The State of Virtual Influencers in 2024 (Report + Infographic)

The State of Virtual Influencers in 2024 (Report + Infographic)

Imagine a world where purchasing decisions are made as a result of virtual influencers having grown large, loyal follower bases on various social media platforms. Now, imagine the opportunities that would arise from this for both brands and creators. The good news is that this is the world we’re currently living in. In the upcoming years, with the ongoing AI (artificial intelligence) innovation and the introduction of new tools, this incredible phenomenon and concept will continue to grow.

The first instinct of many brands and creators would be pushback, but as an agency always looking to innovate, we’d challenge you to look at the vast opportunities this could represent for you. When we adapt and innovate with change, we don’t miss out on opportunities; we create new ones. In the case of virtual influencers, this creates more monetization opportunities for brands and creators.

As a brand, collaborating with or creating your own virtual influencer could be cost-effective in the long run. As a creator, for someone who prefers to take a back seat or maybe doesn’t always want to be on camera, creating a virtual persona could be the answer.

We recently conducted an in-depth survey and created a report that explores the phenomenon of virtual influencers, and analyzed their emergence and impact. In this blog post, we’ll share some of our key findings and dive deeper into this world.

Some of the Most Popular Virtual Influencers

If you’re curious about virtual influencers, you will love some of the most popular ones we have included in our report.

Meet Miquela! Miquela Sousa is a virtual influencer that was created by the startup Brud. She gained popularity on Instagram and is known for her fashion-forward posts, activism, and collaborations with real-world brands. She has an impressive 2.7 Million followers on Instagram and has partnered with major brands like Prada, Dior, Calvin, BMV, and many more.


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A post shared by Miquela (@lilmiquela)

Then we have @fit_aitana. Aitana López was created by the Spanish AI modeling agency The Clueless. She is Spain’s first-ever AI influencer. Rubeñ Cruz, the founder of The Clueless, has expressed that the creation of Aitiana was to overcome friction involved with real-life influencers, such as cancellations and disagreements on campaigns. According to a report from Business Insider, Aitana earns up to $11,000 per month working as an AI model.

Now it’s time to meet Lu do Magalu @magazineluiza who has an impressive social media presence on various platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, Threads, YouTube, and a blog. Did you know that she was created in 2003? Initially, she was created as a shopping voice for an e-commerce website. She then started her YouTube journey in 2009. She is one of 35 virtual influencers verified by Instagram.

If there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that these 3 virtual influencers have mastered the art of audience building and influencing purchasing decisions.

Our Survey Methodology

In a digital age where Virtual Influencers have become household names, their impact on social media and marketing strategies cannot be overstated. As these digital personas seamlessly integrate into our online experiences, it's evident that they wield significant influence.

Our Virtual Influencers Survey Methodology

To gather our research, we surveyed a total of 1000 participants in the United States. The age range of our participants was between 16 and 54+, which is important to gather data from various market segments and demographics. Our survey is fresh off the press as it was conducted in April 2024.

Virtual Influencers Exclusive Survey and Infographic

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What People Know About Virtual Influencers

Would you be surprised if we told you that only 21% of our survey respondents claimed unfamiliarity with virtual influencers? That’s right, this means that 79% of our participants have some degree of knowledge on the topic.

With just 21% of responders claiming unfamiliarity with Virtual Influencers, it's evident that these digital avatars have made significant inroads into contemporary consciousness.

How familiar are responders with virtual influencers in 2024

What are the levels of familiarity we discovered in our survey?

  • 16.5% very familiar
  • 16.8% moderately familiar
  • 21.9% somewhat familiar
  • 23.7% slightly familiar
  • 21.1% Not familiar at all

In addition to confirming their familiarity with this concept of influencers, 53% of our respondents confirmed following at least one virtual influencer.

What are the reasons our survey respondents follow virtual influencers?

  • 49% follow them out of curiosity about the technology and creativity behind virtual influencers.
  • 36% follow them for the entertainment value they offer through storytelling, humor, or drama.
  • 30% follow them to get a unique perspective from the personalities of virtual influencers.

What are the reasons our survey respondents are not following virtual influencers?

  • 37% of responders report a lack of interest in virtual influencers and their content.
  • 32% of responders prefer real relationships. No surprises here, as it can take a while for the market to adapt and accept new technology.
  • 30% of responders express skepticism, but we believe this figure will decrease overtime.
  • 32% of responders 18-24 years old reported that their interests align with other types of content or influencers.

On which platforms do our survey respondents follow virtual influencers?

The popularity of Virtual Influencers is driven by a multitude of reasons, ranging from curiosity about the technology and creativity behind their creation to the perception of authenticity and trustworthiness.

Where Do Responders Follow Virtual Influencers in 2024?

  • YouTube takes the lead with 59%
  • TikTok in second place with 56%
  • Followed by Instagram and Twitch at 51% and 18%

In addition, more than 8% of responders reported following Virtual Influencers on other platforms including Facebook and X.

How Open-Minded Are Consumers

How Likely Are Responders to Trust a Product Advertised by a Virtual Influencer?

How Likely Are Responders to Trust a Product Advertised by a Virtual Influencer?

The response we received in regard to questions that would put on display the level of trust that various consumers have towards virtual influencers was positive.

  • 15% of responders rank their trust of products advertised by virtual influencers a 7 out of 10.
  • 43.5% of responders have never made a purchase influenced by the recommendation or endorsement of a virtual influencer, but 27% shared that they will potentially do so in the near future.
  • 33.5 % of our respondents said virtual influencers would be most effective at promoting technology and gadget products.

We weren’t surprised by this last figure since virtual influencers embody the advancement of technology.

In addition, 28.8% believe they would be effective at promoting fashion, 36% gaming, 32.7% beauty and cosmetics, and 21.5% entertainment. Miquela Sousa is a great example of a virtual influencer who would fit in many of these categories, including beauty and cosmetics as well as entertainment.

For our survey respondents, transparency is key.

34% of responders ages 45-54 reported their top disclosure option as video introductions, whereas the majority of all other age groups surveyed selected social media bios as their top pick.

How Do Responders Think Virtual Influencers Should Disclose Their Artificial Nature to Their Audience?

  • 36% believe that AI and virtual influencers need to disclose their AI nature in their social media profiles and bios.
  • 34% of respondents aged between 45 and 54 reported their top disclosure option as video introductions, whereas the majority of all other age groups surveyed selected social media bios as their top pick.

In either case, it’s clear that people want transparency and we think this is a good thing. It shows consumers are open-minded about virtual influencers and are adapting to new technological introductions as well as the growing change in the influencer marketing industry.

The Future of Virtual Influencers

Virtual influencers aren’t aren’t going away, and at the same time, they are not going to replace the need for human connection, building community, and trust. Sure, it may shift the dynamics of how we leverage influencer marketing in the future, but we see this as more opportunity for both brands and creators.

Virtual influencers offer brands a level of control and flexibility that human influencers often can’t. When we’re dealing with celebrities or, well, human influencers, there is always a risk of dealing with online scandals and such. A minimal risk, but it’s still there.

There is also more control with virtual influencers. This makes it easier to ensure that collaborations have a guaranteed level of brand consistency. This also helps minimize reputational damage and potential online controversy.

There is also something to be said about brands that choose to build or work with virtual influencers. It shows an open mind, a brand that embraces change, forward-thinking, and openness to welcome whatever the marketing world throws at them. Whether you believe in the world of artificial intelligence or not, we’re not the only ones who would tell you that you’ll need to adapt and keep an open mind in the years to come if you want your brand to stand out.

Being open to change doesn’t mean giving up what’s been working for you or giving up working with your favorite influencers; it simply means keeping an eye on the pulse of changes and also welcoming new ideas to the table.

We understand that the rise of virtual influencers also means a clear need for transparency in the augmented reality and artificial intelligence world and we agree. And as mentioned, our survey respondents also believed that transparency is important, with 35.66% believing AI and virtual influencers should disclose their artificial nature in their social media bio. Brands need to ensure they have clear processes in place that also ensure compliance with various legislative bodies and establish transparency with their online communities.

We’re excited about the future ahead that includes both human and virtual influencers and perhaps a world where we will see a rise in collaborations between both!

Kickstart your influencer journey now

Partner with The Influencer Marketing Factory to leverage our extensive network of premium influencers. Streamline your campaign management from inception to conclusion, and attract your desired audience with compelling and engaging content.