This June, the popular messaging app Snapchat reported that they now have 150 million daily users. This surpasses Twitter’s 140 million daily users. Over the past few years, the growth in messaging apps has been astronomical as there has been a shift from social broadcasting to messaging. Instead of interacting with many people at once, users are preferring to interact with one person at a time. As communication is becoming more visual, emojis are now a key element to 1:1 messaging.
I Get Emojis, but What Are “Bitmojis?”
Bitmoji, part of Bitstrips, is a company adding personalization to the emoji trend. Bitmoji allows users to create a cartoon avatar version of themselves in its Bitmoji Keyword app. The avatar is used to create a wide variety of sticker-like emojis that can be used to express a multitude of emotions that traditional emojis don’t express. To use these emojis, users simply need to add the Bitmoji keyboard to their smartphone.
In March, Snapchat acquired Bitstrips for nearly $100 million dollars. A few months later on July 19th they announced that users could use Bitmojis within the Snapchat app by linking your Bitmoji and Snapchat account. Bitmojis then can be sent in chat or added to Snapchat photos and videos. To make things even more personal, users can now even create a Friendmoji if you are talking to a friend who has also linked their Bitmoji to Snapchat. The Friendmoji creates an emoji combining both of your avatars, creating a unique experience for both users.
Are Brands Using Personalized Emojis?
As personalized emojis become more popular with consumers, many brands are creating their own branded emojis. Snaps, an ad tech start-up, helps these brands tell their stories through customized emoji stickers and keywords. They are currently working with 16 brands, including Burger King and Victoria’s Secret. Snaps distributes these emojis to a variety of messaging apps, such as Kik and Kanvas, or they can be downloaded as a keyboard in the Apple App Store or in Google Play.
Dove was an early adopter of customized emojis. In fall of 2015, Dove launched the Dove Love Your Curls campaign. After noticing that existing emojis only depicted people with straight hair, Dove worked with Snaps to develop an emoji keyboard that featured 27 different curly hair emojis with a variety of hair colors and skin tones. Users could finally use an emoji that was in their own image, like they can now do with Bitmoji.
Over the first 60 days of the campaign, Dove’s emoji keyboard drove amazing results. There were 10.1M impressions, 2.76M content shares, and a 278% increase in purchase intent. Dove allowed women to express themselves visually in an emoji while driving their brand awareness and sales.
How will Brands Use Emojis & Messaging Apps in the Future?
Currently, there aren’t many ways to advertise in messaging apps and many of them are ad-free, like Facebook. As customized emojis and mobile messaging apps become even more popular, expect to see more brands create custom, branded emojis and more messaging apps capitalizing on them, as it is an easy way to engage with consumers on mobile.