From cave paintings to poo emoji, humans have a strong emotional connection between ideas and pictures. EMarketer projects that more than a quarter of the world’s population will use consumer messaging apps by 2019 and a whole lot of people are enhancing their conversations with stickers. While thousands of stickers are available across multiple platforms, marketers are joining the conversation with branded images to share.
It should first be noted that stickers are not emoji. While emoji (those little, yellow faces and small icons) are a great way to express ideas, stickers are generally more versatile in their use. Representing characters and situations more than facial expressions alone, stickers can be added to message threads, placed on top of text, over other stickers and on top of photos. They can even be “peeled” and reused within a conversation. As with their emoji cousins, the sticker phenomenon got its start in Japan before catching on across the world.
Films are a natural choice for branded stickers and Dreamworks was the first to offer them on Facebook Messenger for Despicable Me 2. Since then, messages within the platform can be embellished with stickers from The Muppets, Lego Batman, Pixar movies and more. On Apple’s iMessage platform, fans can share stickers for Beauty and the Beast, Power Rangers and La La Land just to name a few.
Beauty and fashion are a popular theme among branded stickers, as well. Brands getting in on the action include (but are definitely not limited to) Sephora, Coach, L’Oréal, Dove and Nike.
Hungry? Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Burger King offer sticker packs for iMessage among others, for those times when only food will illustrate what’s on your mind.
A 2013 study by OnData found that 35 percent of US smartphone users added stickers daily to chat conversations and 74 percent had used them before. At 43 percent, Indonesia used stickers the most on a daily basis, while Brazil used them the least at 24 percent. WhatsApp was a top choice for many regions in the study, which has since been acquired by Facebook.
Earlier this month, Giphy announced that it wants to make it easier for artists to create animated sticker apps for the iMessage App Store. The company launched 12 stickers apps, each featuring animated sticker designs from a different artist. Each app costs 99 cents, with all proceeds going to the artist. Giphy also quietly acquired Imoji, TechCrunch reported, a startup that had developed a popular platform for creators to build and distribute custom-made stickers and emoji to the messaging masses.
Before you get the idea of marketing with stickers, consider this—Japanese mobile messaging app Line brings in more than $20 million per month selling sticker packs, which typically trade for one to two dollars for sets of 12-to-18, according to data from the company.
Although Apple has yet to release any sticker-related data, the company reports that over 76 percent of active iOS devices have switched over to iOS 10, which now offers stickers.