Mobile Messengers & Advertising – Asia vs West
This post is sort of a follow-up to a previous post of mine (see here). I came across a very interesting article on TechInAsia, my go to website for all Asia related Tech news. The site is a very good source for finding up-to-date breaking news on all sorts of technology and startup related news flowing out of Asia. The contributor of the article discusses the comparisons of Asia’s Mobile Messenger Apps versus Mobile Messenger Apps in the West. He primarily focuses on two major players, LINE from Asia, and SnapChat, from the U.S. In his post, the topic of advertising is heavily focused, as advertisers are desperately trying to figure out how to insert themselves in front of a growing dominant audience that is mobile messenger users. What struck me was a quote he inserted in his article:
Mobile messenger apps arguably offer the most intimate and engaged advertising opportunities available to brands right now.
I could not help but think back when I first started using a mobile messaging app, which was KakaoTalk, out of Seoul,South Korea. I remember my first reaction to it: “Wow, I can easily communicate with friends and family in South Korea on-the-go, and they have these cute little emoticons(animated stickers) that let me easily share my feelings without having to type full sentences.” Immediately, I started following the trends that were happening in Asia, as here in the U.S, mobile messengers weren’t a “thing” yet. However, as time progressed, we now see the dominance of mobile messengers across the globe.
This brings me to the topic of my post: Stickers vs GIFs – Which one fits the best for advertisers? – My answer, is that BOTH fit well for advertisers in terms of reaching an audience on mobile messengers. LINE is the perfect example in Asia that really became the predecessor for Stickers and Brand Advertising. Their development of cute or kawaii stickers into brand insertion was just genius. A perfect example would be Beatles Singer Paul McCartney. Through utilizing LINE’s services, his agency created an official brand account along with offering free stickers to those who subscribed to his channel. These cute stickers became brand insertion for him. Whenever users wanted to share a cute expression, they could use a Paul McCartney sticker, which also inserts himself as a brand into their minds. Genius if you ask me!
Paul McCartney LINE Sticker
What about GIFs you ask? Well, I believe GIFs do the same. Here in the U.S, GIFs have become widely popular, even though they have been around for years. With the emergence of GIPHY, the #1 GIF aggregator currently on the market, advertisers and users alike have been jumping on the band wagon. For example, HBO’s Game of Thrones. A user can search via GIPHY and insert a GIF showcasing GOT into their conversation. User gets expression, brand gets inserted into a conversation. Simple right? Here’s an example: Goooooood job (can’t really be expressed via text) – but with a GIF (via GIPHY)?
When comparing the Stickers vs GIFs, both are equally expressive for users and advertisers. The key is how to integrate together without sacrificing the needs of one another. Users want expression but don’t want to feel like brands are watching over them; while brands want to be in conversations. While there is no all end solution for advertisers, I think that both stickers and GIFs are the starting point for brands to be engaged with end users, without over bearing them.
Finally, to keep up with my normal routine, I’ll end it with a STKR for our platform, STKR.us 🙂