Snapchat, Bitmoji, and the Future of Visual Communication
Well, it’s happened. Two of my favorite communication mechanisms have joined together for what I am sure will be the integrated social product of my dreams. That’s right, folks: Snapchat has acquired Bitmoji maker Bitstrips for around $100 million.
What It Is: Bitmoji lets you create an emoji out of yourself, using detailed physical features. Their ever-growing (and timely) library of moods and stickers allows you to put yourself in almost any situation and shoot it off to your friends in a text. Most people use Bitmoji as a keyboard on their phone, which makes including bitmojis in texts a seamless process.
Why It Was Created: To put a face to your text. As CEO Jacob Blackstock put it in this Business Insider article: “Texting is making conversation more convenient than ever, but it’s also stripped away a lot of the things that make communication human…We think one of the most important things that’s still missing is identity. If you think about history, 99 percent of human communication has been face-to-face.”
- People also share their Bitmoji on social platforms like Instagram and Twitter
- The app consistently rates in the top ten of utility apps in the App Store
- Bitmoji follows in a long line of apps no one took seriously that wound up changing the way people communicate: Giphy, I’m looking at you.
- As Blackstock eloquently put it, “We can get brands into the most impossible spaces to get into, which is private conversations. That is gold.” That is gold. Bitmoji is one of the only communication mechanisms that has been able to enter this “dark social” space.
To drive anticipation for the fifth season of Game of Thrones, HBO joined forces with Bitmoji to bring Game of Thrones into everyday messaging conversation.
Bitmoji launched Bitmoji Fashion last year, allowing users to dress their avatars in looks from Joie, Tanya Taylor, Bergdorf Goodman (including Diane Von Furstenberg, Rodarte, Michael Kors Collection, Zac Posen, and Kenzo), and W Magazine, with curated styles by Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, and Alexander McQueen.
Bitmoji was created to bring a sense of identity back to the digital conversations many of us are consumed by every day. With the launch of Bitmoji Fashion, we’re taking people’s avatars another step closer to being a true extension of who they are in real life. This is an exciting evolution for us as we push the boundaries of messaging even further.
-Bitstrips CEO Jacob Blackstock
What It Is: A social network with the tagline, “Life’s more fun when you live in the moment!” Your “snaps” are videos or photos you send to friends. You can manipulate the videos with drawing tools and geofilters. You can talk with friends, view Live Stories from around the world
Why It Was Created: “Snapchat isn’t about capturing the traditional Kodak moment. It’s about communicating with the full range of human emotion—not just what appears to be pretty or perfect.”
Brand Integrations: Snapchat, a social network where content eventually disappears, left a lot of people scratching their heads as to how–or if–brands could get on board. But those fears turned out to be unfounded. The Discover feature has been a great one for Snapchat’s brand partnerships…
…as well as brand-tailored geofilters for movies like The Hunger Games and events like SXSW.
Why (and How) I Predict They Will Make Beautiful Music Together
Some of my predictions for what will follow this acquisition — and what it means for marketers:
- Bitmoji might become an add-on product to Snapchat’s wildly successful and distinctive geofilters, allowing more personalized tailoring to individual users. This is especially interesting in light of Snapchat’s recent announcement that geofilters are available for any party, event, or company for as little as $5.
- Snapchat could use the Bitstrips team to integrate Snapchat into the phone’s main keyboard, as Fortune suggests.
- Snapchat might use Bitmoji to make Snapchat content “shareable” on other social networks and drive greater platform adoption.
What other implications does this acquisition hold for Snapchat? Let us know on Twitter, and download our 2016 Social + Digital Marketing Predictions guide for more information on changes you should expect in 2016.
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I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.