Virtual influencer marketing: the good, the bad and the unreal

Simone Lykke Tranholm Mouritzen*, Valeria Penttinen, Susanne Pedersen

*Motsvarande författare för detta arbete

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review

15 Citeringar (Scopus)

Sammanfattning

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to conceptualize virtual influencer marketing, outlining the opportunities and dangers associated with using virtual influencers in social media marketing communications.

Design/methodology/approach
Drawing on the literature addressing influencer marketing and interactions between consumers and technologies, this paper introduces the landscape of virtual influencer marketing.

Findings
This paper distinguishes virtual influencers from real-life influencers and related digital characters. It further defines four unique elements attributed to virtual influencers: customization, flexibility, ownership and automation. Finally, it introduces a taxonomy for virtual influencers.

Research limitations/implications
The conceptualization of virtual influencer marketing contributes to advancing the understanding of the (virtual) influencer marketing landscape.

Practical implications
This paper suggests that brands need to carefully evaluate the different characteristics of virtual influencers, when deciding to leverage them in social media marketing communications. It also provides guidelines for working with virtual influencers in marketing campaigns targeted at consumers.

Social implications
This paper discusses ethical and social implications for brands and consumers that interact with virtual influencers in the encounter between reality and virtuality.

Originality/value
This paper makes three contributions. First, it conceptualizes virtual influencer marketing by defining and critically evaluating the key characteristics attributed to virtual influencers. Second, it offers a 2 × 2 taxonomy of virtual influencers, grounded in research on anthropomorphism and reality–virtuality. Third, this paper reflects on the opportunities and dangers associated with virtual influencer marketing, outlining avenues for future research.
OriginalspråkEngelska
Referentgranskad vetenskaplig tidskriftEuropean Journal of Marketing
ISSN0309-0566
DOI
StatusPublicerad - 08.06.2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Originalartikel i en vetenskaplig tidskrift

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  • 512 Företagsekonomi

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  • AoS: Konkurrensanalys och servicestrategi - Service och kundorienterad ledning
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