- Bitmoji is the most downloaded app in five major markets: the U.S., U.K, France, Canada and Australia, according to App Annie data investigated by Recode. Bitmoji’s ascension has been swift as the digital sticker specialist wasn’t among the top 10 downloaded apps in any of the 10 biggest iOS markets last year when its parent company Bitstrips was acquired by Snapchat for roughly $100 million.
- On the back of Bitmoji, Snap Inc. has made significant gains in app downloads globally. Between its Snapchat and Bitmoji apps, the company has placed on lists of the top 10 most downloaded apps in eight of the 10 largest app markets. However, Facebook and Google continue to hold reigning app positions from properties including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Translate and Facebook. Uber’s app also has a strong global presence. It topped all apps in Brazil and ranked among the top 10 apps in the U.S. and Australia.
- The App Annie data, which excludes games, was accumulated from Jan. 1 to March 29 of this year. The data covers only iOS devices.
Facebook may be persistently cribbing from Snap Inc., but the social media giant isn’t besting its mobile competitor on all fronts. By several measures, Snap’s personalized emoji platform Bitmoji is on fire. Not only has Bitmoji topped the app segment in five leading app markets, it’s the world’s fastest growing app. It registered 15 million downloads globally this past February compared to 1.2 million the year before. Snapchat has certainly aided in Bitmoji’s climb with prompts within its app encouraging Bitmoji downloads, though soaring demand for digital stickers has a lot to do with its surge, too. Tens of millions of digital stickers are sent monthly in Asia, according to Sensor Tower analyst Randy Nelson, who spoke to Bloomberg, and Americans are catching on to the sticker craze.
Snap has kept Bitmoji a standalone app for downloads, but has also integrated Bitmoji capabilities into Snapchat. Snapchat users can create and send personalized Bitmoji inside Snapchat. Starting in November, Snapchat allowed users to add Bitmoji icons to Geofilters. In March, another feature was launched letting people create widgets of their friends’ Bitmoji as a shortcut to chat with those friends. “Now that Snap is a public company, it’s sure to support Bitmoji’s continued success,” commented Gavin O’Malley in the MediaPost article.
Despite Bitmoji’s impressive rise, the digital sticker market is in its infancy, and marketers are just dipping their toes into the sticker space. An expanding number of brands such as Steve Madden, Michael Kors, Pixar and HBO have embraced Bitmoji — and well they should. Nikki Gilliland from EConsultancy underscores tailored stickers permit brands to insert themselves into consumers' private conversations. Laura Cole, writing in the publication Business 2 Community, speculates, “Bitmoji will enable brands to create unique, animated sketches that promote their products in an alternative light, using filters to create truly stunning and engaging visuals and that stand-out in a competitive marketplace. This is similar to the popular Snapchat Lenses feature.”