How do virtual influencers now earn 9X more than us?

New study data suggests AI generated influencers are earning up to £26,700 per post. What does this mean for the content creator arena?

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Virtual influencers can earn their creators nine times the average UK worker monthly salary from a single Instagram post, according to a recent study.

Data published by intelligent enterprise solutions provider delver into the earning potential of the top 60 human replica AI influencers, with the top content creator earning a whopping £26,700 per post

The top earner, virtual influencer Noonoouri, was recently given a record deal by Warner Music and has previously landed lucrative endorsement from brands like Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga.

The swiftness with which AI-generated content can be created paired with the high income prowess of virtual influencers can create an even more competitive market amongst human creators. What do virtual influencers tell us about the future of digital marketing?

What are virtual influencers?

AI and virtual influencers are digital personas created through artificial intelligence of computer software. Just like traditional influencers, they have gained immense popularity on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Given the big bucks at play and the versatility of working with an artificial human, virtual influencers have become a new viable strategy to pursue a career in content creation.

“If you do it right and do it well, I do see the potential in creators monetising their virtual influencer accounts,” Unsah Malik, leading social media and influence expert, tells Startups. “This is because it’s both a rarity and we’re seeing a growing, invested audience in this space.”

Despite being fully artificial, the same game rules as human influencing apply. Creators need to stay active, stick to a niche, start conversations, and find an audience to claim their share of the social media space.

The Hall of AI Influencer Fame

Results show that Lu do Magalu is the AI influencer with the highest earning potential – from a sponsored Instagram post, her creators can earn up to £26,700.

The AI influencer has been featured on the cover of Vogue Brazil was created as part of a promotion for iBlogTV in 2009. The account has seen 45 new posts in the past 30 days, meaning that if monetised, her creators could have made up to £1.2 million in a single month.

In second place comes Miquela Sousa, with an estimated earning potential of £12,900 per Instagram post. The creators have secured collaborations with brands like BMW and Samsung, as well as a controversial Calvin Klein ad where Bella Hadid was accused of queer baiting because she shared a kiss with the virtual influencers.

Besides lucrative brand deals, virtual influencers are also using their platform to campaign on social issues. Leya Love, the third highest-earning influencer, blends digital modelling with environmental advocacy in her posts. She’s even a co-author in the best seller ‘Life Values: When Dreams Become True’.

The future of content creation

These digital avatars that captivate millions of adoring fans draws plenty of question marks around the future of content creation.

They have clear benefits when it comes to online engagement and marketing – they don’t age, they’re free from real-life scandals, and can be programmed to speak in any language.

While they might be logistically easier to ‘represent’, virtual influencers pose a critical transparency issue. As artificial intelligence gets sharper and smarter, it will become harder to distinguish between virtual and real human influencers. In an advertising context, it remains unclear what disclosure rules will apply to keep fair competition in the social media space and uphold honesty with users.

However, analysts predict that for now the relationship between virtual and human influencers will be one of coexistence rather than total replacement.

What is undoubtedly the case is that the influencing market is becoming more competitive. To stay ahead of the curve, digital content creators need to continue to innovate and integrate virtual influencers into their competition analysis.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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