Are VTubers a Marketing Trend that Will Impact Video Content Creation?

Whether you’re a marketing professional or an avid YouTube watcher, you’ve no doubt noticed a recent uptick in videos starring animated avatars or cartoons instead of flesh-and-blood people. They’re VTubers, and they just may be the future of content creation as we know it. Here’s what you need to know to stay ahead of the game.

Updated: January 4, 2022
Are VTubers a Marketing Trend that Will Impact Video Content Creation?

Need content for your business? Find top writers on WriterAccess!

By now, just about everyone’s used to influencer culture being a thing.

Internet users are accustomed to seeing them in their social media feeds, and many even aspire to become influencers themselves one day. 

Businesses and companies of all types have embraced the many benefits of influencer marketing in recent years, as well.

Now there’s a new emerging influencer trend to be aware of — the rise of the VTuber. 

But what are VTubers, and how does VTubing work? And most importantly of all, is this trend merely a flash in the pan, or is it something modern marketers should take seriously and integrate into their ongoing branding campaigns? 

Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know.

    What is a VTuber?

    The term “VTuber” is short for “virtual YouTuber,” and VTubers are much like other video bloggers you may already be familiar with. 

    Some sit in front of the camera and chat about various things, including current events and personal points of view. Others play video games on camera or review products.

    But instead of appearing in front of the camera in their own likeness, VTubers use digital avatars.

    These avatars may be two-dimensional or three-dimensional. Some are hyper-realistic GCI likenesses, while others are more cartoon-like or resemble anime characters.

    Using an avatar opens up a video blogger’s options for how and in what context they’d like to appear on camera and share their content. 

    Some go the VTuber route for a fun change of pace, while others see it as a terrific, new way to stay anonymous. 

    But whatever the reason, it’s undeniable that VTubers are red hot right now, and their viewers just can’t get enough of them.

    A print from the channel The Virtual Reality Show

    What are the Origins of the VTuber Trend?

    Although many are only recently hearing about VTubing for the first time, it’s actually been around for over a decade. 

    It all started in 2011 with London blogger Ami Yamato.

    Like many other YouTubers, Yamato used the platform to share various things, including traditional vlogs, product reviews, original sketches, and parodies. 

    However, her then-groundbreaking use of a virtual avatar captured the imaginations of YouTube watchers everywhere, starting a new trend that still shows no signs of going out of style.

    It was only a matter of time before someone else decided to follow in Yamato’s footsteps, which happened in 2015. 

    The honors go to none other than Mattel, the toy company behind the iconic Barbie doll line. In fact, Barbie herself was at the center of Mattel’s efforts to leverage the VTubing craze for marketing purposes.

    Barbie vlogged about many of the same things other YouTubers did, including pop culture trends and important social concepts (like racism, to name just one). She even took part in some popular YouTube challenges.

    Before long, an influx of additional individuals and companies jumped on the bandwagon, as well. 

    For instance, Kizuna AI hit the scene in 2016, becoming the first person actually to use the term “VTuber.” 

    She was also the first to bring the idea of VTubing to a worldwide audience. Before long, top vloggers who already had large followings also began to dabble in VTubing, and the rest is history.

    How Does VTubing Work?

    It’s important to note that VTubers aren’t entirely fabricated creations like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. 

    Behind each VTuber avatar, no matter how whimsical it may appear on screen, is a real person mirroring and controlling the character’s movements.

    This is most often accomplished via the same motion capture technology sometimes used to generate CGI characters for movies.

    Doing so allows famous VTubers like Kizuna to do so much more than seamlessly create videos for their adoring audiences. 

    It also makes it possible for her to interact with fans in real-time, participate in concerts, give interviews, and more.

    Naturally, VTubers also have to voice the characters they create. Some will use their own voices, especially in cases where the avatar is merely an extension of their real identity. 

    However, others elect to distort or otherwise disguise their voices using technology, the better to be and stay completely anonymous.

    Some VTubers, like major companies or agencies dedicated to the medium, really do use movie industry-level equipment and software to keep their streams filled with plenty of content. 

    Nevertheless, readily accessible software options like FaceRig or VTuber Maker make it possible for anyone to become a VTuber if they like.

    How Can You Use VTubers in Your Marketing Strategy?

    Naturally, there’s one question on every marketer’s mind right now. 

    Is VTubing just another passing trend, or is it something that’s genuinely going to change the face of content creation throughout 2022 and beyond? 

    So far, all signs point to the likelihood that VTubing is here to stay.

    • Although the trend feels new to those just learning about it, VTubing has been around since 2011.
    • It’s grown in popularity and use ever since it was first introduced, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
    • According to a recent YouTube report, nearly half of the platform’s users have said they’re open to viewing and following content by virtual or fictional content creators.

    And VTubing is just one trend that’s in line with a much larger movement — the blurring of the lines that separate reality from the world of AI. 

    In other words, the medium has a lot of potential thanks to the wealth of possibilities it presents, meaning it would be a smart move to integrate it into your marketing plans now. 

    Here are some pointers for doing precisely that:

    1. Establish who your target market is

    Successful influencer partnerships, on YouTube or elsewhere, start with a clear picture of who your target audience is from a marketing standpoint. 

    What were the results of past marketing efforts, especially any that involved video?

    Consider what topics and styles yielded the highest engagement rates, and keep that in mind when choosing VTubers to approach. 

    You’ll find today’s VTubers cover a wide range of subjects and tones in their videos, so finding the right fit for your brand may be easier than you think. 

    You just need to know what you’re looking for.

    2. Prioritize fit, not follower count

    Although you definitely want to choose an established VTuber with an engaged following, keep in mind that follower count isn’t everything. 

    In fact, there are some real advantages to partnering with micro-influencers instead of bigger macro-influencers with larger audiences, including higher loyalty levels and engagement rates.

    Take the time to find exactly the right fit for your brand. Don’t ignore qualifications like follower count, but focus more intently on whether you can see the VTuber gelling with your business goals. 

    Are they a good fit for your developing brand image? Is their audience the type of audience your products and services were designed for?

    3. Create an organized system for tracking progress

    YouTube influencer marketing typically involves video-embedded links to the products, services, or website you’re looking to promote. 

    However, many marketers fail to consider how they’ll track how well each portion of their campaign progresses. Custom links are perhaps the easiest way to do this.

    Create a different custom tracking link for each video you ask your influencers to create. This makes it easy to keep your results organized and assess which of the VTubers you partner with (as well as which content approaches) are the most effective. 

    Then, use what you learn to determine which influencers and content styles you’d like to move forward with.

    In addition, coupon codes are a great way to keep track of conversions that might otherwise fall through the cracks. 

    Keep in mind that many YouTube users open additional browser windows to search for information on products or brands that capture their curiosity. 

    Many also watch the content via interfaces (like Apple TV) that make it difficult to impossible to click embedded links.

    Dedicated coupon codes — one for each piece of content — make it easier to determine whether additional sales came about because of one of your influencer videos.

    4. Get creative with future campaigns

    Once you’re entirely comfortable with the idea of VTuber marketing and have a better idea of how your audience responds to their unique content, you can start getting more creative. VTubing works as well as it does because it’s groundbreaking — different, fresh, and engaging in a unique way.

    In other words, it’s the perfect medium for daring marketers who aren’t afraid to take risks and generate some buzz

    Research different trend-setting approaches to brand building, put your heads together with the rest of your creative team and see what you come up with. 

    You just might hit on something incredible that keeps people talking about your brand for years to come in all the right ways.

    Wrap Up: Step into the Future of Digital Marketing with VTubers

    Successful marketing campaigns are about more than just creating great products and trusting that they’ll sell themselves.

    It’s about creating a powerful brand identity and using your marketing material to weave a compelling story around your company. 

    VTubers are part of the future of digital marketing, so a forward-thinking marketing campaign should include them.

    It’s also to your benefit to learn more about the emerging role of AI influencers in marketing, in general. 

    Check out our comprehensive report, learn everything you need to know and get ready to take a giant step forward into the future.


    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Human Crafted Content

    Find top content freelancers on WriterAccess.

    Shannon Hilson Rock author vector
    Rock Content Writer

    Subscribe to our blog

    Sign up to receive Rock Content blog posts

    Rock Content WriterAccess - Start a Free Trial

    Order badass content with WriterAccess. Just as we do.

    Find +15,000 skilled freelance writers, editors, content strategists, translators, designers and more for hire.

    Want to receive more brilliant content like this for free?

    Sign up to receive our content by email and be a member of the Rock Content Community!

    Talk to an expert and enhance your company’s marketing results.

    Rock Content offers solutions for producing high-quality content, increasing organic traffic, building interactive experiences, and improving conversions that will transform the outcomes of your company or agency. Let’s talk.