content, effectively advertising them to their followers. Just like real influencers, virtual influencers are assessed based on metrics such as follower count, likes, shares, and comments. Engagement rates are used to measure their effectiveness in reaching and resonating with their audience.

Some virtual influencers use AI-driven technologies to enhance their interactions. Natural language processing (NLP) algorithms enable them to respond to user comments and messages in a more conversational manner. These responses are often generated based on predefined patterns and scripts. They interact with their audience through comments, direct messages, and sometimes even live streams. These interactions are often scripted or AI-generated, allowing them to respond to user comments and messages in a manner consistent with their personality and backstory.

How can brands benefit?

Many virtual influencers have been able to expand their online presence and gain attention quickly because they are not constrained by physical or geographic boundaries. With these influencers, many businesses have formed relationships. Virtual influencers with large followings on Instagram, such as Lu Do Magalu (6 million followers), Lil Miquela (3 million followers), and Guggimon (1.5 million followers), have collaborated with a number of well-known companies. Many other brands have used virtual influencers, including Balmain, Balenciaga, Prada, and many more.

Working with virtual influencers gives brands the opportunity to have complete control over their projects from inception to conclusion, which is a huge advantage. This applies to the creative process as well, which is customarily influenced. It's also noteworthy that virtual influencers have the unusual ability to produce material constantly because influencer marketing is a very content-driven marketing technique. The business partners that are able to target a particular demographic by working with an influencer whose following base matches their target audience stand to gain from this constant stream of material that may assist attract a growing audience of consumers. Particularly luxury firms like Prada has been using virtual influencers successfully for a while now.  

Image credit: Prada

Working with online influencers has many benefits, one of which is the chance to connect with a fresh, younger audience. Younger audiences seem to be particularly interested in this new media content, therefore influencer collaborations may make it possible for businesses to reach this market more successfully. For a campaign in Japan this year aimed at "encouraging people to embrace and express their creativity," multinational technology corporation Lenovo partnered with online personality Imma. Imma is featured alongside traditional Japanese influencers Ai Momoka, Glay, and Na in the "Yoga for All of Us" campaign.

Image credit: Imma (Lenovo Yoga)

Companies may face some difficulties as they attempt to work with digital influencers because there are still few resources available for doing so. Brands may have little control over the character they're collaborating with because they collaborate with a frequently anonymous human who develops the material. Therefore, companies should consider whether using virtual influencers actually carries more potential risks than using their real-world equivalents. Working with established virtual influencers who have built a solid reputation for themselves in the industry your business is in is one of the greatest ways to avoid any backlash that may cost your brand time and money to overcome.

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Kamna Datt
Content Writer
A content writer by profession, Kamna is an Influencer marketing enthusiast writing insightful articles about the space that will benefit brands and influencers alike!