Emojis can be a contentious topic for some people. While the majority of people, regardless of age, love them, for others emojis seem childish and unnecessary. But no matter which side of the fence you lean on, emojis have become a fact of life. Their popularity has skyrocketed since they were introduced in the late 90s – originally, there were a mere 176 official emojis, whereas now there are over 3,000. There is also heaps of merchandise available, and there was even a (terrible) movie released in 2017.
The big question is, do you need to use emojis? Lots of marketers insist that they’re an essential part of certain campaigns, especially when it comes to email subject lines, but is this really the case? We’ve explored the emoji phenomenon in a little more detail below.
WHO USES EMOJIS?
Once upon a time, the answer to this question would have been simply teenagers. When emojis were first coming into their own, on mobiles and platforms like MSN Messenger, they were predominantly used by a younger generation. Emojis, also known as emoticons, were a way of expressing feelings that were hard to convey via text.
But these days, emojis are used pretty much universally. Approximately 92% of the online population uses emojis on a daily basis. And it’s not just teenagers either – according to a report from Holler (formally named Emogi) a few years ago, the use of emojis is pretty consistent throughout various age ranges.
The Benefits of Emojis
So why do people use emojis? They’re essentially like illustrating your messages, which could seem an odd thing for adults to do. But the more you think about it, the more benefits there are! First of all, an emoji can contextualise a message. It’s hard to convey your tone through the written word, but with an emoji, you can make sure your message isn’t misinterpreted. There is a world of difference between ‘Not to worry…’ and ‘Not to worry…’. As you can’t read facial expressions or body language through text, an emoji allows you to determine any inflection points.
Another advantage of emojis is that they are universal. No matter what language you speak, you can understand what an emoji signifies. Just as body language and facial expressions are pretty universal, emojis can also break down language barriers.
Emojis in Business
When it comes to using emojis as a brand rather than an individual, you may assume that they are too informal. We use emojis with our friends and family – surely it would be odd to try and connect with our audience through emojis? Actually, around half of the emoji users online are more likely to engage with a brand that uses emojis too. Obviously you can’t use emojis indiscriminately – sometimes they can be inappropriate, especially when you’re discussing a sensitive topic. But for most brands, whether it’s via social media, online content, or customer emails, emojis can be a useful tool.
The main benefit of using emojis in business is that they can boost your engagement levels and open rates. On social media, it’s evident from the introduction of Facebook ‘Reactions’ that expressing ‘like’ for something wasn’t enough – people wanted to respond in other ways to online content. And with email marketing, just about everyone will tell you that you should include at least one emoji in your subject line to improve the open rate. There are even subject line testers that will score your line better if an emoji is used.
Emojis can furthermore make your brand stand out from the competition. If your product is aimed at a younger demographic, or even if a less formal tone of voice is simply more appropriate, using emojis can set your content apart, and allow you to increase your engagement with your target audience. Emojis can humanise your brand. In the online copy itself, an emoji will jump out at you too, as it breaks up the stark text.
Top Emoji Tips
Emojis are probably here to stay, so if it’s appropriate for your business to use them, make sure you do so effectively! It goes without saying that they need to be relevant – no matter how much you may love pineapples, it’s probably not a good idea to include the pineapple emoji in a post about income tax. Unless of course your brand is The Pineapple Agency…
Another thing to keep in mind with emojis is that some of them have more than one meaning. So before you post copy with emojis included, either run it past someone who is up to date with emoji double entendres, or Google it quickly first!
And when it comes to things to avoid with emojis, there are three main things to remember:
- Don’t replace words with emojis – your message is still important, so don’t detract from this by replacing every other word with an emoji instead!
- Emojis should be used sparingly. So try to avoid going completely overboard, using more emojis than letters
- Emojis are not a serious thing – they’re intended to convey tone and be a bit of fun. Try not to overthink it!
Overall, if you’re not already using emojis, now could be a great time to start! Even if you’re not personally a fan… They can lead to increased engagement and conversion, as well as make you stand out from the crowd. And if you’re stuck on which emojis to use, you can check out the most popular emojis via EmojiStats.