Commentary

Snapchat Leverages Bitmoji's Rocketing Growth

Combine Snapchat’s support and the glee people feel when making their own personalized emojis, and what do you get?

The fastest-growing app in the country, of course!

Unless you reside under a rock, you know I’m talking about Bitmoji -- the emoji personalization app that Snap bought (as an asset of parent company Bitstrips) in March of 2016 for a reported $100 million or so.

Since then, Snap has been encouraging users to link up their Bitmoji accounts, which allows their emoji avatars to appear on Snapchat.

The tie-up appears to be paying off. Indeed, among unique visitors over the age of 18, Bitmoji’s popularity skyrocketed by 5,210% from early 2015 through the end of 2016, comScore finds.

By the end of 2016, that amounted to more than 10 million unique visitors on a monthly basis. Those certainly aren’t the biggest numbers in the app game, but Bitmoji certainly isn’t finished growing.

Now that Snap is a public company, it’s sure to support Bitmoji’s continued success.

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“Bitmoji seems to have come out of a natural progression in messaging,” Adam Lella, senior analyst at comScore, told MediaPost. “As messaging behavior became more popular over the years, people started increasingly using emojis to communicate in a fast, fun and expressive way.”

But “Bitmoji takes that one step further, with many users wanting their emojis to more accurately reflect who they are individually,” Lella adds.

If you don't already have your own Bitmoji avatar, now all you have to do is log in to Snapchat to create one. The cartoon-like caricatures can then be used in messaging apps to express feelings, communicate, or just look silly.

Also, if your friends have Bitmoji linked to their Snapchat accounts, you can also "Friendmoji" them. In other words, you can use your friends' personalized emojis however you like.

Snapchat, for its part, has established its spot as a top app. According to comScore, Snapchat officially joined the ranks of the Top 10 most popular apps in late 2016.

“Snapchat … went from being a very popular app among the younger demographics to  being one of the most popular apps among the general population,” Lella told MediaPost last week.

Critically, Snapchat’s general popularity has yet to undercut its status among Millennials, according to comScore’s 2017 Cross-Platform Future in Focus report.

At the end of 2016, a whopping 78% of U.S. consumers ages 18-to-24 -- and 48% of those 25-to-34 -- were using Snapchat.

This column was previously published in Moblog on March 27, 2017.

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