Who Loves Stickers? How Consumers and Businesses Are Fueling the Popularity of These Tiny Graphics

BBM

Mobile messaging stickers are increasingly popular. As I mentioned in my recent post about stickers, they first appeared in Korea and Japan as a way to speed up chatting. Sending a graphic of Mickey Mouse holding out a bouquet of flowers is a faster way to say I’m sorry for anyone, but especially if you’re typing in a character-alphabet language, like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc.

Speed may have been the reason people started using stickers in the first place, but they’ve become such fun ingredients to add to chat that now their popularity is on the rise.

Data Collection: Opt In or Out

First, a quick note about the data I share below. Data collection can be a great way for BlackBerry to understand our customers’ behavior at a macro level and improve services based on what we learn. For example, we use this anonymous data to improve turn-by-turn navigation in BlackBerry Maps and learn which BBM emojis are the most popular.

At the same time, data collection can lead to privacy issues if people aren’t in control of what they share. That’s why BlackBerry asks permission first. The first time you set up your BlackBerry 10 device, you’ll see a screen that asks if you want to enable Location Diagnostics. You can opt in or out at that time. And if you change your mind later on, you can go to Settings > Security and Privacy > Diagnostics to turn it off or on.

Up and to the Right

Now, back to the numbers. Our data tells us that BBM users send more stickers during the week and fewer on weekends. That correlates to the general BBM usage pattern. (Each dip is a weekend.)

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Overall, the most popular stickers are three from the free BBM Stickers pack: Kiss, BigHug, and Crying. Kiss is ahead by a mile.

Last summer, we launched football-themed sticker packs in time for the World Cup tournament. As my colleague, Eric Lai, blogged back in June, general BBM activity picked up in different countries on their team’s game days — and so did sticker usage.

The biggest disappointment of the tournament appeared in our data, as Brazilian sticker usage dropped off sharply after that devastating 1-7 loss to Germany.

5At the end of the championship match between Germany and Argentina, we saw a huge spike from German BBM users. The most popular sticker sent that day? The German player holding a trophy.

4Stickers are more popular with young people, but are equally popular with men and women. Men, however, favor Popeye, Nusantara’s Kid (Nusantara is an Indonesian term for the Indonesian archipelago), and Mickey Mouse, while women prefer the BBM stickers, Baby Boop, and Ladies.

Stickers Mean Business

We recently launched a branded sticker campaign in Indonesia with Qoo10, one of the fastest-growing online marketplaces in the world. (Last month, I blogged about Qoo10’s daily deals channel.) Akin to eBay, the Singapore-based ecommerce platform gives customers price-competitive and secure shopping for goods and services from all over the world. Qoo10 is threatening to challenge Amazon and eBay as the leading online marketplace in Asia.

Qoo10’s sticker pack featured the brand’s cute character mascot, Q-Mame. Consumers could download the pack of 20 stickers for free — and download they did, to the tune of 400,000 times in the first 24 hours! Q-Mame then appeared in chats throughout the country, promoting and building the Qoo10 brand.

Sponsored stickers are a growing trend. Line, the Japanese messaging app, has — again — been the leader in this space, with brands and celebrities launching their own sticker packs. Some, like the BBM Qoo10 sticker pack, are free to download. Others are only available if you buy a product.

Sticker vouchers are another neat idea. Imagine chatting with a friend or colleague about a particularly trying week, and then receiving a sticker from them that’s a voucher for a free drink from a coffee chain. After they buy it, they message it to you. When you click the sticker, it takes you to a web page with a barcode that you scan at your nearest shop to redeem your gift.

New Stickers Every Week

If you haven’t visited the Shop in your BBM recently, you may be in for a surprise. We’re adding sticker packs to the tune of two per week. There are holiday-specific packs for Diwali and Thanksgiving, cartoon characters (Garfield, Care Bears, Popeye, Pink Panther, Powerpuff Girls, etc.), movie-themed packs and more from Disney, as well as original collections that BlackBerry has commissioned from artists and illustrators like Emmy Lincoln.
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Stickers are gaining momentum — appearing in more chats, helping businesses and celebrities build their brands, and indicating they can do even more. My favorite is the new Shaq sticker pack. What’s yours?

About Matthew Talbot

I am the Senior Vice President - Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry. I have extensive International Management, Sales and Marketing background in Mobility and Cloud technologies, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Content in both a “Start-Up” and Public company environment. This includes stints as a senior executive at SAP, Sybase, Mobile 365 and others.

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