Twitter announced yesterday that you will be able to add stickers to the photos you send on the network. These stickers then essentially become visual hashtags, where you can click through to see who else is using the same stickers you just used, something that’s meant to foster a community and more engagement since you get a sense of who else is of a like mind with you. The stickers will be rolling out over the near future.
These stickers are a move to compete with not only Facebook, which also features stickers, and Snapchat with its filters but also something like Giphy Cam, which lets people add graphics to their self-made GIFs and share them across networks. It’s all part of the move begun with Instagram’s filters, which allowed people to add some sort of customization to the photos they were sharing, taking that action to the next level and allowing for a modicum of self-expression, which increased the stickiness of the app. Twitter’s obviously hoping this will have the same effect.
It’s easy to see how Twitter could turn this into a revenue stream, since it would follow the same basic idea of Snapchat filters and Giphy Cam stickers, creating custom stickers that people could apply to their photos to help promote their new movie, lifestyle product or other item. So Warner Bros., for instance, could buy a paid sticker placement to promote Suicide Squad by allowing people to add one or more of the tattoo designs that have been a big part of the campaign to date – including tattoo parlors at SXSW and elsewhere – to their photos.
That’s similar to what they could do on Snapchat with sponsored filters, to be sure, which means it comes down to a determination in the mind of the advertising team as to where they’re best reaching the audience most efficiently for their marketing dollar. Based on who has the zeitgeist and buzz right now, Snapchat would seem to have the advantage, but Twitter has a history of luring movie studios to be first movers with their new advertising products, including landing Warner Bros. as a launch partner for Promoted Moments, used to advertise Creed. If it were to introduce paid stickers it’s easy to see one studio or another being involved in some manner.
What’s notable is that this further isolates Instagram as being behind the curve it started. While you can still apply all sorts of filters to your photos there and while it has rolled out all sorts of new ad carousel products and more, Instagram has lagged in monetizing the photo content itself that’s shared to the network. It doesn’t offer any sort of stickers, it doesn’t offer sponsored filters or anything else that’s now become part and parcel of the social advertising space.
Twitter continues to look for new ways to make its app more sticky and increase engagement. Whether stickers will do that or not remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an addition that’s in-line with the rest of the social industry.