Meta influencers new marketing rage

Dec 13, 2022
Meta influencers new marketing rage

‘Dream chaser, model and traveller’, reads the Instagram bio of Kyra, a new influencer in town. She’s a 21-year-old Mumbai-based model who is fashionable, fitness conscious and is gaining a strong foothold in the influencer marketing space. Since her debut on Instagram in January this year, in a short span of time, she has collaborated with top brands like boAt, appeared on a magazine cover and has even had a shoot in Jaipur.

What makes her stand apart from other influencers is that she exists on the metaverse. But Kyra is not alone. There’s an army of robots populating the metaverse, taking over the influencer marketing space. This development comes even as on one hand the government struggles to put in place norms for influencer marketing, while on the other, social media platforms like Twitter face the challenges of bot accounts. However, despite the challenges, the army of meta influencers is growing across the globe.

Kyra, who calls herself India’s first meta influencer, is the Indian counterpart of Rozy, Korea’s first virtual influencer; LA-based 19-year-old robot Miquela, the world’s first digital supermodel Shudu, another South Korean digital creator from the metaverse — Lucy — Puma’s creation Maya and online luxury discount site Yoox’s creation Daisy.

As banking, shopping and even eating and exploring goes on the metaverse, influencer marketing was an obvious turn. Virtual influencers entail 3D human-like figures on social media, created for influence. The engagement brought by social media accounts of meta-influencers is also often higher than human social media influencers, as the former fascinates audiences.

Kyra, who was the brainchild of open influencer marketing platform TopSocial India, which is four years old now, is one among their many planned creations. Himanshu Goel, business head, TopSocial India & project lead, Kyra, said since 2022, they have completely shifted focus to virtual humans and influencers. “We would rather call them virtual humans than bots, as they have their own personality and stories. AI will be a big part in all aspects of our lives. There are a lot of technologies being developed to make computer-generated imagery and content creation easier. We have already seen the massive progress tools like Dall-E 2 (an AI system that can create realistic images and art from a description in natural language) have made,” he said.

Goel said they are working on their next virtual influencer and that there is a lot of creative potential with these virtual humans. “We would like to tell interesting stories and create great content just like real-life influencers. Kyra is an explorer at heart and loves to travel. She has already travelled to Jaipur, done yoga in the mountains and created reels on the beach. We want to partner with brands where we can tell a great story. For example, with boAt headphones, we saw Kyra travel to a futuristic world.” He added that they are working on the tech side to make Kyra semi-autonomous, which will enable her to interact with her audience on her own.

Recently, to accompany Kyra, TopSocial India introduced another meta-influencer — Sravya, a 26-year-old from Palakkad, Kerala. Goel said she is a polyglot and speaks Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada. Sravya has her own story too. According to Goel, she had been managing Kyra behind the scenes for the past few months and finally decided to build her own social media presence. Within a day, she received 2,000 followers, which are growing in numbers.

Kyra takes a team to function. Apart from George Tharian, the group CEO at Topline Consulting Group India, Ashish Bisht is the design head for Kyra who designs surreal landscapes and exploration with virtual 3D garments, with Vaishnavi Balav as the lead stylist for Kyra.

As for investment, Goel shares that the cost can vary greatly depending on the 3D requirement in a brand campaign. “Currently, the cost can be on par or greater than an actual influencer. We are constantly working on newer technology that will surely bring the costs down in the future while improving the quality of the visuals. We are using the latest 3D software to create and maintain Kyra.”

The impact of virtual influencers on the real influencer-marketing scene is yet to be witnessed. Whether they would gain more popularity than real influencers and what policies would entail is a matter of discussion. Masoom Minawala, global influencer, entrepreneur and investor, said it is exciting to see how technology is pushing the content creation industry forward, and creating a world without boundaries and that virtual and real influencers can co-exist. She doesn’t see meta influencers as competition for real ones. “While meta influencers are a powerful tool of marketing for brands, real-world influencers can create a digital extension of themselves too. In the end, it all boils down to authenticity,” she said.

GenZ digital content creator Ronit Ashra seconds Minawala. “The influencer community is extremely intelligent; I am sure that instead of differentiating meta influencers from us, we are going to end up integrating them in our own community. As a niche content creator, I don’t think the kind of content I create will be something that a meta influencer can replicate. I like to believe that I have made a distinct position for myself in the content creation community, one that my audience believes that I deserve to hold,” he said.

As per the Influencer Marketing Report 2022 by, an influencer marketing platform, the influencer marketing industry’s value is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25% over the next five years to reach Rs 2,200 crore by 2025, from Rs 900 crore in 2021. The report was based on over 500 surveys conducted with Indian content creators and marketers between April and June this year.

This would mean guidelines in place for influencers and creators. In September this year, Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) chief commissioner Nidhi Khare shared that to bring accountability and promote responsible advertising, the government will introduce rules to regulate social media influencers, including penalising them by as much as Rs 50 lakh for failing to disclose financial ties with brands.

Goel shared that they follow all the influencer marketing guidelines for Kyra. “Virtual/meta influencers have to follow the same guidelines. There might be additional guidelines issued further as they get more popular,” he said.

Vaibhav Pathak, co-founder of TGB Troop, an influencer marketing agency, said as the internet and its dynamics change every single day, they are beginning to witness a phenomenon that would not have been even imagined a few years back. However, he disagrees that meta influencers would replace humans. “The introduction of Kyra was definitely a step forward in the world of technology and entertainment. But I believe no new technology will be able to compete with the power of human connection. The kind of influence people, their personalities and their beliefs have on people as well as the community they build is incomparable.”

He added, “We might feel that they are going to compete with real content creators, but it is only to a certain extent. There is no replacement for expertise. The type of interaction and engagement that a real content creator can provide to their audience is completely different from that of a meta content creator. For those who take this change positively, it is only going to prove to be a push. It will only push real content creators to keep up, focus and create what they are best at. It might help us differentiate real content from the clutter.”

Source: financialexpress