Even as we speak, virtual influencers are signaling the early stages of a paradigm shift in our reality.

In today’s marketing economy, predicting the next big trend feels like navigating through a maze in the vast expanse of the internet. Adaptation is the name of the game, and if you’re not quick to innovate, you risk fading into obscurity faster than you can say ‘next big thing.’

Advertising has transformed into a battlefield where grabbing attention reigns supreme, reshaping consumerism as we know it. Gone are the days of aggressive sales pitches; now, it’s all about building an emotional connect between brands and their audience.

The discerning choice of the current gen for digital spaces and characters is a direct consequence of their immersion in a technologically advanced era. Surrounded by smart tech, pervasive social media, and advancing virtual realms, the preference for digital experiences is deeply ingrained.

Enter the rising stars of this engagement revolution: Virtual Influencers. Welcome to their space, where every pixel narrates a story, every algorithm shapes a personality, and every click fosters a connection. Among today’s marketing trends, they represent a fresh, innovative approach to capturing audience attention and personalizing the brand name by giving it a recognizable face.

At the core of the virtual influencers essentially lies the brand’s beliefs, their values, and how they wish to be perceived by their audience. Simply put, it’s just that these brands now have the ability and technology to put a face to these beliefs onto our screens.

Of Shaping Minds and Markets

Virtual influencers seamlessly align with this generational preference, offering a harmonious amalgamation of technology, creativity, and novelty. These computer-generated personas echo with the generation’s aspiration for individuality amongst the type of social conformation they resonate with. Notably, virtual influencers often embody diverse identities, forms, and lifestyles, reflecting and reinforcing the values of inclusivity and ingenuity favored by the current audiences.

What makes virtual influencers different from traditional influencers is their ability to provide just enough distance from the influencer market. While exuding glamour and vibrant vibes, they maintain a distinct separation that allows audiences to appreciate the allure without making direct comparisons, which comes from the audience’s understanding that they aren’t from the same space as them. This delicate balance creates a unique allure, offering the glam and vibes that are craved by their audience without the need to find the parallels to their own lives.

Moreover, the limitless capabilities of technology and the human mind allow virtual influencers to step past generational boundaries. The Venn diagram of the market and the mind intersects seamlessly, positioning virtual influencers as a versatile medium capable of resonating with various generations. Brands keenly recognize the potent influence virtual characters hold over tech-savvy demographics, regardless of age, leveraging the limitless possibilities of technology and the shared values across generations.

As the market continues to evolve, the appeal of virtual influencers for brands seeking innovative and effective ways to connect with diverse audiences remains paramount, especially around rising concerns that they might just be left stuck simply untangling wires.

All in all, there is no doubt that Virtual influencers now provide the advertisement and brand markets a much wider scope for catering to an even wider genre of audiences. And in these early stages, brands are trying hard to make this work, but at the end of the day, it’s us, the audience, who decide what clicks and what feels off.

Now, while the public expresses mixed sentiments, some brands are strategically using the hub-bub around the virtual influencers, deploying them to build communities aimed at fostering positive transformations on a larger scale –

Lil Miquela

A post on Lil Miquela’s Instagram Page

Lil Miquela, or Miquela Sousa, burst onto the digital scene back in 2016, captivating audiences across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube with her uncanny realism and impeccable style. 

The core for Miquela’s story by her creator’s at Brud was essentially to redefine the celebrity status that has been set in since the digital era was introduced to the general public. To take that status and form online communities that are not just viewers but are part of what make her story forms one of her main purposes of creation.

Her social responses a jumbo mix of positive and negative comments, yet nothing hinders the consistent posting of this virtual girl on a mission, a testament to the long-running social experiment crafted by her creators.

A few controversies aside (*ahem, her Calvin Klein ad with Bella Hadid), what sets Miquela apart is her drive to spark conversations that matter. From promoting body positivity to standing up for LGBTQ+ rights and environmental causes, she’s all about getting her followers to speak out and take action, rallying her followers toward positive change to become one of the top influential virtual figures.


A post on Kyraonig’s Instagram Page

With Virtual influencers on the rise, India is not going to take a back seat either. By putting India on the map within the virtual influence landscape, Kyra serves as a catalyst propelling the country onto the global stage.

Kyra’s creation has inspired a slow wave of AI and VI development in India, extending even to its smaller regions. This highlights the vast potential for Virtual Influencers to connect with the sheer number of diverse communities across the country.

Meanwhile, her Instagram bio proudly declares her a dream chaser, model, and passionate travel enthusiast—a combination that echoes the aspirations and spirit of India’s digital gen. With an aura that truly invites a discourse from the social media club about her in-human origin, Kyra cultivates a virtual space where her followers go beyond being mere spectators; curiosity within the Indian crowd truly running the show.

Bee Influencer

A post from bee_nfluencer’s Instagram Page

Now, we all know bees are the unsung heroes in our ecosystem, right? But now, one of these tiny winged creatures is taking their game to the next level – through social media!

Meet Bee_nfluencer – a CGI bee with a cause, aiming to make saving the planet as buzzworthy as it gets, reminding everyone of the fragility of nature and the importance of preserving it! It’s a buzzing advocate for the planet, aiming to connect with generations on a relatable level.

The response – People are loving it. The interactions are as wholesome as they get, with people genuinely getting onto its platform with comments wanting to know more about its cause and helping spread the word.

Bee_nfluencer as an influencer truly keeps us open to the possibilities of the virtual realm, falling under the non-human genre of influencers to lend us insights on what works and what doesn’t.

The Bottom Line

Now, with AI-based solutions on the rise, it’s like diving headfirst into a sea of endless possibilities—customized, targeted, and precision-driven. A true evolution of human interaction and technological integration. Even as we speak, we see virtual influencers signaling the early stages of a paradigm shift in our reality. For just as there is human emotion, there is also that human curiosity that drives us to see this through to the end.

But as our world expands, so does the question: Is there a moment for a breather, a pause to introspect amid this constant digital buzz? Honestly, it’s an exhilarating time, ripe with the prospect of learning and innovation. Yet, it’s not devoid of its risks.

Perhaps it’s only in acknowledging the fact that there will be both—the good and the not-so-good—that we should truly begin to navigate deeper into this uncharted territory. As these virtual influencers stride ahead, capturing attention and hearts, it’s worth wondering about the impact on shaping of societal norms, patterns, and our perception of reality.

As we venture further into this expansive terrain, the conversation beckons us not just to witness, but to actively participate in shaping of the future of advertising.

Amidst the infinite expanse of the virtual sphere, what queries ignite your curiosity about them? And what are your thoughts on that which can be explored within this realm of the virtual?

Written by Tanvi Shenoy