What Premium Subscription? Path Goes Sticker Happy With Latest Update

2 mins read
July 10, 2013

Earlier today Path released its latest update for iOS and Android which brings increased use of stickers within its app, a QR code to add friends and redesigned interface for iOS. The changes reveal Path’s growing reliance on stickers as its primary revenue driver and a subtle suggestion that it wants its users to add more friends to their limited network.

With the 3.1 update rolled out today, Path users can now make use of Path’s stickers in comments to status posts in addition to using them in private messages. Stickers, which easily get posted with a single tap, became a sort of revelation for Path as far as its revenues are concerned.

Included as part of Path 3.0 back in March, its $1.99 sticker packs had earned Path more money in the first 24 hours of going live than what Path had earned in its entire existence from selling photo filters and being an iTunes affiliate. As a result, Path has been adding new sticker packs in rapid succession ever since. Currently there are 25 sticker packs for sale on Path’s in-app store in addition to a free downloadable pack and a free built-in pack. Unsurprisingly, Path has yet to pay the same attention to its photo and video filters.

The other big change that came with the 3.1 update is the new look for the iPad version. All of the navigational elements have been moved to the left side of the screen with the notification button pinned to the top left hand corner of the update stream. The search bar no longer resides on top of the cover image but on the top bar across from the notification button.

For the iPad, Path got rid of the awkward photo collage display when viewed on landscape and replaced it with the regular view of the stream, only wider. It also introduced a more natural interface for the messaging component of the app, similar to Twitter’s interface for Direct Message. Following Facebook’s lead, Path also added chat heads to the iPad version which lets you keep tabs on your current conversations. These reside on the right hand side of the screen on the iPad when you’re not inside the messaging screen.

The third change to Path is the addition of a QR code as a way to quickly add new friends if you happen to be physically next to each other. QR code is also used widely by those who use BlackBerry Messenger and perhaps with Path and BlackBerry Messenger’s popularity in Indonesia, the San Francisco company may have had received some feedback to that effect and rolled the feature accordingly. The QR code is just another addition to the number of ways Path users are encouraged to promote their accounts.

Path’s self-imposed 150 friend limit, which was derived from Dunbar’s number, had been seen as a restriction to the app’s growth but the company’s sticker business would be greatly assisted if each Path user were to be connected with more people, so in that sense, it’s in Path’s interest to attract not only more users but also increase the number of friends each member has in the service. On the other hand, having the so called personal network encourage its members to promote their accounts is quite the paradox.

The ability to leave stickers as comments on people’s posts will no doubt increase not only the use of stickers but also the likelihood of people buying more stickers. Additionally, this shift in behavior will drive existing and future Path sticker designers to be more expressive and surely add variety to the kinds of stickers that they will design.

Earlier this year Morin indicated that Path will roll out a subscription or a premium feature to the personal network service in the second quarter of the year, but here we are in July and there’s no mention of said premium or subscription feature. Evidently the team’s new focus is now on delivering stickers from notable designers featuring specific character sets after all.

This mobile channel is brought to you by Samsung Developer Competition 2013. SDC ’13 is an app competition for Android apps that leverage Samsung’s mobile technologies. For more information please visit http://techne.dailysocial.net/sdc.

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