Google announced in a blog post yesterday that it has updated Gboard for Android to support digital stickers. Swyft Media, the maker of branded digital stickers for mobile media, is one of the companies partnering with Google to add emoji packs and GIFs for popular brands in Gboard, a keyboard for popular messaging apps, according to a press release.
Hello Kitty, Backstreet Boys, Peanuts and Illumination’s “Despicable Me 3” are the first brands to have sticker packs from Swyft’s Mobile Engagement Platform, which handles branded mobile content. Google said it has also partnered with Disney, Bare Tree Media and NBAmoji on sticker packs.
Sticker packs for Gboard can be found in the Google Play Store.
Apple's iMessage has been the primary platform for brands looking to engage users of mobile messaging via digital stickers, but Kik, Giphy and others have been building their offerings and attracting some big brands like Dunkin' Donuts. The news from Google suggests it is looking to ramp up opportunities for brands want to reach Android users who are active in mobile messaging.
Mobile media are opening new channels for brands to communicate with consumers, including a rich tapestry of text, photos, videos, cartoon images and sound. Giving people the ability to incorporate a brand into their daily conversations on mobile messaging apps is another way for marketers to develop a relationship with their customers. EMarketer recently forecast that more than a quarter of the world will use mobile messaging apps by 2019.
Branded stickers are a relatively new innovation in mobile media that aren’t confined to an emoji’s smaller scale and limited iconography. Branded stickers are more customizable and accessible, while also allowing marketers to showcase their brands more consistently with other media. They’re also popular. About 6 billion stickers are sent around the world every day on mobile messaging apps, Swyft Media told Digiday in April.
Sticker packs can also be lucrative for brands that sell them through in-app transactions. Japanese messaging app Line sells more than $270 million of in-app stickers a year. Brands typically offer a mix of free and paid sticker packs, priced anywhere between $0.99 and $1.99, on Apple’s iMessage store, according to Digiday. Fifty percent of branded stickers are shared through iMessage, compared with 20% for Facebook Messenger and 10% on Snapchat, according to Bare Tree Media data cited by Digiday.