The Rise of Virtual Influencers: How AI is Changing the Marketing Industry

In the world of social media marketing, virtual influencers are quickly becoming the talk of the town. These digital personas, created using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, are gaining popularity on platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, with some boasting millions of followers and lucrative sponsorship deals with brands. But what exactly are virtual influencers?, and how are they changing the marketing industry?

What is a Virtual Influencer ?

Virtual influencers are computer-generated characters with their own unique personalities, backgrounds, and interests. They are designed to look and act like real people, with advanced AI algorithms allowing them to interact with users in a natural, human-like way. These virtual influencers can be used by brands to promote their products or services on social media, with the aim of reaching a wider audience and driving sales.

One of the biggest advantages of virtual influencers is that they can be customized to fit a brand’s specific needs. For example, if a brand wants to promote its new line of cosmetics to a younger demographic, they could create a virtual influencer that appeals to that age group. The virtual influencer could then post photos and videos of themselves using the cosmetics, providing a unique and engaging way for the brand to showcase its products.

Another advantage of virtual influencers is that they are not subject to the same limitations as human influencers. Virtual influencers can work around the clock, posting content and engaging with users at all hours of the day. They also do not require breaks, vacations, or time off, making them a more cost-effective option for brands in the long run.

However, there are also potential drawbacks to using virtual influencers. One of the biggest concerns is around transparency and authenticity. Because virtual influencers are not real people, there is a risk that they could be used to deceive users or misrepresent a brand. To address this issue, many brands using virtual influencers are now disclosing their use of AI technology in their marketing campaigns.

Another concern is around the ethical implications of creating virtual influencers. Some critics argue that virtual influencers perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards, and could potentially harm young people’s self-esteem and body image. There are also concerns around the use of AI technology to create digital personas, with some experts warning about the potential for misuse or abuse of this technology.

Despite these concerns, virtual influencers are continuing to gain traction in the marketing industry. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more sophisticated virtual influencers in the future, with the potential to revolutionize the way brands connect with consumers on social media.


One example of a virtual influencer is Lil Miquela. She is a computer-generated character that was created by the Los Angeles-based startup Brud in 2016. Lil Miquela has amassed over three million followers on Instagram and has worked with several major brands, including Calvin Klein, Prada, and Samsung. She posts images and videos that look like they are of a real person, and her content includes fashion, music, and social activism. Despite being a virtual character, Lil Miquela has gained a loyal following and has become a significant player in the influencer marketing industry

Another example of a virtual influencer is Shudu Gram. Shudu is a dark-skinned model who was created by photographer and visual artist Cameron-James Wilson in 2017. Shudu’s digital persona was designed to challenge the narrow beauty standards of the fashion industry, and she quickly gained a following on social media. Shudu has since collaborated with several high-profile brands, including Fenty Beauty and Ellesse, and has been featured in numerous fashion editorials. While some have praised Shudu for promoting diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, others have criticized her for perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards and for being created by a non-black artist.


In conclusion, the rise of virtual influencers is changing the marketing industry in exciting and innovative ways. While there are valid concerns around the use of AI technology to create digital personas, the potential benefits of virtual influencers cannot be ignored. As brands continue to experiment with this new form of marketing, it will be interesting to see how virtual influencers evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of social media.


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