Consumers who use apps such as iMessage, Venmo, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are probably familiar with the option to use animated stickers to express emotions or simply liven up a chat. And recently, branded stickers have appeared as users type in certain words.
Holler, a messaging technology platform, is responsible for the recent rise of sticker campaigns designed to integrate brands into digital conversations. The company, formerly known as Emogi before rebranding in 2019, designs stickers in house. In the past year, Holler began partnering with brands to create sticker campaigns as a marketing tool.
So far, Holler has worked with brands including HBO Max, Snickers and Ikea. Holler CMO Sarah Aitken said the company’s main objectives in teaming with brands are to boost awareness by creating stickers that are relevant to certain conversation—and provide consumers with entertaining new ways to express actions and emotions.
Holler created a sticker inspired by Satriale’s Pork Store from the Sopranos.
“What our platform does is recommend the right content, in the right moment, right when you need it,” Aitken said. “From a brand perspective, it’s about finding the right conversations to bring that brand in—where the brand is relevant, useful and can connect with one of our users in a personal conversation.”
For HBO Max’s launch week in May, Holler brought to life the streaming platform’s partnership with payment app Venmo. Holler created its first branded sticker pack themed around HBO Max properties, including The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Doctor Who and The Wizard of Oz. The sticker pack was also available on chat platforms, for users who have downloaded the Holler app.
Depending on what a user paid for or requested on Venmo, an appropriate sticker would pop up. For example, someone typing in “takeout” could find a sticker for the fictional Satriale’s Pork Store from The Sopranos. “Drinks” would lead to animated cosmos for Sex and the City and “rent,” a popular Venmo payment, activated a Friends-themed sticker. Users could also search for the sticker pack in a library by tapping Holler’s icon on whichever app they were using.
Holler views results from the HBO Max campaign as a success:
- In the first three days of the campaign, the Sopranos “Takeout” sticker became the fourth most popular sticker used on Venmo, and overall saw a 5.25% share rate.
- The campaign saw a 1.74% share rate overall.
- The branded pack had a 21% share rate, meaning a fifth of people who actively searched for the pack in the library shared a piece of content.
- 108,000 people shared the content on Venmo and via messaging during the weeklong campaign.
For the Venmo-based campaign, Aitken said her team researched the popular types of messaging and activities that happen across Venmo and chats, and determined how to translate those into shows and films HBO Max wanted to promote.
“It was a consultative approach of figuring out what types of conversations happen frequently and what content is shared frequently within our own library,” she said.
Some brands have also tapped Holler to create stickers as extensions of existing campaigns. The brand has worked with Ikea to boost a campaign around sleep products with stickers tied to saying goodnight or expressing tiredness.
For Snickers’ ongoing “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, the Mars-owned brand tapped Holler to create its first sticker campaign in 2019. Holler designed custom stickers tied to Snickers “mood states” like excited, hungry, sad and bored.
Consumers shared Snickers content more than 81,000 times, with people most likely to share the excited sticker. The branded content also drew more than 42 million impressions.
The company teamed with Ikea to design stickers around sleep products.
“If a brand wants to be associated with the terms happiness and joy, we bring relevant content into those environments,” Aitken said. “We want to make sure any branded content we create is useful and brings value to that moment, rather than making it feel like an ad.”