Instagram influencer marketing is a booming business. Last year, marketing industry analysts projected that brands around the world would spend $8 billion on Instagram influencer marketing services in 2020. The market is projected to be worth $15 billion by 2022.
This figure might be even higher during the COVID-19 crisis, since many brands are pivoting to online business models to promote social distancing. They might invest even more in social media marketing.
As ScaleInfluence experts can point out, the Instagram influencer marketing model has evolved considerably since its inception. More recently, there has been a strong demand for virtual influencers.
How are virtual influencers disrupting the influencer marketing industry?
Virtual influencers are Instagram accounts that are made with CGI graphics. They are obviously fictional users that are designed to resemble actual humans.
Some marketers might be skeptical of the value of using virtual influencers to generate brand exposure. However, they have been rather successful at using virtual Instagrammers to build an audience and engage customers.
Some virtual Instagram profiles have already built a massive following. The influencer named @Lilmiquela has 2.6 million followers.
Of course, virtual Instagram influencers might not seem as authentic as real people. However, they are still surprisingly effective. There are a number of great benefits that they bring to the table.
Virtual Instagram influencers are far more cost-effective
When you hire a regular Instagram influencer, you have to deal with the complications that come with haggling with another human being. These frustrations include dealing with the diva mindset that captivates many influencers. Influencers often develop a massive ego after building a strong following. They can make unreasonable demands for compensation or other concessions.
Even reasonable influencers tend to charge a lot for their services. The average Instagram influencer will charge $10 for every 1000 followers. You might have to pay over $500 for a post from an influencer with 50,000 followers.
Marketers don’t need to pay nearly as much to get exposure from a virtual influencer. They can either create virtual influencer accounts on their own or outsource to an agency that specializes in virtual influencer marketing. Since you don’t have to pay a premium for a real user, the cost will probably be a lot lower.
There is no need to convince them that your product or service is compatible with their brand
Human influencers clearly have a lot more agency than a CGI Instagram robot. Instagram influencers with a large number of followers can afford to be picky. They don’t want to work with organizations that don’t reflect the brand image that they want to convey.
Virtual influencers obviously don’t care. You still need to find a virtual influencer with a following that is relevant to the brand that you were trying to promote. However, you don’t have to worry as much about the subjective preferences of a real person.
Zero risk of scandals compromising your brand
Regular Instagram influencers are celebrities. Their fame can go to their head just like other celebrities. This may entail them doing outrageous stunts for publicity. They might also let loose by getting intoxicated or behaving unprofessionally. This can quickly put a strain on their brand image, which can compromise all of the companies that work with them.
This is not going to be a concern with virtual Instagram influencers. Virtual influencers won’t be tempted to get drunk and make obnoxious remarks on camera or take their shirts off at the World Series, like Julia Rose. They will be consistently professional, which is a huge advantage for all of the brands that they partner with.
Virtual influencers can be built around specific products and conversion goals
The supply of human influencers is obviously limited. Therefore, influencers have to partner with a broad range of possible companies.
The potential supply for virtual Instagram models, on the other hand, is virtually unlimited. Virtual Instagram models can be designed with a very specific story arc in mind. These influencers can be nurtured around specific types of products or services, which helps brands get access to a much more targeted audience. This can be done by taking the perfect Instagram pictures.
Virtual Instagram influencer marketing could be a major trend in the coming years
Instagram influencers have had a profound impact on the digital marketing profession. Regular human influencers have a lot of brand appeal. However, there are considerable advantages to using for virtual Instagram influencers as well. They will gain even more popularity over the next couple of years.