When Facebook purchased WhatsApp back in 2014, the social networking giant promised that it will leave the chat app as it is and that it won’t try to make it Facebook-ish.
There are billions of people that use Facebook across the globe. However, the usage of this service is more pronounced in other markets than the U.S. itself. The story is not different when it comes to WhatsApp, where the app is more popular in other markets than in the U.S. In fact, people in the U.S. prefer Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp and if this is because of the features that are offered on the former, well, some – or maybe one – of them are about to make it to the latter via a future update.
According to the latest reports, Facebook has plans to introduce stickers to WhatsApp. This feature is popular among users of the Messenger app, but judging by the first reaction towards the possibility of having stickers on the app, it appears that most people won’t be happy with this addition.
It was back in 2013 when Facebook Messenger first received the stickers feature. Years down the line, the tech giant has slowly perfected the feature into something cool, but to WhatsApp users, this might not cooler than thought. The latest development comes courtesy of a beta version of the app, which means the company is still working on incorporating stickers into the chat app. In the new beta app, the design of the stickers is very similar to what Facebook Messenger already offers.
If WhatsApp successfully gets the support for stickers, it won’t be the only messaging app that will be equipped with these animated characters. So far, Japan’s Line Messenger has seen a huge chunk of its success come from the stickers. While there are some stickers it offers for free, the company also offers other sticker packs at a small fee. It is through these sticker packs that the app makes lots of money, something that Facebook could be looking to emulate with this new addition.
Two years ago, reports in Japan said that Line Corporation received a massive $10 million in payments from stickers sold via the Line Messenger app. Interestingly, the app had a user base of just 230 million. As with the case of WhatsApp, the chat app has more than a billion users as at the time of this writing. You can imagine the amount of money this path can generate to the owners of the app.
Last year, Apple also introduced paid sticker packs when it made wholesale changes to the iMessage app with the introduction of iOS 10. So, we could say WhatsApp is only borrowing a leaf from its counterparts in a bid to turn the free app into profit.
At the moment, though, it’s still unclear if WhatsApp will follow the same business model that is being used by Line Messenger and Apple’s iMessage as far as the stickers are concerned. However, it’s possible this could be the case as Facebook looks for ways to recoup the massive $20 billion it paid for the app back in 2014.
As noted earlier, this new feature is only available in the beta version of WhatsApp and not via the Google Play Store. For now, we don’t know when people will start sharing stickers on the app, but if all goes according to plan, it won’t be long before we actually get to see stickers on the most popular messaging app in the world.
What do you think about Facebook’s idea of introducing stickers on WhatsApp? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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