The US$ 100 million acquisition of Bitmoji by Snapchat represents the acquisition of a language in itself. The de-facto language of Millennials, Bitmoji’s primary appeal came from its ability to let users tell their life stories in slightly exaggerated panels, using avatars of themselves and their friends. In turn, social media marketing platforms like Snapchat not only want access to a user base prone to generating their own content, but also monetize on the apps branded avatars by integrating them with its own filters. The acquisition also gives them access to dark social, a place where 74% of online sharing activity occurs.
Just like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp prompted multiple pop-ups, messages and reminders that the Facebook Messenger was one click away, the acquisition of Bitmoji primarily marks an acquisition of customers hooked to the Bitmoji app that will be compelled to download Snapchat as well. So that covers the business side.
Here’s how Snapchat will work towards getting a return on its investment. Bitmoji’s on Snapchat currently appear on chat and as an add-on in Snaps.This means that participating brands can appear as one of the options that appear in the Bitmoji menu, for use in the stories, especially as it relates to the user’s life, like a depleted Duracell battery coinciding with sleeping avatar to imply the user is exhauster. It can even mean depicting your avatar wearing the latest Burberry handbag to tell the “going shopping” part of the story. This access to a micro-moment could further open up the user to seamless remarketing or an incentive to receive a limited time gift card at the participating retailer.
When a picture says a thousand words, turn to Bitmoji. So for instance, instead of writing that you’re watching Justice League next week, why not add the sticker instead? Or get your avatar’s head tacked on to Superman’s? Even further, create a campaign encourages Snapchat users to use the avatars to create their own Hollywood endings to iconic movies using the characters. With shows like Red vs. Blue becoming pop icons thanks to the multiplayer options on Microsoft’s Xbox, we’re seeing more and more Millennials create their own content and dropping hints on brands that are willing to take part without repercussions.
Brands intending to participate, hoping to immerse their branded avatars in a conversation should bear in mind that users of this new Snapchat will have a freehand with regards to the settings in which they include your avatar. Remember that the content being created by Snapchat users seeks to primarily entertain its audience. Rarely ever is the content marketing goal of a user to educate, convince or inspire. So with that in mind, it wouldn’t be incredulous to see instances of brands being mocked and making the news, with their branded avatars adding insult to injury.Therefore, it only makes sense to engage with audiences that Snapchat and its data recommends, an audience that already has strong natural brand affinity for a product or cause.