Today, various social networks become an integral part of people’s lives. People are communicating and exchanging information there, they store data, search for friends, colleagues, employees there too. And as in any popular sphere, an element of entertainment and decoration is actively introduced in social networks. It can be a large media content — pictures, video, music, and smaller — emoji and stickers for commenting and chatting. If you decide to make stickers for your messenger application, you might need to grasp their purpose for your users.

Why use stickers

Stickers came to the Internet from the real world, where they serve for various purposes: as labels, release liners, decals for guitars, there are also bumper stickers and different thematic sticker albums. In fact, in social networks, stickers play the role of an emoji, but they are larger in size (not always, however, but the original stickers are larger than emoji). Stickers can describe the whole situation — being a kind of a mini-sketch. And they are not inserted into the text — traditionally they are sent as separate messages. Size is usually a key point: a clearer image, more meaningful details, the possibility of describing a whole situation with one small image. Personalization is another advantage of stickers. The company can present itself in such a simple way: in the form of a set of stickers with its personalized logo or mascot, for example. It looks nice, brings the user and brand closer and, after all, is not a very expensive way of advertising!

And most importantly — users like stickers. According to Bare Tree Media research, modern users spend on about 3.5 minutes per messaging session using stickers: to choose them, to search for new packs, and to send.

Like all images, stickers allow maintaining a certain atmosphere of user interaction. Their style can correspond to the style of the social network or application and seamlessly fit into it. In addition, the ability to expand your number of stickers is a way of monetization. Together with a client, we made the decision to add stickers to our social app based on all the points mentioned above.

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How we did it

“Should I develop stickers for my app, or not? How can I do it?” — our clients often start with these questions. Our answer was simple: the basic principle in creating stickers and their promotion is to provide users with at least one set for free. This set should be qualitative, demonstrating all the possibilities and positives of stickers, and pretty after all! We studied which emojis are most popular among the target audience of our application. Based on this data, the first free General Sticker Pack was created.

Our sets available for purchase contain not only general emotions and situations but sometimes custom emoticons too like trendy or popular characters, memes, celebrities. An example of this approach can be Facebook sticker sets. Companies follow the popular trends and add stickers, for example, dedicated to the recently released movies (Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 2), popular universes (Star Wars, Marvel, The LEGO), Internet memes (Simon’s Cat, Pusheen), media personalities (Bruce Lee), and so on.

How to make successful stickers

Stickers for users is not only a way to express some emotions, not only one image to describe the mood and situation, but also a way to demonstrate their creativity. Competitions for illustrators to create your stickers may be helpful in this case – you will be able to chose those creators who managed to capture the atmosphere of your brand or application.

There are several important tips here:

• Point the terms of use of the participants’ and winners’ works in contest rules.

• Explain clearly who your target audience is, which purpose you app serves, when and why people are going to use your application.

• Illustrators contest won’t produce images ready to be used as stickers. Your goal is to choose the ones who will create the best stickers for your audience, and later on, you will need to work together with designers to find the right style to work within.

When you decide to add stickers to your app, you must remember a few important things. Stickers, both created within the competitions, and made by you, must meet certain requirements:

1. Consistent style. All stickers within one pack, or even within your whole application, need to look similar in style. To achieve this result, the whole set can be created by one designer. Of course, this is not the only possible option: several designers can also achieve a similar effect, working together and following the same guidelines it is important to create.

2. Market research. It includes work with the target audience, monitoring the statistics, communicating with potential users during the tests (you may open access to the stickers to the part of your audience and perform A/B testing), conducting surveys. Surveys can be abstract — about color preferences, interests, favorite characters, or more focused — about the most frequent life situations, favorite emoji. When you create custom stickers for your chat or social network, do not forget that the standard parameters of the audience (age, gender, marital status, etc.) should influence the design. Stickers from the Mad Max universe are not suitable for the application for future moms, and the club of car enthusiasts is unlikely to be interested in floral stickers.

3. Uniqueness. In addition, do not just create emoji analogs. Custom stickers development is not about copying, it is about providing your users with unique experience they cannot find anywhere else. The basic emotions should be present, however, stickers allow to expand a spectrum of expressed moods essentially and even to describe situations, and it is definitely worth using!

Do you need custom stickers for your app?

According to our research:

• Stickers increase audience loyalty. This is achieved by customization, personalization, and uniqueness. In your application, users will find what they like, something your competitors do not have. People love stickers — if they are in the app, people will love the app more too.

• Stickers allow users to keep a live communication, more emotional than dry text.

• Stickers are a way of monetization, and it is quite soft. Stickers don’t interrupt experience, distract or irritate. They are a nice addition to application’s functionality that users can pay for.

• Stickers can be used in other types of marketing: to advertise the corporate identity of the application, as a reward for some contests or actions, stickers can be released in honor of major holidays.

Now the flow of information is moving to the visualization area, stickers are a part of this process, and we should not lose them. If you are still asking yourself: “Should I use stickers?”, we can give you our answer: yes!

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[Case Study] How to Develop Custom Stickers for Your App
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