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Analisa Jones

Published on

July 25, 2019


digital marketing, emoji, social expressions

How often do you use emojis? Every day? Every hour? Think you’re an expert, huh? Test your knowledge by taking our quiz.


Various small images, symbols, or icons used in text fields in electronic communication to express the emotional attitude of the writer.

First appearing on Japanese mobile phones in the 90s, emojis spread like wildfire and have since grown to become an integral part of today’s digital communication. Are emojis a language in and of itself? While the answer may be unclear, there’s no doubt our cute and cuddly emoji friends add more context and meaning to our messages.

With 36% of millennials using emojis daily, it’s critical marketers use them wisely. Here are a few things to consider as you utilise emojis in your day-to-day strategy:

Are They Relevant to Your Brand?

While emojis are universally recognised, this doesn’t necessarily mean your brand should jump on the bandwagon and implement them into every message you put out. Consider your industry and if emojis are appropriate for your target audience. Most emoji users are millennials, so if you’re marketing to executive-level decision-makers, use emojis sparingly; although, B2B brands shouldn’t totally discount the power of emojis. B2B brands should test emojis in their messaging to see if they garner more engagement. On the flip side, if your brand is in the consumer industry, for example, lifestyle, travel, health and beauty, etc., the use of emojis is common and even encouraged.

Pick the Right Emojis

Just because emojis are widely used, doesn’t mean they have always interpreted the way we intend. Interestingly enough, we’ve naturally misinterpreted the meaning of a surprising number of emojis. For instance, did you know that the smiling emoji with open hands were meant to symbolise hugging? Instead, we often use this emoji to convey that we are very expressive and excited. Another example is the woman emoji with her left hand pointed out. While we like to use this emoji to covey sassiness, she’s actually an “information desk woman”. Her hand gesture is supposed to symbolise her asking how she can help. Who knew!

More importantly, be careful not to send the wrong message with your emojis. Marketers should research their emoji use when it comes to marketing in new countries and markets with different cultures. You don’t want to accidentally offend your target audience with your emojis. For example, one emoji you should exercise caution with is the thumbs-up emoji. A sign of approval in the US, the thumbs up emoji is considered an insult in West Africa and the Middle East. When in doubt, do a little research.

Test, Test & Test Some More

When it comes to emojis, you’ll never know if they work unless you try them out. Recently, more brands are experimenting with using emojis in their meta titles on SERPS. While emojis may incite more clicks, they take up more characters, forcing you to write shorter title tags. Additionally, if Google decides to one-day ban emojis from search, your metadata will likely default to showing code. If you experiment with emojis in your metadata, be sure to keep an eye on Google’s changes to ensure this doesn’t happen. In the meantime, test out emojis and see how your target audience reacts.

Another popular trend is using emojis in your brand’s email strategy, specifically in your subject lines. Some brands that tested emojis in their subject lines reported their open rates increasing by upwards of 25% compared to their text-only subject lines. On the flip side, other brands claim emails with emojis in their subject lines decrease their open rates by 60%. In short, keep on testing. You won’t know how your audience will react to emojis in your marketing efforts until you try. As you experiment, make adjustments and keep notes of your results.

As emojis continue to infiltrate our everyday communication, it’s important for marketers to keep an eye on their updates, meanings and trends. Continue to ask yourself if emojis are relevant to your brand’s comms, if you’re using the right emojis for your growing market and what emojis best communicate your message. Looking for more emoji tips and tricks? Check out our latest guide.


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