Emogi Unveil Wink - The First Branded Emoji Platform

If you're not familiar with Emogi, let me acquaint you. They're a startup who, for the past year or so, have been looking into ways to connect consumers to brands using emoji. Wink is their first fully fledged platform, and it allows brands to present emoji and GIFs through Kik, the popular messaging app.

You might not necessarily be all that familiar with Kik, but 300 million other people are, so it's a good launchpad for something like this, even if it's not as broad as WhatsApp or iMessage. Here's how it works - Kik will notice when you type particular keywords and then present you with a number of appropriate branded emojis. Think 'beer', 'sandwich', or 'movie', for example.

This basically means that brands don't have to actively guide people towards sticker packs which they then have to download. Instead, the content is delivered directly to them, whether they want it or not. It hasn't yet been disclosed exactly which clients Emogi are working with on this, but the keywords seem to be 'coffee', 'fast food' and 'beverage', none of which should come as any kind of surprise.

This is something that Facebook and Google have both been trying to break ground on, but neither of them have gone as far as actually allowing brands to access messaging keyboards. Emogi are, allegedly, in talks with a few other messaging services and dating apps, so in that sense, Wink might be the thing to push the big hitters into making that leap.

Is it intrusive? You could argue that there's nothing forcing you to use the branded content, it's just being shown to you. What's more of a worry is the fact that the words you're using in private chats are being directly monitored, but if Facebook's targeted advertising is anything to go by, there's already plenty of that going on.

Beyond Wink, Emogi have also been doing some interesting research on 'heavy users' of emoji, and the results have uncovered some telling trends. You can see the full details in this infographic, courtesy of Adweek, but in short - branded emojis are becoming more popular, flag emojis are very unpopular, and the demand for more varied emoji options is rising rapidly.

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