Twitter has figured out a way to make money off of a feature it cloned from Snapchat less than two months ago. It's now allowing advertisers to offer sponsored stickers, which will appear up front in the list of stickers that users can place on their photos.
The new ad format kicks off today with a sponsorship from Pepsi, which has paid for eight custom stickers, six of which are weird smiley faces, one of which is a trophy, and only one of which has a Pepsi logo on it. Twitter will allow advertisers to buy either four or eight custom stickers at a time, all which will appear in the "featured" section that first appears when adding them to a photo.
Like all Twitter stickers, promoted stickers will also be searchable, so you'll be able to click on that Pepsi graphic to see what people are using it for. So far it's to say, "Hi, I'm an advertising executive who worked on this Twitter/Pepsi integration."
Twitter says stickers have been added to "millions of photos" since launch
Snapchat has shown that branded photo tie-ins don't have to be terrible: people use Snapchat's branded lenses all the time, for instance, since they add super weird effects, like making your face a taco, or bring you into a specific fantasy world, like Ghostbusters or X-Men. Stickers aren't exactly that cool, but — in Pepsi's case, at least — they aren't as explicitly branded either, which makes them seem a bit more like normal stickers.
In the two months since stickers have launched, I don't think I've seen anyone use them. But Twitter says that "millions of photos" have been tweeted out with them, so maybe someone somewhere has.