Merchandising/Marketing/Retailing: Management

How humanized virtual influencers engage users: A comparative case study of three virtual influencers

Authors
  • Terry Haekyung Kim (University of Minnesota)
  • Hyunjoo Im (University of Minnesota)
  • Naan Ju (Hanyang University)

Abstract

Humanized virtual influencers (HVIs) are increasingly generating content, interacting with followers, and collaborating with brands in advertisements. Drawing from anthropomorphism and the trans-parasocial relation framework, this study aims to uncover factors contributing to user engagement with HVIs (i.e., likes and comments) by analyzing popular social media posts and how HVIs present themselves to their audience. Using a case study approach, three HVIs were examined. The findings reveal that increased engagement is linked to HVIs' posts involving brand collaborations, their appearances in real-life events and interactions with real individuals, and their personal, emotional, and controversial content. Moreover, the top 5 posts garnering the most comments and likes for each HVI contain content of high informational value and showcase the HVIs' intimate, personal, and emotional experiences. This study suggests that HVIs should forge emotional connections with users through convincing and personal stories to foster deeper engagement.

Keywords: Virtual influencer, anthropomorphism, engagement, trans-parasocial relation framework

How to Cite:

Kim, T. H., Im, H. & Ju, N., (2024) “How humanized virtual influencers engage users: A comparative case study of three virtual influencers”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 80(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/itaa.17152

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Published on
21 Jan 2024
Peer Reviewed