Just when I thought that I wasn’t getting enough of social media influencers – their ever inspiring posts about how to take a picture of a coffee mug, to how their day went at the beach – and oh let’s not forget their adorable cats. With that comes thousands (if not, millions) of eyes just salivating, wanting more and more content.
Well, thanks to this Pitchbook article, the next generation of influencers might not even be humans :|.
Now meet Lil Miquila! – @lilmiquela who has 1.3 million followers on Instagram. She’s 19 years old, lives in Los Angeles. @lilmiquela is a “virtual influencer” and the brainchild of a venture capital-backed company called Brud, which describes itself as a group of “problem solvers specializing in robotics, artificial intelligence and their applications to media businesses.”
According to Pitchbook, @lilmiquela and Brud brought in approximately $6 million in VC funding from Sequoia, BoxGroup, SV Angel and Ludlow Ventures. It’s unclear how that money will be spent; perhaps it will go toward building out more virtual influencer accounts, some “friends” for @lilmiquela.
Why is she worth so much? – There are many other companies that capitalize off the platform Instagram provides, so its not the first time someone would illustrate how much money one can make as an “influencer.” Brud, rather, has shown that you can manufacture that influence using technology. You don’t have to pay an actual person to post an Instagram story about how he or she just likes your products.
How do they do it? – The team at Brud decides what @lilmiquela “likes,” what she will promote on her Instagram and how she will behave online. Earlier this year, @lilmiquela posted an Instagram story advertising her partnership with Prada, undoubtedly a lucrative deal that had her advertising for the brand just in time for fashion week in February. It appeared to be one of the first official brand partnerships advertised on her feed.
What does all of this mean? – Brud is hacking influencer marketing, which has already disrupted traditional advertising streams in recent years. Influencer marketing is a new opportunity stemming from that Instagram usage; it has allowed skillful bloggers, who have themselves become valuable media properties and brand assets, to make a living off social media posts. This is mostly a result of the successes of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, though Instagram is at the center of the influencer movement specifically.
To continue reading this post, and learn more about the Influencer Economy, visit Pitchbook’s post: https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/under-the-influence-how-vcs-are-embracing-next-gen-advertising
Feature Image Courtesy: Chileanmate