Are influencers really their days numbered or will they be able to maintain the garrison of a social fort that is increasingly under siege? In recent weeks, the question has been raised by marketers around the world. The notification of eviction of overcrowded spaces that monopolize the attention of connected consumers comes from many quarters. On the dock is the metaverse with its simulated worlds and custom avatars. But the responsibility also lies with artificial intelligence with increasingly advanced anthropomorphic digital proposals. And again there is the exponential growth of the dynamics of gamification with virtual protagonists by personal data groups of increasingly transversal users, not just young geeks.
“Today with a real-life influencer you can’t control every detail of what that person will do, say, post. Instead, with a virtual influencer you can create a more compact community and manage communication. It is like finding an apostle at your disposal who converses with his followers on issues relevant to you ». So said Takayuki Moriya, CEO of Aww. This agency – the first Asian company involved in the creation of virtual influencers – is responsible for the most surprising use of these simulated figures: the use of teams of avatar agents to encourage followers to sign petitions. It happened with Imma, their creation committed to dialogue with half a million followers. Objective: to promote participation in awareness campaigns on issues ranging from environmental pollution to the rights of the LGBTQ + community. Imma is part of a large number of pixel celebrity tour companies. “The Rise of Virtual Influencers,” headlined New Scientist. “These new celebrities represent a small part of the Internet, but their influence is growing. With the pandemic, travel restrictions and greater control over spending, several companies and organizations have turned to virtual influencers to find a cheap and creative way to interact with the public, ”wrote Tevi Kuch.
Last year theOms collaborated with the virtual influencer Knox Frost. Objective: to promote a campaign on the Covid health emergency that has raised over 250 million dollars. Meanwhile, the US influencer marketing platform HypeAuditor found that these influencers have three times more engagement than real-life influencers, intercepting young, female audiences in 32% of cases. It is not a new phenomenon: already in 2018 Yoox launched his avatar Daisy with the #DaisyLovesM campaign, associating a real model with digital identity. Also Pradain partnership con L’Orealhe promoted Candy, virtual muse who accompanies customers to discover the eponymous collection of fragrances of the brand. Meanwhile, a few days ago, on the occasion of the Palio di Siena, the tech company Quest IT created the avatar of Franco Masoni, commentator of the historic event. The virtual twin answered questions from tourists and enthusiasts from the Tiraccontoilpalio.it site and from a totem in the Sienese loggia in Piazza Indipendenza. «Virtual influencers represent for many brands the perfect opportunity to access the frontiers of digital marketing. The choice of relying on influencers who become avatars, built in 3D and equipped with AI, is growing due to advanced graphics, an increased ability to understand and fluency in conversation. New ways of interacting are emerging in the metaverses that are outlining a rapid shift in the world of influencer marketing towards artificial representations with perfectly human appearances. A phenomenon that aims to revolutionize entire sectors as it is capable of eliminating fears in man-machine interaction, fueling trust in the digital interlocutor to create a following and involvement “, says Antonio Perfido, author of” Conversation Designer “, published by Franco Angeli.
New opportunities emerge for brands in this fluid world that is becoming avatar. A control over the contents that is linked to a reduction in the allocated budgets. «Today an avatar allows you to exploit the creative and empathic potential of communication to reach young audiences in constant search of entertainment. These figures are totally governable. An aspect that reduces the risk of style drops or conflicts of interest that classic testimonials can incur. The constant willingness to interact and the simultaneous presence in several places, at significantly lower costs, pushes companies to prefer virtual ambassadors », Perfido specifies. Innovation involves narrative and relational dynamics: basically, this multimodal communication combines texts, sounds, dialogues and visual spaces to improve usability and the value perceived by the user. «A virtual influencer has his own life and history. The central points for the design of these identities range from that of gender to personality and up to style, clothing and the ability to communicate in an engaging way. New professions are also born: the conversation designer he is the person who has the task of designing the user experience with intelligent conversation interfaces », concludes Perfido. Once again the market, in marking a discontinuity with the past, gives birth to new professional figures to be included in the workforce of companies and agencies.
The identikit of eight virtual stars
Give up Reikka
Serah Reikka is a young purple-haired actress in love with the French language and cats. But she above all she is a figure who has made the history of virtual influencers because she has been active since 2014. she One, no one, one hundred thousand different identities. Because Serah Reikka loves to dress up as fictional characters and photograph herself in this way on social media. “I try to experiment with other styles, sometimes with success and at other times not,” Reikka said in an interview. Today, presences created by AI and governed by algorithms even make statements.