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They’ve only been available on Snapchat since 2016, but Bitmoji creator Bitstrips actually turns 15 this week, and Snap’s celebrating the milestone with some new insights into Bitmoji adoption and usage in the app.

As outlined by Snap:

Born in Toronto, Canada in 2007, the personalized comic strip builder called Bitstrips made it possible for anyone to express ideas in a fun, creative storytelling format. Years later, Bitstrips evolved into Bitmoji, which is now used by over 250 million people every day and is an integral part of how the Snapchat community expresses and represents themselves with friends and family.”

Remember Bitstrips?

Bitstrips example

Back in the day, these simple, customizable comics dominated Facebook, which laid the foundation for the 3D versions of the same that are available as custom Bitmoji characters on Snap.

Snapchat Bitmoji characters

Bitmoji have since become a key element of the Snap experience, with more than a billion Bitmoji avatars created. In fact, Snap says that 85% of the 13-24 Gen Z population in the US have a Bitmoji avatar.

I mean, Snap did sort of push you to make one, so I’m not sure those figures are fully indicative of Bitmoji interest or engagement. But Snap has provided other numbers to underline the presence of Bitmoji in the app.

Bitmoji 15 years

The virtual clothing elements for Bitmoji have become a key focus of late, with Snap looking to merge Bitmoji characters into the next stage, as people seek digital representations of themselves that they can then utilize in new forms.

Like, say, in the metaverse.

The metaverse itself is still a theoretical concept, but the idea is built around the use of virtual representations that we can then use to interact in these new spaces – and Bitmoji characters likely fit the bill in many respects.

Of course, we don’t know if or when we’ll get to a stage where we have a fully interoperable metaverse space, where a range of platforms and avatars can interact together, and move between virtual worlds. But that’s the broader vision, and in this respect, Bitmoji characters could well become an even more important element in online engagement in future.

Which is why customization elements like new clothing options are important – and as Snap notes, there are already over a trillion possible outfit combinations available for your Bitmoji in the app.

Eventually, that could facilitate a virtual marketplace, and an all new revenue stream for Snap and for clothing retailers. That’s going to be a big opportunity in the virtual space, and Snap’s now looking to evolve Bitmoji into that next stage.

Bitmoji 15 years

To celebrate Bitmoji’s 15-year milestone, Snap’s also running a #BitmojiChallenge Spotlight Challenge.

“Show us a ‘day in the life’ of you and your Bitmoji with the chance to win up to $3,500. To participate, visit the Trending Page on the Spotlight tab, select #BitmojiChallenge and tap the camera icon. From there, create and submit!

It’s interesting to see how much Bitmoji have developed, and how Snap’s now looking to take them to the next level, in the next digital shift.