How would you feel if we told you that some influencers are earning 200 times more than the average Brit? What if we told you that these influencers aren’t even real?
‘Virtual influencers’ – also known as robot or CGI influencers – are on the rise. They’re fictional computer generated ‘people’ who have the realistic characteristics, features, and personalities of humans. They are becoming a real force to be reckoned with in the influencer marketing industry, taking social media by storm. And with more and more emerging on Instagram every week, and brands queuing up to work with them, could this be the end for human influencers?
Recently there has been lots of buzz over how much human influencers make, but just how much are robot influencers making per post and how much could they potentially earn per year? The team at OnBuy sought to find out by running each of the top virtual influencers through Influencer Marketing Hub’s Sponsored Post Money Calculator.
Who are the highest earning robot Instagram influencers?
Boasting an impressive 2.5 million followers and 827 posts on Instagram, the famous Lil Miquela (a.k.a. Miquela) claims first place. According to our analysis, Miquela earns around £6,550 per sponsored post on her popular Instagram account and could potentially earn £8,960,000 million per year – a staggering 252 times more than the average UK salary!
The second biggest robot influencer on the scene is Noonoouri. Created by German graphic designer Joerg Zuber, Noonoouri’s main aim is to raise awareness for issues surrounding the environment, equality, and animal cruelty. If that doesn’t prove her impact, she’s also a model and has worked with Dior, Kim Kardashian, and more! Her 362,000 followers and 988 posts means she is estimated to earn over £2 million a year and rake in around £1,382 per sponsored post.
Japanese virtual influencer, Imma, claims third place. Interested in Japanese culture, film and art, her kawaii posts reach 237,000 Instagram users and could earn her an impressive half a million per year (£498,303.44) – 13 times more than the average UK salary – and £908 per post!
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Many CGI influencers come with their own fictional background, just like average human influencers. According to Miquela’s creator, she has an ongoing spat with Bermuda who enters in fourth place. An impressive marketing stunt in 2018 saw Miquela’s account hacked by another ‘woman’ who told everyone to follow @bermudaisbae if they wanted to discover “the truth”. Since then, Bermuda has gained an impressive 266,000 followers, and as a result is estimated to earn £440,000 per annum from Instagram and earns just over £1,000 per post.
As Bermuda’s on-off boyfriend and Miquela’s friend from day one, Blawko also makes an appearance in fifth place. His ‘bad boy’ persona and stylish photoshoots could rake in more than £150,000 a year – 3 times more than most of us Brits!
Sixth and seventh place go to Shudu (@shudu.gram) and Ami Yamato (@amiyamato) with impressive potential yearly earnings of £96,000 and £53,000 respectively.
However, just like Mabô in twentieth place, most of the CGI creations on Instagram are still in their infancy and haven’t hit the mainstream yet. With just 255 followers and 17 posts to her name, our analysis found that she will only earn £17.36 per year for being a virtual influencer – £8,960,632.07 less than Lil Miquela in the top spot! But if Miquela’s interest is anything to go by, it will be interesting to see her potential reach in a couple of years.
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OnBuy sought to find out which virtual influencer earns the most by running each of the top virtual influencers through Influencer Marketing Hub’s Sponsored Post Money Calculator. This data was collected on 05/08/2020.
To find out how much more virtual influencers earn compared to the average person in the UK, we compared each robot influencer’s earnings to the average UK salary (£35,423).
*This blog is not an endorsement of or #adv(ertising) for any of the influencers included – it is for research purposes ONLY.
*'Earnings per post' means per sponsored post. Influencer Marketing Hub assumes that every post so far per account is sponsored when it calculates earnings - as this is an unlikely scenario, we reiterate that the yearly earnings calculated from this are estimates and the maximum they could earn.