The digital world continues its heavy adoption of emojis — and the fast ascendance of mobile has also given rise to the popularization of clickable emojis, called Inmojis, after the company that invented them.
Inmoji has now had enough success with its clickable icons and stickers that the San Francisco and Boston-based company has launched a self-service platform to allow companies, businesses and even bands or artists to run Inmoji campaigns at scale.
The platform, called EQ, launches today, and those who want to use it can get their Inmojis or stickers launched onto a network of 42m users across SDK-installed apps.
What’s an Inmoji?
Inmoji, as a company, has been around since 2014. The idea was to design powered clickable icons that would enable users to share their favorite brands, products and experiences directly within messaging apps. Simply tapping an Inmoji accesses rich media content with location-aware data, without ever leaving the message, like movie trailers with pertinent info on where friends could meet, or finding a cool new band shared between friends.
The company has had measurable success with users and brands. Since it is an opt-in feature, it is not intrusive and is completely shareable. Plus, according to the compmany website, “Inmoji creates significant new revenue opportunities for messaging applications, while creating authentic relationships between people and brands.”
Inmojis are baked into platforms like Tango and Badoo, and on iMessage 10 through the Inmoji ICE app and other SDK apps, like Oovoo. The company has seen success with campaigns for Disney for the Finding Dory movie, Universal for the Secret Life of Pets, and also with Starbucks, Interscope and Walmart. Additionally, company founders CEO Michael Africk and COO Perry Tell were named to the Top 12 Tech Leaders to Watch in 2017 by Inc. magazine.
The self-service process
“Right now, if you call our company and want to do a campaign, we work with you manually to get your content, then we format, help on the design and go through what other assets [someone] wants to promote. So we hand hold these companies into creating these dynamic campaigns,” said Africk, adding that he and his team then asked ‘What if it was automated?’
Africk said that not every brand that works with Inmoji is spending $100,000 nor are they spending $100, so they thought about everyone in-between those spend levels and those who wanted to be able to make a campaign by themselves. A self-service portal means that they could free themselves from the relatively labor-intensive process.
“What it’s done is it’s alleviated pressure on us to do all the formatting, because in this portal, they’re able to come in, upload an image and then create it to the spec that you’re supposed to. Then you can put in a call to action, an image that clicks through to your website or to ticketing. You can put in a Spotify link, a YouTube link…you’re creating this campaign on the fly. Then you can set your budget and location, do some targeting and then hit go,” described Africk.
At the end of that process, it shows what the campaign is going to look like, then gives it to Inmoji to launch on its network. Inmoji has made the portal so that prospective clients can upload a pack of stickers as well.
The company has a manual review process for EQ, not unlike what Facebook goes through, to review the work after it is submitted. Inmoji then checks for anything the company doesn’t deem fit for the network, including alcohol, tobacco, firearms and other riskier subjects, and also does a round of quality control.
A company poised for the next level
Inmoji currently has just 15 employees divided between its two headquarters. Africk hopes the self-service portal will help bring in more business, especially since they are a worldwide company.
“We need to be hitting every market, so what [the portal] does is effectively give us a way to get some scale,” he said.
It also gives Inmoji the ability to capture all manner of spend, from the biggest brand client to someone who may not have as much money and wants a smaller campaign, like a band launching an album.
With the self-service portal, Africk hopes to give the company more global reach and accelerate growth so that the company can facilitate quicker technological advances and business development opportunities. In a year or two, Africk feels that the portal becomes not only viable, but sought after.
“I see this portal becoming a great receptacle for all things that want to be pushed into messaging. The key is that anything that comes into our portal is user-driven,” which to him means that the user will never be bait-and-switched or forced to click. “Ours is always opt-in. You will then be curated into a library where the user will have the option of whether or not they want to interact with you,” he said.
Africk and the Inmoji team appear optimistic about the platform and the opportunities.
“I see us becoming an unbelievable platform for distribution of media – rich media, utilitarian services like location services, and information. It becomes the distribution platform for content on to messengers.”