Mobile messaging platform Line, which is gunning for a billion registered users by 2015 and is also reportedly considering an IPO later this year, has added a new feature aimed at boosting engagement on its platform. The feature could also result in it pulling in more revenue via its secondary money-maker, sticker sales.
The new feature, called Line Creators Market, lets Line users make and sell their own sticker sets via the messaging platform. Sets of stickers are comprised of a total of 42 images which sticker creators upload via the new tool. Image submissions will be reviewed by Line, and those that pass muster can then be sold by their maker on Line’s Web Store. Each sticker set will be priced at JPY 100 (about $1). Line said it intends to take 50% of the proceeds from any sales, sending the other 50% to the creator’s bank account (minus any local tax requirements).
Line introduced its main stickers feature to the messaging app in October 2011, allowing users to augment their text messages with visual emoticons and cartoon characters doing funny things. Paid stickers have since become a substantial revenue stream for Line, although far smaller than Line’s main one: games. Last November Line reported that 20% of its Q3 revenue came from stickers vs 60% from games.
It said today that the new crowdsourced sticker creation feature will help it localize content on its platform faster, to further grease the wheels of global expansion as it seeks to rapidly scale its user-base. As of the start of this month Line was reporting 400 million registered users so it needs to more than double that in the coming year+ to hit its own target. And sticker creators are of course required to have — or register for — a Line account in order to start making and selling stickers on its platform.
“Line will further be able to answer the needs of users through the sale of stickers made by creators worldwide, and hopes to further speed up its global expansion by offering even more localized stickers,” it noted in a press release.
Line does work to localize its sticker content for different markets and even different communities within markets — but what better way to speed up that work than co-opting local people into the effort, and giving them a further incentive to spread the app to their friends.
Although Line users can start creating stickers from today, sales for any sets that pass their review won’t start til May. They will initially be available to users in Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand — where Line’s Web Store has so far been rolled out. The company will presumably be looking to quickly expand the reach of the store into more global markets so that the new Creators Market feature can underpin its wider user-base expansion efforts.
Line said it plans to expand its Web Store into more countries and regions — but did not put any timeframe on such expansion. The store launched last September, starting in Japan.