Virtual YouTuber has been a popular term among the Japanese audience since 2016. Kizuna AI, the first virtual streamer, successfully garnered millions of viewers and subscribers since her debut on Youtube.
As the pandemic has limited everyone to their homes, this Vtuber trend is on the rise across the world. At present, there are more than 10,000 active virtual YouTubers. Brands are now looking for ways to include Vtubing into their buzz marketing activities.
What is a Virtual YouTuber?
A virtual YouTuber uses a CG avatar to represent themselves on video-sharing platforms. These 3D cartoons are the digital renditions of the technician behind the screen where a virtual streamer copies the movements and facial expressions in real-time.
These online personas create content like playing video games, singing, dancing, and chatting with their viewers. The virtual YouTubers pre-record or live stream on platforms like YouTube, Bilibili, and Twitch. Popular virtual streamers include CodeMiko, Kizuna AI, Ash_on_LoL, and Gawr Gura.
Why Every Brand Needs a Virtual Streamer?
Using virtual streamers brands can convey their message in an impactful way. Brands can tell a story around the character that resonates with the product. Customers feel more connected than ever because these avatars portray life-like movements and chat with them.
With technological advancement, AR and VR services have become affordable with 75% of top brands integrating VR into their content. When marketers introduce their products into virtual spaces, the communication with the audience becomes more interactive and personalized.
Another great advantage when using virtual YouTubers is that brands can make all the personality traits, attitudes, and values align with the brand’s philosophies. These realistic representations of brand personas help the audience understand them clearly and improve brand loyalty.
According to a study by Futurum Research, consumers revealed that the acceptance of AR and VR is becoming part of the consumer process. Therefore, brands must leverage the latest technology to meet the evolving demands and values of customers.
Brand communication is not one-way anymore. Brands can now employ or own virtual streamers to interact with their users. Vtubers and customers can have engaging conversations about products on the platforms.
Unlike human influencers, virtual YouTubers are fully immune to any scandals on social media. Therefore, brands have complete control over the looks, activities, and narrative of Vtubers.
Rise of the Metaverse
Virtual YouTubers in Marketing
Food brand Nissin promoted its Curry Meshi with Virtual Youtuber group, Hololive. Popular Vtubers, Ozora Subaru, Minato Aqua, and Usada Pekora promoted the product together with their singing on the Hololive channel.
SM entertainment’s latest girl group, Aespa, became the first-ever virtual K-pop group to debut. While the virtual members interact through online meetings, human members perform in offline events.
Netflix attempted to tap into the appeal of VTubers through N-ko. It is a sheep-human lifeform avatar. Netflix is using this virtual avatar to introduce anime shows available on its site in a bid to attract anime subscribers.
The virtual celebrity Kizuna AI appeared in endorsements for SoftBank Corporation. She also appeared at the release event of iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max with the event video later released on its Youtube Channel.
To promote tourism in an appealing way to younger viewers, the local government in Ibaraki, Japan appointed its first official virtual Youtuber. Hiyori Ibara, the spokesperson on Ibaraki TV, discusses the famous tourist spots in the area.
At a Kissa Laundry café, Vtuber Tsukino Mito joined the chemical and cosmetics company, Kao. Together they promoted the brand’s new color-safe bleach.
The Future of Virtual Youtubers in Content Creation
The Vtubing industry is expanding at an alarming rate. With developments in AR and VR, virtual avatars will become more humane. There may come a day where virtual streamers eclipse the real-life influencers. Thus, brands need to consider this rising trend while crafting their advertising messages to retain customer attention.