here is a generation of digital influencers that are gaining more and more prominence on social media platforms, reaching millions of followers on Instagram. But this time, we're not talking about flesh-and-blood influencers, we're talking about virtual influencers that don't exist in real life. In other words, influencers who are technologically created on the computer.
Virtual influencers are part of the so-called fourth industrial revolution. With a combination of high-performance computer graphics and Artificial Intelligence, programmers and designers develop digital figures with human-like appearance and behavior, coupled with a digital data collection system.
While content creators for social media struggle to remain relevant in the midst of the pandemic, an alternative emerges in the form of virtual influencers. They can be in several places at the same time, they are spotted with celebrities from all over the world, they keep posting even in times of social isolation, they don't get sick. And they can be quite profitable.
According to a survey by Hype Auditor, virtual influencers engage up to 3 times more than real influencers. It is also worth noting that they are often created and controlled directly by a brand, so these influencers are safer to stay within the company's guidelines and without social interference, as can happen with real people.
At first sight, when visiting the account of a virtual influencer, it seems to be a profile like any other. With a very well-thought-out aesthetic, super real outfits, and environments. Everything is thought out to the smallest details and real, except for the fact that the protagonist is a computer graphics creation. We need to say that, despite being a little scary at first, we soon found ourselves interacting with those influencers and even saving their inspirational outfits.
In August 2020, the OnBuy website listed the online influencers that had the greatest financial return throughout the year. Check out who are the first 5:
To start the ranking of virtual digital influencers, Lil Miquela, with around £9 millions of predicted yearly earnings. She is a digital creation with more than three million followers on Instagram, who has released singles, and is one of the darlings of luxury brands such as Prada and Chanel. In her social network, Miquela posts about fashion, lifestyle, food, and even selfies with real celebrities. In addition, the influencer is also engaged in social causes!
After Miquela, who topped the list, comes Noonoouri, with more than £2 millions of predicted yearly earnings. The only one on the list that does not resemble a real human, the virtual doll Noonoouri is successful in the world of fashion, being the cover of magazines and editorials from major brands around the world. In 2019, she became an official model at IMG Models, one of the most reputable modeling agencies in the world. She has already collaborated with brands such as Versace, Dior, and Nike.
With about half a million pounds of predicted yearly earnings, in third place is Imma, who defines herself as a virtual girl, interested in Japanese culture, movies, and art. She is characterized by pink hair and has starred in campaigns for fashion companies such as Puma and UNIQLO, in addition to working with other sectors, such as the Magnum ice cream brand.
In fourth place is Bermuda, with around £450,000 of predicted yearly earnings. Created by Brud, the same creator as Lil Miquela, she became famous for fighting with her on social media – all marketing, of course, and today the two are best friends. From well-posed photos eating pasta in a Los Angeles restaurant to clicks exercising at home, this is the "life" of the online influencer Bermuda who has worked for Chanel, Balenciaga, Tesla, Adam Selman, and Starbucks on her Instagram.
Bermuda’s on-off boyfriend and Miquela's friend from day one, Blawko is in 5th place with over £150,000 of predicted yearly earnings. Another Brud influencer, which trademark is never fully showing his face, covered by a black mask that hides his mouth and part of his nose. He has 149,000 followers and was the cover of the Singapore edition of Esquire fashion magazine, as well the face of a campaign for Absolut vodka.
Virtual influencers prove that it is not necessary for someone to actually exist to influence others. All that is needed is a figure to be popularized while transmitting the most diverse messages chosen by its creators. They are public figures who can approach perfection and are unaffected by criticism like most celebrities.