Today Facebook launched its first branded sticker pack promoting the upcoming film Despicable Me 2. Although the studio didn’t have to pay the social network to have them appear, and they’re free for members, Facebook could one day be able to charge brands for the additional exposure.
Brands already get exposure in News Feeds and on members’ Timelines, but branded sticker packs would give you access to another area of the platform: private messages. Instead of relying solely on text and emoticons, individuals can now share visuals from pre-created sticker packs.
Startups like Line and Path already make money from selling stickers. The social network, on the other hand, will let members download the sticker pack for free from a store inside the smiley button in Facebook and Messenger for iOS and Android.
Although stickers have the potential to go viral, not all brands will benefit. As TechCrunch noted, most people probably don’t want to send a Honda Accord sticker — well, maybe auto enthusiasts. But stickers with cute, popular characters associated with it could become a solid marketing choice, which is why Despicable Me‘s funny yellow minions work well.
That said, it’s unknown whether branded stickers will perform well enough to convince brands to set aside advertising dollars for a messaging campaign. On one hand, the intimate nature of messages is appealing — brands might be willing to pay a flat fee or a per-use fee to get exposure for their imagery. On the other hand, without solid data, advertisers might forego the risk in favor of more traditional Facebook ads.