A number of brands have unveiled their own virtual influencers and some look like they have invested a considerable amount of time and investment in them. Among them are the cosmetics giant SK-II from Japan and the famous fashion house Calvin Klein.
There are still serious doubts among industry experts though on whether these sorts of influencers would be able to meaningfully communicate with the audience. The other concern is whether it would bring the brands the trust from the audience in the same way that everyday influencer marketing campaigns do.
Does It Mean Robots Are Taking Over the Planet?
The degree of engagement with this new phenomenon looks to be below what the brands initially thought. According to the newest data published by We Are Social, audiences are still approaching these virtual influencers with caution and doubt. It is also mentioned that the new trend it’s still in its infancy and there is a long road to a proper understanding of the effectiveness of virtual influencers.
The main reason behind this is the fact that people are interested in the everyday stories, challenges, and different ups and downs and in general different dramatic elements of an influencer’s life.
What Are Virtual Influencers?
The whole concept of influencer marketing is built on real interactions on a human level. The audiences at least not at this day and age are willing to accept something completely imaginary and invented with limited ways for the audience to connect themselves to the value provided by virtual influencers.
People still want organic content and authentic stories that’s why the recent Calvin Klein Campaign with their fictional same-sex romance between Lil Miquela and Bella Hadid. It of course caused a backlash for Bella Hadid and people were not too impressed. It is understood that pulling such digital PR stunts is focused on creating publicity rather than creating real influencer marketing conversions and results.
Some argue that the key to understanding a virtual influencer is not whether it is a real character or not. It should be considered a form of art. A fictional character with human traits that everyone loves.
What Market Data Tells Us
We have to admit though; this trend is definitely on the rise. In a recent report, social platform HypeAuditor did an analysis on the performance of top virtual influencers and the numbers look quite promising:
According to HypeAuditor’s report:
“Virtual Influencers have almost three times more engagement than real influencers. That means that followers are more engaged with virtual influencers content.”
Contrary to that belief, if this finding turns out to be true and the rise keeps its momentum, then virtual influencers will definitely have a big place among the audience worldwide and can create their own influencer marketing trend in Asia and beyond in 2020.
In terms of who, specifically, is engaging with these computer-based characters, the profile shows that younger female users are more likely to engage with virtual influencers.
Here is a list of virtual influencers who are making a name for themselves worldwide:
What the future holds for virtual influencers is yet to be seen. Thailand has yet to find it’s a prominent virtual influencer and Asian virtual influencers have not been able to reach the top ten with the exception of aww.tokyo who is currently third on the list.
At Influencer House, we bring you the latest trends, available technologies, and storytelling strategies to give your brand the image that makes you stand out among all your competitors. Contact us today and get a free consultation with our media planners.