Virtual influencers may seem like a concept out of the future, but it is here now. We already have a virtual bee and a virtual teenager, with millions of followers on Instagram. Their growing popularity and unmatched flexibility beg the question, are virtual influencers the future? Will they replace human web celebs?
The answer depends on several factors but revolves around the limitations of human influencers. They need time to spend a lot of time and money for shoots, and can’t really jet around the globe on a tight budget. Virtual influencers, on the other hand, can be in any setting, anywhere on the planet and promote anything – since it is all digital and not real. This is a big plus, allowing virtual influencers to do things human influencers simply cannot.
What remains then is the question of following and influence – will virtual influencers be able to garner huge followings? If video games are any indication, then yes, virtual characters can definitely attract huge followings, examples being iconic characters like Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us series.
These and numerous other video game characters are loved by millions, and can easily have their own massive Instagram followings. If virtual influencers take off, then smaller influencers may start seeing competition, especially in product placement sponsorships and such.
However, we believe there will always be demand for super influencers, those who live the good life and show luxury which inspires envy and ambition among viewers. These include Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylie Jenner for example, and these top influencers are unlikely to face competition from virtual influencers in the foreseeable future.
That being said, the rise of virtual influencers is a very interesting and relevant topic in the industry today and will make for an engaging discussion at the upcoming Influencer Awards 2020.
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