The rise of emojis in modern digital marketing

The rise of emojis in modern digital marketing
April 15, 2016 Madeleine Helme

You’ve probably seen them and maybe even used them, now they’re making their way into brand communications as well. The word emoji comes from Japanese characters that can be roughly translated to ‘picture letter’ or ‘picture character’. Emojis are a way of expressing emotion or an idea in a small pictorial form, as opposed to having to type it out using words.

It can be difficult to convey emotion purely through text. We usually rely on things such as tone of voice and facial expressions in actual conversations. Add this to the fact that emojis are fun and adorable, it’s no wonder that people, particularly younger generations, are increasingly adopting them in mobile conversations and on social media.

But what place do they have in marketing, and should you be using emojis for your brand?

Why emojis are conquering marketing

Emojis are the perfect tools for conveying simple or complex ideas and emotions in a small amount of space. This makes them ideal for marketing messages which have limited character counts, such as Tweets and email subject lines. Rather than wasting precious space spelling out how you’re feeling, simply add an emoji at the end of your message.

They also help you to communicate your message more effectively due to the fact that they are globally recognized. Everyone around the world knows what a sad or a happy face looks like, so it doesn’t matter what language you speak or what country you’re from. This is great for brands that target a global audience.

Obviously, they are also visually engaging because they are bright and colourful, and easy to relate to. This appeals to our ever decreasing attention spans, as our eyes are drawn to them and we immediately recognize what they are portraying, without having to invest time in reading too much text.

Brands should aim to appear genuine in their marketing messages and communicate like real people. This humanizes the brand, making it easier for their customers to relate to them and encourages them to engage. Since more and more people are using emojis in their personal conversations, it is now becoming a normal way for people to communicate online and, especially, via mobile. So, brands incorporating emojis in their marketing will appear more genuine and personable.

Should your brand use emojis?

Emojis won’t be suitable for every brand, however. Businesses that target other businesses as their customers might want to avoid using them as they might appear too cutesy and trivial and, therefore, come off as unprofessional. Emotion is more of a factor in B2C marketing, so this is where they can really make a difference and appeal to your audience.

Try testing the use of emojis in your marketing first. Start with something small in a social media post or email subject line and see what the reaction is before creating a major marketing campaign around them. Make sure that you cater your use of emojis to your audience; pay attention to what language they use and assess how you can reflect this in your marketing messages. You can also monitor which emojis are popular with tools such as EmojiTracker.

So, would emojis work as part of your marketing strategies? If you’re targeting consumers, especially younger generations, then they could definitely be a useful tool for increasing engagement and raising brand awareness.

After working in marketing for two years I decided to become a freelance writer. In my spare time I enjoy watching films and television and keeping fit through going to the gym and practising taekwondo.