- Virtual influencers could charge up to nine times the average UK worker’s monthly salary for a single Instagram post.
- Virtual influencers are now teaming with major brands like BMW and Balenciaga, marking a significant shift in influencer marketing.
- One virtual influencer, Noonoouri, was recently given a record deal by Warner Music.
In a recent investigation, conducted by SAP.com, a provider of intelligent enterprise solutions, a study has identified the virtual and AI influencers with the highest potential earnings per Instagram post. The study focused on the earnings potential of the top 60 'human replica' AI influencers: those crafted to emulate human appearances rather than adopting animal or cartoon-like characteristics.
“The findings of this study reveal the significant influence and earning potential of AI-generated influencers. As these new-age influencers gain followers, they become an increasingly important aspect of social media marketing that brands cannot overlook.
Advancements in AI image generation are democratizing the field of influencer marketing. Now, virtually anyone can create a digital avatar, which opens up opportunities for brand collaborations that were once exclusive to traditional celebrities and early social media influencers”, says a spokesperson from SAP.
SAP study to evaluate the financial landscape of Instagram influencers
AI and virtual influencers represent digital entities created using artificial intelligence or computer software. Similar to conventional influencers, these virtual personas have garnered considerable popularity on platforms such as Instagram, translating into substantial financial gains for their creators.
Through a meticulous analysis of their follower counts and leveraging an Instagram earnings calculator, the study provided estimates for potential earnings per sponsored post, offering insights into the lucrative domain of virtual influencer marketing.
Digital influencers and their earning potential
The results show that Lu do Magalu is the AI influencer with the highest earning potential from a sponsored Instagram post at more than £26,200, around the same as the price of a new 2023 Peugeot 2008.
@magazineluiza, featured on Vogue Brazil's cover, originated in a 2009 promotion for iBlogTV by Magazine Luize. With 80 Instagram posts in the last 30 days, potential earnings soar to £2.09 million.
Ranking second, @thalasya_ commands £4,200 per sponsored post, identifying as the first Indonesian digital human character. Despite a 26-month hiatus, potential earnings reach £109,200—equivalent to an average Indonesian worker's 20-year earnings.
Joint fourth, @leyalovenature, a creation of Cosmiq Universe AG, could earn £4,200 per sponsored post. Blending digital modelling with environmental advocacy, Layla's seven posts in the last month could equate to £29,400.
In sixth place, @noonoouri, recognized for chic style and sustainability advocacy, could earn £4,000 per sponsored post, reaching an estimated £16,400—an amount taking the median-paid UK worker half a year to earn.
@lilmiquela, created by Trevor McFedries and Sara DeCou, doesn't rely solely on sponsored posts. A steady collaborator with brands like BMW and Samsung, Lil Miquela has become a key asset for their company Brud.