The world's number one messaging app, WhatsApp, has finally included what its closest competitors have had for a while - stickers. The Facebook-owned messaging app announced in a blog post that the first set of stickers will be those designed by its team and a selection of stickers from other artists.
"We've also added support for third-party sticker packs to allow designers and developers around the world to create stickers for WhatsApp. To do this, we've included a set of APIs and interfaces that allow you to build sticker apps that add stickers to WhatsApp on Android or iOS. You can publish your sticker app like any other app to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, and users who download and install your app will be able to start sending those stickers right from within WhatsApp. You can learn more about creating your own sticker apps for WhatsApp here."
Since Facebook acquired WhatsApp, and Instagram, both apps have steadily introduced features that are eerily similar to what SnapChat offers. And this seemed to have worked, to a certain extent, in emerging markets like Afrika where SnapChat has little market share.
This has not gone unnoticed from SnapChat's side.
Earlier in October 2018, Evan Spiegel, Founder and CEO at Snap Inc., sent an internal message to staff highlighting how the company will be looking to target growth in developing markets such as Afrika. Two of the key issues Spiegel noted was that the SnapChat Android app does not work well with low bandwidth connections and it seems to be badly designed for it to run smoothly on low cost Android phones. Both issues which WhatsApp has mastered and doesn't battle with.
Beginning of WhatsApp monetization?
In most messaging apps stickers are available both as free as well as for purchase. What is not clear so far (we haf asked WhatsApp to clarify but had received no answers at the time of publishing) is whether WhatsApp, going forward, will be looking to make "premium" stickers for sale and how payment for these will be handled.
All we know so far is that for one to include their stickers in WhatsApp they'd have to make them available through an independent iOS or Android app.
"To use stickers in a chat, simply tap the new sticker button and select the sticker you want to share. You can add new sticker packs by tapping the plus icon. Stickers will be available for Android and iPhone over the coming weeks. We hope you enjoy them!"
Cover image credit: WhatsApp stickers.