According to Statista, by the end of 2020 there were 6 billion people using messaging, keyboards and camera apps where expressiveness is a key user need. With over 20 billion emojis and stickers sent daily, it is safe to say that people love visually enhanced communication. Only on Facebook Messenger, the number of daily exchanged stickers exceed 380 million.
Due to the rapidly expanding need for digital communication among the world’s population, even further boosted by the current Covid-19 pandemic, visual messaging will become an extensively growing product category. Serving this general need, WOA’s personalized and animated 3D avatars will introduce the next evolutionary step in visual communication.
Visual communication additionally offers new options to fulfill marketing needs for brands since animated stickers, GIFs and emojis offer a new and more personal way to communicate or promote brand values on a global scale.
In the early days of emojis, symbols followed different encoding systems across different platforms. When Google and Apple standardized Unicode, they made it possible for the emoji to jump to global prominence. In its 2011 iPhone release, Apple introduced the first emoji keyboard long before vast user segments started using them. Today, there are currently over 250 branded emoji keyboards on the market.
Branded emojis are measured by the number of peer-to-peer shares. The peer-to-peer nature of content sharing in messaging is the clue which makes it such a powerful tool for marketers and brands. This inbuilt virality of stickers allows brands to spread their message quickly by organic reach and engagement of users. Therefore, the branded emojis and stickers sent in messaging between friends are the ultimate word of mouth vehicle to discover new products or convey company messages.
Emojis play to our visual preferences
Emojis add emotional nuance and texture to text-based, screen-mediated interactions. They introduce a whole new dimension to digital communication, and they play on some subtle psychological preferences. Researchers have found that the human brain responds similarly when looking at a smiley face, an online emoticon, and a real human face. Therefore, stickers, emojis or GIFs make communication more personal.
Texts can be boring, and they sometimes fail to carry the exact meaning of what we are feeling in a particular situation. Images help convey the vibe and feelings more accurately. Often there are not enough words to describe a complex feeling or an ambiguous emotion, or there is simply not the time nor patience to type a lengthy message. In this case it is easier to share emotions or stickers to describe an emotional state.
Emojis Can Bring in Profits, Too
Stickers are not just perceived as cute by the majority, but they also generate income. Messaging apps clear large profits by selling special packs of emojis. Emoji sales are a major revenue stream for LINE Inc., the popular messaging app, which sells packs of 20 to 40 emojis and stickers for $1.99. Line’s Creators Market, which allows users to design their own stickers, generated $75 million in the first year of its launch. Today LINE generates over $300 million a year through sticker sales. Even niche emoji products can be lucrative.
An example of the enormous potential was LINE’s cooperation with the Korean Pop group BTS. Together they sold 8 million sticker sets at a price of $1.99, thereby generating a revenue of $16 million within 10 days.
Use of Branded Stickers and Emojis in Marketing
New messaging apps present an opportunity for businesses to create a new revenue stream through sticker sales. This poses an enormous marketing potential since companies can now additionally monetize their brand’s IP in the form of emojis and stickers and strengthen their branding at the same time.
There are more than a billion messaging app users who are highly engaged daily, but it is not possible to target them with traditional mobile ad spending. The most lucrative way to reach them is by branded stickers, GIFs and emojis.
Apart from messenger platforms, numerous brands and celebrities have also been recognizing the importance of stickers. Disney uses them as part of their marketing campaigns, promoting every one of their movies with a fresh pack of stickers.
In a global campaign, 1.4 million Ford stickers were shared, generating 34 million impressions. The stickers cost Ford $2 for every 1,000 impressions.
The real estate company RE/MAX has launched a pack of free to use brand digital stickers. They are available on the App Store and Google Play ready to use in messengers and in social media channels. RE/MAX claims that their stickers are a new, fun way for the agents to engage with homebuyers. They help to promote strong customer engagement.
Some of the sticker campaigns aim at interacting with a loyal audience of the brand. Others are created to draw attention to yet unknown companies or projects.
Animated 3D avatars present the next generation stickers and emojis, stickers 2.0 so to say. Our proprietary chat application fits into the category of visual communication, creating an even stronger personal touch when sharing information. In-app avatar creation, based on images made or provided by the user, will be implemented as a feature and thereby further enhance personalized digital communication.