by Jenny Prout
Today Facebook announced that they are bringing Facebook stickers to the web.
What is a Facebook sticker? According to Facebook “stickers are different than emoticons. They’re detailed illustrations of characters with personality”. So a mini picture or graphic (a bit like those that we can already send via emoji on services like Whatsapp) but designed uniquely for Facebook Chat, and presumably meant to add a bit of emotional expression into some of our online (Facebook) conversations.
Given their investment into the creation of these stickers, the interesting bit for me will be how Facebook plan to monetise them in the future. Will we need to pay for them? Or will it be another route for advertisers and brands to wiggle their way into our Facebook experience?
Whilst the images are currently free (presumably to encourage us to use them), they hint that there might be paid-for sticker packs in the future, which are intended to offer us access to collections of alternative images. Whether this would involve paying for the image once (and then using it however much we like) or paying per use of the image, isn’t clear, but obviously there is a market for these images which Facebook is trying to tap into. Should Facebook decide to go down this route, and charge for the images, it will be interesting to see what sort of pricing structure they decide on and what the appetite is like amongst the Facebook community.
The idea of sponsored or branded stickers could be really lucrative and I can see how it would work really well for consumer brands – integrating some of the wider marketing/PR efforts for certain products into our consciousness. Catch phrases, characters and logos could all be turned into stickers, which will subtly reinforce the brand in our everyday conversations. The Despicable Me 2 characters, now available as Facebook stickers, are an excellent example of how brands could get involved. The stickers could be created especially for product launches or specific promotions. It could also be effective for other character led Campaigns (e.g. Compare the Meercat/ the Churchill dog) or consumer products (e.g. LEGO/M&M’s/KFC/Pringles), which have distinct recognisable identities or logos.
However, brands should be aware that making their images and logos readily available and shareable comes with its own risks – such as making it easy for people who have had a bad experience of a brand, or have a negative view, to complain to their friends in a visual and effective way. Whilst Facebook stickers present great opportunities for certain brands, others need to consider carefully whether it is safe for them to engage.
Regardless of which brands choose to get involved, it’s early days, and at this point Facebook need to make sure that we accept, use and adopt these ‘stickers’ into our Facebook experience. Unless that happens, any premature attempts to monetise could potentially be their downfall.
Ultimately efforts to advertise or promote within Facebook are not usually welcomed by its users, but perhaps a less invasive method (like branded ‘stickers’) is a nice way to integrate brands, in a more subtle way.
I have to say – i’m not sure I will be using them. Perhaps they’re just not my cup of