LINE chat app makes $1.5 million with Creators Market, proving success in engaging with users

Punchkick Interactive
  • Punchkick Interactive
  • June 16, 2014
LINE chat app makes $1.5 million with Creators Market, proving success in engaging with users

The proliferation of mobile messaging apps is no coincidence—people are spending more time on their smartphones. With no signs of tapering off, mobile has commanded 86% of the average US mobile consumer’s time. Just as people are moving from in-browser search experiences on mobile to native apps, mobile messaging has moved past social networks and games to become the fastest growing app category among smartphone users worldwide.

LINE is a Japanese-based free call and messaging app that has dominated the worldwide chat market in terms of app revenue. Rather than relying on traditional users subscriptions to service, LINE is doing things a bit differently by enlisting its booming user base to make a richer social experience. This approach helps buoy profit while also utilizing the power of crowdsourcing to encourage user and brand engagement. Just recently, LINE opened its Creators Market, a platform that allows users to create and sell their own LINE stickers.

A fresh news release by the company shows that the sales and usage results for the first month since creators’ stickers were made available for purchase from May 8, 2014 to June 7. Attracting over 80,000 sticker creators and 12,000 sticker sets since opening, the Creators Market is a hit. In Japan, LINE ranks number one in top smartphone apps, a sign that the app understands its user base by adapting to the chat language and emoji vernacular of its key markets in Asia.

In the first month since the launch of Creators Market, 1.7 million sticker sets have been sold, total sales reaching over JPY 150 million yen ($1.47 million). Users that purchased stickers sent over 81 million messages featuring creators’ stickers, allowing the creators’ art to be exposed to a large number of users. According to eMarketer’s latest report on Mobile Messaging Apps: Digital Intimacy Attracts Users, Challenges Marketers, LINE not only succeeded as a tool for communication on a one-to-one and one-to-several basis, but also:

“LINE has generated significant revenue by selling sticker packages directly to its growing user base. Part of that revenue comes from sponsored stickers, which are stickers created by a brand. The sponsored stickers can either be offered free to LINE users (in that case the brand pays LINE a fee to distribute the stickers) or they can be sold in LINE’s sticker shop, with a percentage of the sales going to LINE.”

With over over 1,200 sticker sets up for sale, one of those sets includes Sir Paul McCartney, the famed Beatles front man. McCartney released eight stickers on LINE, each selling for $1.90. Sticker creators that want a shot at selling in the Creators Market will have to be approved first by Line. Once given the green light, sticker creators can sell sets of 40 stickers at 100 yen (about $1) per set, receiving 50 percent of the proceeds. Stickers from the Creators Market can only be bought by users in an initial four countries – Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand — but there are plans to widen the reach eventually.



Key takeaways for marketers planning on engaging users on messaging services:

  1. Create relevant content (snapchats, stickers, images, etc.) for users that will communicate not just your brand, but also actively fits to the user culture of the app.
  2. Partner with apps that offer features and services that align with personal brand image and objectives, rather than try to pin down the leader. It’s better to be effortlessly relevant, than forcing a connection. Here are some entertaining examples of forcing marketing on consumers.
  3. Understand the frequency and type of consumption for users—brands need to understand the best time of day to send messages to its users. For example, Snapchat marketers that send video snaps during the workday may face backlash.
  4. Chat messaging is mobile intimacy of the highest order—discover the most appropriate services in which users would actually want to interact with brands.


Let’s Build Together

Thanks for reaching out!

We will be in touch shortly.