August 11, 2015 Nick Cicero

What the “Stickering” of Snapchat Means for their Future of Monetization

Snapchat introduced an awesome new feature in their latest update that allows users to add an unlimited amount of emojis on their Snaps. This “sticker-ization” of emojis comes with much celebration from the Snapchat community. Before, you could only use emojis inline with your text, limiting their use. Now you’re free to sticker up any Snap, making pretty much every photo you take a canvas for creation. 

We’re seeing an explosion of brands and social platforms building out these types additional creative elements for users over the past year. I’ll call it “Monetization by Asset Creation” and it screams #createdwith mindset. This can be seen better than anywhere else in the area of custom branded emoji keyboards, in fact emoji have become so popular that July 17 was named World Emoji Day.

Just a short list of the custom emoji campaigns that have been running: Comedy Central created emoji keyboard for Broad City, NBC did the same for the 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Live, Pepsi made one for the aforementioned Emoji Day, FX created one for the entire network including multiple shows like Archer, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Now the NFL is getting in the game for the upcoming season, the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jags just announced their own emoji keyboards.

Even Kim Kardashian has her own “Kimojis” in the works. 


Facebook, to their credit, has been selling stickers since 2013, and actually introduced this exact same stickering feature before Snapchat did in their mobile and messenger apps in February, in part to combat the growing popularity of Snapchat’s emojis and geofilters. You could say Facebook them to the punch on this feature, though I rarely see people use it. By comparison, I see emojis everywhere on Snapchat.

For Snapchat, a company who has been putting a significant amount of efforts into branded geofilters and curated stories as monetization avenues for brands, opening up this new stickering feature seems to me like a clear sign that there’s a financial future for Snapchat in creating branded elements for users.

Take for example, Line, the Japanese social network quickly gaining ground in the US. Their user-generated sticker market made $75M during its first year. That’s $75M worth of transactions happening on mobile devices by users who want additional branded assets to accentuate their communications.

Don’t think for a second that Snapchat doesn’t want to get into that type of business. Their early ventures in Snapcash and other eCommerce ambitions show they have the appetite for it.

Oh and when investors already report they can make upwards of $1B yearly in revenue, making features that encourage people to keep sharing Snaps publicly and submitting them to curated stories seems pretty darn important.

So do they release branded sticker packs like branded geofilters? Sure sounds like a great idea to me. Just don’t stick a logo on my face please.

But going beyond their business strategy, it’s just a good idea.

People want to personalize their content. They want to be unique. Emojis enable people to quickly convey emotion and they allow for a style of communication that’s both verbal and non-verbal at the same time. And as evidenced by the continued sale of stickers on Facebook and Line, apparently a lot of people are willing to pay for that extra level of customization.

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