Why You Should Consider a Virtual Influencer for Your Next Campaign?

Why You Should Consider a Virtual Influencer for Your Next Campaign?Why You Should Consider a Virtual Influencer for Your Next Campaign?

Influencer marketing has been a game-changer for businesses looking to reach a wider audience. As of 2023, the worldwide market for influencer marketing was valued at $21.1 billion. But now, with the rise of virtual influencers, the playing field is shifting once again. What do businesses need to know about this new trend?


The Rise of Virtual Influencers


According to recent studies, the popularity of virtual influencers is surging. According to research, up to 58% of users follow at least one virtual influencer, with 75% of Gen Z admitting to keeping up with these digital personalities. This trend presents a significant opportunity for brands to reach and engage with a younger, digitally-savvy audience.
The virtual influencer market is experiencing rapid growth. Grand View Research estimates the global virtual influencer market size at $3.6 billion in 2022, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 38.9% to reach $37.8 billion by 2030.


The Benefits of Partnering with Virtual Influencers


Greater Control Over Messaging and Reputation


One of the key benefits of partnering with virtual influencers is the greater control they offer over messaging and avoiding reputational risks, as highlighted in Forbes. Unlike human influencers, who can be unpredictable and may engage in behavior that could harm a brand’s reputation, virtual influencers can be carefully scripted and managed to ensure they always align with a brand’s values and messaging.


Higher Engagement Rates


Virtual influencers are also highly effective at engaging audiences. The average engagement rate for virtual influencer campaigns in 2023 was 5.9%, which is 3x higher than the average engagement rate for real influencer campaigns, which was 1.9%. This suggests that virtual influencers may be more effective at capturing audiences’ attention and prompting them to engage with a brand.


Cost-Effective


Partnering with virtual influencers can also be cost-effective. An in-demand human influencer boasting over a million followers on social media platforms would generally request a fee of more than $250,000 for a single promotional post. In contrast, the most sought-after virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, only requires a fee of $10,000 for the same service.


Brands can avoid the high fees and expenses associated with working with human influencers, such as travel and accommodations. Virtual influencers can also be used for multiple campaigns and can be easily updated or modified, reducing the need for costly reshoots or redesigns.


Memorable


Virtual influencers offer brands the opportunity to be at the bleeding edge of technology. By partnering with a virtual influencer, brands can differentiate themselves from competitors and create a unique experience for their audience.


Challenges of Virtual Influencer Promotions


While virtual influencers offer exciting possibilities for brands, there are also limitations and risks to consider. One key challenge is the inherent lack of authenticity. Unlike human influencers with their own experiences and stories, virtual influencers can struggle to connect with audiences on an emotional level. As over 65% of marketers note, authenticity constitutes the key strength of influencer marketing. Trusting recommendations from non-human bloggers might be difficult for some consumers, which may ultimately hinder campaign effectiveness.


Hottest Virtual Influencers


Imma


Imma is a virtual influencer created by Aww Inc. in 2018. It currently has almost 400,000 followers on Instagram. She has collaborated with various global brands, including Porsche, Magnum ice cream, and Hugo Boss. Imma has also expanded her influence into the web3 space, releasing NFT collections. Check out her collaboration with Coach for the brand’s 2024 spring campaign, "Find Your Courage" which also features rapper Lil Nas X.


Rozy Gram


Rozy, a virtual influencer developed by Sidus Studio X, has been making waves in South Korea’s entertainment industry. Despite being a 3D model, Rozy has accumulated over 170,000 followers on Instagram and has secured high-profile brand deals that would typically go to K-Pop idols or actors. Recently, she was selected to promote ChupaChups and American Tourister’s latest collaboration.


Lil Miquela


Miquela, also known as Lil Miquela, is a 22-year-old pop star and influencer. She was created by a tech startup called Brud and has since become a global sensation. She has millions of followers on social media. As for her music career, she has several commercially successful singles and collaborations with a number of high-profile artists. Despite being a virtual character, Miquela regularly acts as a brand face for different companies. Here is her recent collaboration with MSI.


Conclusion


Virtual influencers present a significant opportunity for brands to reach and engage with a younger audience. They offer greater control over messaging and avoiding reputational risks, higher engagement rates, flexibility and scalability. As the virtual influencer market experiences rapid growth, brands need to hurry up and embrace this trend to gain a competitive edge.

Influencer marketing has been a game-changer for businesses looking to reach a wider audience. As of 2023, the worldwide market for influencer marketing was valued at $21.1 billion. But now, with the rise of virtual influencers, the playing field is shifting once again. What do businesses need to know about this new trend?


The Rise of Virtual Influencers


According to recent studies, the popularity of virtual influencers is surging. According to research, up to 58% of users follow at least one virtual influencer, with 75% of Gen Z admitting to keeping up with these digital personalities. This trend presents a significant opportunity for brands to reach and engage with a younger, digitally-savvy audience.
The virtual influencer market is experiencing rapid growth. Grand View Research estimates the global virtual influencer market size at $3.6 billion in 2022, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 38.9% to reach $37.8 billion by 2030.


The Benefits of Partnering with Virtual Influencers


Greater Control Over Messaging and Reputation


One of the key benefits of partnering with virtual influencers is the greater control they offer over messaging and avoiding reputational risks, as highlighted in Forbes. Unlike human influencers, who can be unpredictable and may engage in behavior that could harm a brand’s reputation, virtual influencers can be carefully scripted and managed to ensure they always align with a brand’s values and messaging.


Higher Engagement Rates


Virtual influencers are also highly effective at engaging audiences. The average engagement rate for virtual influencer campaigns in 2023 was 5.9%, which is 3x higher than the average engagement rate for real influencer campaigns, which was 1.9%. This suggests that virtual influencers may be more effective at capturing audiences’ attention and prompting them to engage with a brand.


Cost-Effective


Partnering with virtual influencers can also be cost-effective. An in-demand human influencer boasting over a million followers on social media platforms would generally request a fee of more than $250,000 for a single promotional post. In contrast, the most sought-after virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, only requires a fee of $10,000 for the same service.


Brands can avoid the high fees and expenses associated with working with human influencers, such as travel and accommodations. Virtual influencers can also be used for multiple campaigns and can be easily updated or modified, reducing the need for costly reshoots or redesigns.


Memorable


Virtual influencers offer brands the opportunity to be at the bleeding edge of technology. By partnering with a virtual influencer, brands can differentiate themselves from competitors and create a unique experience for their audience.


Challenges of Virtual Influencer Promotions


While virtual influencers offer exciting possibilities for brands, there are also limitations and risks to consider. One key challenge is the inherent lack of authenticity. Unlike human influencers with their own experiences and stories, virtual influencers can struggle to connect with audiences on an emotional level. As over 65% of marketers note, authenticity constitutes the key strength of influencer marketing. Trusting recommendations from non-human bloggers might be difficult for some consumers, which may ultimately hinder campaign effectiveness.


Hottest Virtual Influencers


Imma


Imma is a virtual influencer created by Aww Inc. in 2018. It currently has almost 400,000 followers on Instagram. She has collaborated with various global brands, including Porsche, Magnum ice cream, and Hugo Boss. Imma has also expanded her influence into the web3 space, releasing NFT collections. Check out her collaboration with Coach for the brand’s 2024 spring campaign, "Find Your Courage" which also features rapper Lil Nas X.


Rozy Gram


Rozy, a virtual influencer developed by Sidus Studio X, has been making waves in South Korea’s entertainment industry. Despite being a 3D model, Rozy has accumulated over 170,000 followers on Instagram and has secured high-profile brand deals that would typically go to K-Pop idols or actors. Recently, she was selected to promote ChupaChups and American Tourister’s latest collaboration.


Lil Miquela


Miquela, also known as Lil Miquela, is a 22-year-old pop star and influencer. She was created by a tech startup called Brud and has since become a global sensation. She has millions of followers on social media. As for her music career, she has several commercially successful singles and collaborations with a number of high-profile artists. Despite being a virtual character, Miquela regularly acts as a brand face for different companies. Here is her recent collaboration with MSI.


Conclusion


Virtual influencers present a significant opportunity for brands to reach and engage with a younger audience. They offer greater control over messaging and avoiding reputational risks, higher engagement rates, flexibility and scalability. As the virtual influencer market experiences rapid growth, brands need to hurry up and embrace this trend to gain a competitive edge.

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Alex Kozlov is a co-founder and partner at THE REACH.

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