Can you guess the gist of the conversation above?🙂Yes, it’s now possible to communicate entirely with stickers. Stickers are like emojis on steroids, with the ability to get across a sentence or phrase. They are becoming more and more frequent, whether we speak about the stickers you slap on your lunch-box or stickers in messages. Stickers are fun! They make people feel themselves like kids again, happily engrossed in sticker books, so colorful and enjoyable.
But stickers aren’t solely for kids’ coloring books and toy shovels. Free stickers from brands are now in high demand in the fashion industry. They convey an affinity with a label at a fraction of the cost of buying its goods. Not to mention the popularity of stickers for laptops, and not just among the developers.
And, boy, what a huge buzz there is on I Voted stickers and their ubiquity in social media. Some Canadians find themselves distressed because of not receiving the stickers after voting.
Hey, #electionscanada, where the heck are the stickers?! If You vote, you should get a sticker! What other reason is there to vote?!
I mean, sure, I want to uphold the tenets of democracy AND have my say in the governance of my country, but also… STICKERS!
— Dennis Heaton (@DennisHeaton2) October 21, 2019
Stickers in messages are also gaining popularity. Before people would only call and text, then just text. Now there are messengers. They are free, more convenient, with wider functionality. Communication has developed into something new and exciting.
What are digital stickers
Stickers in messages are small illustrations that are either free or available in packages for a small single fee. In Telegram, for instance, there are no stickers to buy – they are all available for free. In fact, there are tons of them for all occasions with characters ranging from Totoro and Deadpool to Unicorn Zombies and Angela Merkel.
Stickers came from Asia, popularized by the Korean-developed mobile messaging app Line in 2011. That’s no wonder: quickly choosing an emotional picture is easier than typing messages on the small screen with hieroglyphs. Other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Path followed Line’s steps by introducing stickers of their own, with WhatsApp stickers made available only last year. Various companies devoted to stickers emerged as well, with design studios starting to offer their services.
it’s not very different to whatsapp, it just has more stickers that you use in every situation. literally every conversation no matter how formal seems to get a cute sticker, so they are everywhere. i use a lot of pusheen. pic.twitter.com/ubYvkpog5v
— chanom kaimook (@ElviraXMontana) November 10, 2019
Stickers are a serious business
The Economist claims that today’s teenagers give would rather spend their free time socializing on messengers than surfing social networks. WhatsApp users, for instance, devote nearly 200 minutes of their lives each week to using the service. It’s not surprising then that other large companies like Facebook are putting their faith in messaging.
A study conducted by Harris Poll reported that about a third of millennials (that is, people ranging in age from 18 to 34) who use graphic items like stickers and emojis admit that images are way ahead of words in their ability to communicate what the think and feel. I’m a millennial and I love stickers! My favorite sticker packs include Pusheen, Piske & Usagi, and Opi. Oh, and I love Space Cats and use them quite often. How many people are there like me? A lot. Enough to make a profit for Line and Snapchat, WeChat and Viber, Telegram and Facebook Messenger. Just on Facebook Messenger, the number of stickers exchanged daily exceed 380 million.
Stickers are not just cute, but they also generate income. For instance, Line makes over $270 million a year from selling stickers.
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.
Why people use stickers
To convey an emotion
Texts can be boring and they sometimes fail to carry the exact meaning of what we’re feeling at the moment. A sticker adds flavor to the conversation. IRL, for example, you can communicate sass and confidence with a gesture or intonation. On messengers, a bossy cat with sunglasses will do it for you. Stickers make communication more personal. Images help get the vibe and feel your emotional state more deeply. When there are not enough words to describe a complex feeling or an ambiguous emotion, send an image.
To get quicker
Sometimes we want to share our thoughts or emotions immediately, but there is neither the time nor patience to type a lengthy message. And if you are in a hurry commuting or doing groceries, this task becomes impossible. It is easier to share emotions with a picture than to describe your emotional state typing words. For example, when my friends are waiting for me and I’m still not ready to go out, I can send them a “Nearly ready” cute pic without distracting.
Stickers are an excellent way of expressing yourself. By wrapping your mood into a sticker, you create your own unique communication style. Pictures enhance the effect of exciting stories about your vacation or a funny incident that happened on the way home and make them personal. We all have our tastes in music, fashion, so why should we have to use the same standard emoji to communicate.
By the way, some messengers let users make their own custom personal stickers. Viber announced this possibility this September, and Telegram has had the same capability for more than five years. Along with Apple’s memoji added to most iPhones with the introduction of iOS 13. You can also use them in WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
Stickers as a marketing tool
Statistics say that the average smartphone owner uses 30 apps each month. Messengers and social media apps are among the ones people use the most on a daily basis. Stickers are an ideal option for native promotion for brands because they work virally. Even last year virility was sometimes considered as a questionable technique, but when done right, it actually works. After downloading the sticker pack, a person can use it as many times as they want, sending dozens, or even hundreds of branded stickers. And stickers as a marketing tool have one big advantage – they are non-intrusive. Not like banner-ads or pop-up messages. The ads contained in the messages we receive from our friends or relatives work much better than received from a random source. For example, every third Viber user sends stickers on a daily basis. The potential reach is incredibly large.
Many companies like Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and Sephora have been preferring brand stickers for messengers over emojis. Last year Hasbro has teamed with Quidd to create, distribute and sell digital stickers.
Some of the sticker campaigns aim at interacting with a loyal audience of the brand (for example, Disney stickers). Others are created to draw attention to yet unknown companies or projects. Event promoting works as well, like elections or a release of an artist’s new album.
And it doesn’t have to be a glamorous business. For example, a 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 to use in messengers and in social media channels. In RE/MAX, they claim that their stickers are a fun way for the agents to continue to engage with homebuyers. They help to promote strong customer engagement.
Here are a few tips in case you decide to diversify your marketing strategy with the help of messenger stickers. An efficient sticker pack contains the depiction of several primary emotions: joy, love, surprise, and others. Add stickers that describe the actions or states, like being busy, hugging, listening, etc. It’s worth adding typical phrases. How to stand out: many stickers are animated, and some make sounds.
Or you can simply hire a team of experienced designers and make them do all the thinking for you.
To wrap up
Visual communication is becoming more and more popular for mobile users who like to make connections via images. Stickers make it easier, quicker, brighter, more emotional.
Modern communication trends prove that the use of stickers will continue to grow. The global virtual goods market value is estimated to reach $189.76 B by 2025. Digital stickers are part of this market. Brands should pay attention to such a tool. A useful branded sticker pack can become an indispensable attribute of everyday communication and a powerful marketing instrument.