Should you include CGI or virtual influencers in your campaigns?


The future is now: CGI, or “Computer-Generated-Image” influencers are taking the digital marketing world by storm. These creators may not have a pulse – or you know, be an actual person – but their millions of followers and sky-high engagement rates are 100% real.

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself and your team about virtual influencers to determine whether or not it’s worth activating them for your social media marketing campaigns.

First, what exactly are Virtual Influencers?

CGI influencers – aka “virtual influencers” – are computer-generated personalities that exist on social media as if they’re living real lives. These influencers have real audiences following them, they partner with real brands, they promote real social causes, and even participate in the latest social media trends.

So how do these profiles do all of this if they’re bots?

An excellent example of how these CGI profiles operate can be found in Lil Miquela. Developed in 2016 by a Computer Software company called Brud, she’s a 19-year-old bot who cares about Black Lives Matter, promoted the MusiCares Covid-19 Relief Fund, and just tried the Nature’s Cereal trend on TikTok.

Lil Miquela (@lilmiquela) was one of the first CGI influencers to reach people’s feeds. Since her inception, she has partnered with notable brands; She’s apparently a regular on Tinder, wears The Exercise Dress by Outdoor Voices, and loves eating Cheetos.

Brands partner with these virtual creators just like they would with a real person. The difference is, CGI profiles are controlled by the software developers who create them.

What do CGI influencers mean for marketers?

Just like any actual human influencer, CGI influencers like Miquela have the ability to generate engagement from their audiences (and reach new ones) on social. So, if these influencers are generating real engagement from real audiences, they might be worth activating for your next relevant promotion.

Just as you’d evaluate a human influencer, you can analyze virtual influencers’ KPIs upfront using a tool like Tagger.

  • How authentic is her audience? (A.K.A. how many actual humans engage with her content)?
  • What is her growth rate?
  • What is her engagement rate?
  • What type of content performs best for her?
  • & so much more…

The Bottom Line: if your campaign is a fit, CGI influencers are worth a second look

If CGI influencers are reaching real audiences, generating real engagement, and driving real conversions for real brands, then they definitely shouldn’t be discounted.

Just because notable brands are activating them, though, doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for you. Do your research upfront. Know these influencers’ audience demographics, understand your KPIs, and make sure they embody your brand’s values.

At the end of the day, influencer marketing is most effective when it’s authentic, so if a CGI influencer authentically aligns with your brand, they may just be the perfect fit!

Want to see how Allegiant Media can help you identify the perfect virtual influencers to work with on your next campaign? Contact us for a demo and we’ll show you how.

This article was originally featured on on May 10, 2021.