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Virtual Influencers are here to stay

Updated: Jun 26

virtual influencers

What do Margot, Zhi, and Shudo have in common? They are all digital supermodels and virtual influencers. In the '90s, we had Claudia Schiffer, Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, and others. They were beautiful and nearly perfect. But they were also quite expensive to hire and sometimes difficult to work with. In 2024, we no longer need to deal with real people because virtual influencers are on the rise.

What are Virtual Influencers?

Virtual influencers, also known as digital or CGI influencers, are fictional computer-generated characters created using advanced graphics and artificial intelligence. These virtual influencers interact with real people on social media, where they share posts, participate in campaigns, and engage with their followers. Examples of virtual influencers include Lil Miquela, who has over 2 million followers on Instagram and has been an influencer for Calvin Klein; Imma, who is an influencer for IKEA Japan; Lu do Magalu from Brazil, who is the face of the retail giant Magazine Luiza; and Shudo, a digital supermodel who has fronted a campaign for Balmain. Recently, Prada launched their own virtual influencer, Candy, in conjunction with the release of their new perfume of the same name, and Lenovo has used Imma alongside human influencers.

Behind the Scenes

Virtual influencers are managed by companies or teams of creative professionals, including graphic designers, AI specialists, and marketing experts. Artificial intelligence plays a central role in driving interactions, ensuring that the characters can respond realistically and in real-time to comments and changes in their environment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Virtual Influencers


  • No Complaints: They never complain about working hours or long days.

  • Always On: They can work 24/7 without needing breaks.

  • Perfect Control: They do exactly what you say every time and don't cause real-life scandals.


  • Authenticity: They have no feelings (or souls), which can make the connection between them and their followers feel a bit cold.

  • Skepticism: Some followers may be hesitant to engage with something that isn't human.

  • Ethics: Is it okay to use AI to create perfect personalities?

The Future of Virtual Influencers and Digital Supermodels

Virtual influencers and digital supermodels are here to stay. More and more brands will develop their own AI-generated models, and they will increasingly resemble humans. It will also become more accessible for even small budgets to work with AI-generated models. TikTok has just announced a new feature (June 2024) where you can either find a virtual avatar from their stock or build your own from scratch, thus launching your own influencer or digital supermodel.

Real People Are Still Highly Valued

A new study published in the Journal of Business Research in 2024, "Human versus Virtual Influences, a Comparative Study," unsurprisingly shows that virtual influencers work best with functional products rather than hedonistic products. We humans identify more with real people, and most of us still prefer the latter. So, although you might get some credit among the younger tech-savvy generation and perhaps still some first-mover novelty value from using a virtual influencer, it might take a while before they completely take over.

virtual influencers

See Examples of Virtual Influencers Here:

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Reference for the Comparative Study:

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