Influencer marketing has everyone on the same page. Virtual influence is part of the influencer marketing offering and uses computer-generated personas to promote products or services on social networks. Looking at the people behind the digital personas provides a better understanding of the opportunities for virtual influence in brand advocacy, and why investment in this area is increasing.
Understanding the origin of digital personas to discover new marketing levers.
First of all, it is necessary to discard the technological start-ups that sell “humanoid robots” or “digital workers” with the aim of humanising interactions and providing a service dimension (reception desks, information counters, chatbots, customer assistance, etc.). It is essential to distinguish them from virtual influence to avoid frequent confusion.
What about digital personas from the communications and marketing industry? The technologies are similar, even identical, but these characters are designed for entertainment. They are initially digital personas, not virtual influencers, because the digital persona only becomes influential if it gains the engagement of large audiences.
Digital personas: the future of influence and advertising on social networks.
On the one hand, the social networking industry has understood that the future heroes of the collective imagination will emerge on their platforms. This is what motivated John Brennan (ex-Snap Inc, in charge of Snapchat’s sports partnerships) to gather celebrities such as Serena Williams and Jennifer Aniston around his cartoon character creation and animation studio, Invisible Universe. He says “the world has fallen in love with cartoon heroes through film and television for generations, but the heroes of tomorrow will make their debut on TikTok and Instagram and in the rapidly expanding world of the Web3.”
On the other hand, media agencies and especially advertising agencies have also understood that audiences can only be captured through touch screens. In France, there is Arvi le Renard (+2.4M followers on TikTok), collaborating with Monoprix and managed by Webedia, as well as Bee_nfluenceur, collaborating with Carrefour (exit La Fondation de France and the +250K Instagram account) and managed by Publicis. These major players are preempting these new advertising formats, having all the necessary skills to design and animate characters that are time-consuming in terms of skills, time and money before they can be monetised.
Then come the virtual characters that embody the brands, projects inspired by advertising agencies or agencies with a brand content culture advising their advertising clients of emb