Content MarketingSocial Media & Influencer Marketing

Are Emojis Effective In Your Marketing Communications?

I’m not sold on using emojis (graphical representations of emoticons). I find emojis somewhere in between texting shortcuts and cussing. I personally love using them at the end of a sarcastic comment, just to let the person know I don’t want them to punch me in the face. However, I’m far more careful when utilizing them in a business atmosphere.

What is an Emoji?

Emoji is a word derived from Japanese, where e (絵) means picture and moji (文字) means character. So, emoji translates to picture character. These are the small digital icons used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication. They’ve become integral to online and text-based communication, adding a visual element to express feelings or concepts.

Then What’s an Emoticon?

An emoticon is a facial expression composed of keyboard characters, such as :).

Emojis have become a part of everyday human language. In fact, the 2015 Emoji Report by Emogi Research found 92% of the online population uses emojis, and 70% said emojis helped them to express their feelings more effectively In 2015, the Oxford dictionary even chose an emoji as the word of the year! ?

But they are being used effectively by some marketers! Brands have increased the usage of emojis by 777% since January 2015.

Emoji Use In Marketing Communications

Emojis can be a valuable tool in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) communications, but their use should be tailored to the context and audience.

Emoji Use in B2C

  1. Marketing Campaigns and Social Media: Emojis can make content more engaging and relatable. They are effective in social media posts, advertisements, and email marketing to grab attention and convey emotions or concepts quickly.
  2. Customer Service: Used judiciously in customer support, emojis can make interactions feel more personal and friendly.
  3. Brand Personality: Emojis can help express a brand’s personality, mainly if the brand targets a younger demographic or operates in a more casual industry.

Emoji Use in B2B

  1. Professional Emails and Messages: In B2B settings, emojis should be used sparingly. They can convey positivity or agreement subtly, but overuse or use in serious contexts can be seen as unprofessional.
  2. Social Media Engagement: For B2B social media, emojis can be used to make posts more engaging, but it’s crucial to maintain a professional tone.
  3. Internal Communications: Within teams, emojis can help lighten the tone of internal communications and effectively break down barriers in less formal interactions.

Emoji Use Best Practices

  • Understand the Audience: Emojis should align with the expectations and preferences of the target audience.
  • Context is Key: Emojis are more suitable for informal and marketing-driven content. In formal documents or serious communications, they are generally inappropriate.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Be aware of cultural differences in interpreting certain emojis.
  • Consistency with Brand Voice: Emojis should be consistent with the overall voice and tone of the brand.

Emojis can enhance communication in B2C and B2B contexts by adding personality and emotional depth, but they should be used judiciously and in alignment with the audience and communication tone.

Is There an Emoji Standard?

Yes, there is a standard for emojis that ensures consistency across different platforms and devices. The Unicode Consortium maintains this standard. Here’s how it works:

  1. Unicode Standard: The Unicode Consortium develops the Unicode Standard, which includes a set of code points for each character, including emojis. This standard ensures that a text (including emojis) sent from one device is displayed correctly on another device, regardless of the platform, operating system, or application.
  2. Emoji Versions: Unicode releases new versions periodically, often including new emojis. Each new version of the Unicode Standard may add new emojis or modify existing ones.
  3. Platform-Specific Designs: While the Unicode Consortium decides what each emoji represents (like “smiling face” or “heart”), the actual design of the emoji (color, style, etc.) is determined by the platform or device manufacturer (like Apple, Google, Microsoft). This is why the same emoji can look different on an iPhone than an Android device.
  4. Backward Compatibility: New emojis are added regularly, but older devices or systems may not support the latest ones. This can result in a user seeing a placeholder image (like a box or question mark) instead of the intended emoji.
  5. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Most platforms strive to maintain compatibility with the Unicode Standard, but there can be variations in how certain emojis are interpreted or displayed.
  6. Regional Indicator Symbols: Unicode also includes regional indicator symbols, which allow for the encoding of flag emojis for countries.

The adoption of the Unicode Standard by major tech companies ensures a high degree of uniformity and interoperability in the use of emojis across different platforms, applications, and devices.

Emoji Marketing Examples

This infographic from Signal walks through many examples of use. Bud Light, Saturday Night Live, Burger King, Domino’s, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell have incorporated emojis into their marketing communications. And it’s working! Emoji-enabled ads generate click-through rates 20x higher than the industry standard

Signal also details some of the challenges with Emojis. Check out the infographic below! ?

Emoji Marketing

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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