How we say things, is just as important as what we say. This is not only true for a face to face conversation, but also when we talk to each other on apps. But a lot of subtlety which is conveyed by our facial expressions, body language or demeanor is lost when we type.

A remark such as “Fool!” could either be accusatory, insulting, loving, or even flirtatious. You wouldn’t however, want someone you are trying to woo to think that you think they lack IQ, and since so much love is found online, how are we tackling this as a society? With EGS, Emojies, Gifs, And Stickers.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at Stickers. Their origins, growth, market size, and most recently their incorporation into WhatsApp - the largest messaging platform in the world.

Stickers, like emojis, have their roots in Asia. The first emoji is attributed to have come out as early as 1999 in Japan but really gained traction in 2010 when they were made part of mobile Operating Systems such as Apple’s iOS .

In 2011, Japan once again pioneered the use of Stickers, orchestrated this time by a Korean company Naven that founded Line in a post Fukushima Japan as a result of the strain on the traditional cellular network. They chose Japan as a starting point as their home country had a 90% adoption rate of another chat platform Kakao Talk.

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Stickers are used are a more expressive form of emoji to convey body language - basically, all that stuff that can’t be said with words. Are they really needed and are people really using them? In the first quarter of 2013, Line reported that they made $17 Million from the sale of stickers on their platform - almost a third of their total revenue. This number has since grown to $71 Million in the first quarter of 2017.

To put that into perspective; one chat platform generated approximately 1/10th the entire spending of the Greek government in one quarter from the sales of stickers alone ($71 Million). Stickers mean business.

WhatsApp has just stepped into the game by integrating stickers into the app. When you receive a sticker on WhatsApp you receive a message akin to this:

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What this signifies, amongst other things, is WhatsApp’s movement from being a consumer product, to a platform. The significance is that anyone, now stands a chance to develop on top of WhatsApp and profit from it. This will no doubt come with risks as well but opens up the gates to a whole new range of problems. For example, stickers that encourage lynching or other ill motives.

We love stickers and we love WhatsApp. We’re working on a new tool to help ease creating your own custom stickers for WhatsApp. And, we’re taking requests! If you have a theme of stickers that you would love using, get in touch.