Emoji Marketing: Six Tips for Making Emojis Part of Your Next Campaign

Maureen Bongiovanni

Maureen Bongiovanni

Creative Director

Fun, charming and infinitely expressive – much to no one’s surprise, emojis appear to be here to stay. In fact, the Oxford Dictionary named Emoji its 2015 word of the year. This emoji’s official name is Face with Tears of Joy, and it just so happens to be the most used emoji in the world. (Better luck next time, Emoji.)

With the popularity of emojis soaring, brands are starting to take notice too. In fact, Appboy, a mobile marketing company, cites a 777% increase in campaigns using emojis between 2015 and 2016. So we’ve put together a few rules of the road – a short list of tips to keep in mind when breaking into the world of emoji marketing.

TIP 1: Before you speak the language, learn the language.

Emojis come with their own syntax, and that syntax can change depending on your audience. For some,Emoji is just an eggplant. For others, the meaning is a little more suggestive. You might tweet Emoji to indicate a celebration, but some audiences might interpret it as a symbol of heavenly praise, while University of Miami fans may take it as a sign of school spirit. To avoid awkwardness or unintended messaging, it’s important for brands to understand the varied meanings emojis can convey.

sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_the_Ibis, http://emojipedia.org/apple/ios-9.3/person-raising-both-hands-in-celebration/

TIP 2: Use emojis to speak across generations.

Don’t think of emojis as purely a Millennial language. According to Iconoculture, Boomers, GenXers and even mature consumer groups all use emojis. With articles titled Why Emoji Are Suddenly Acceptable at Work (The Atlantic) and 24 Things That Happen When Moms Use Emojis (BuzzFeed), you don’t have to look far for proof that this visual language is a universal one.

Mom Using Emoji
source: https://www.instagram.com/p/pC0VWhsQr4/?taken-by=samantha2289

TIP 3: Keep it simple.

Learn a lesson from Chevrolet, which released an emoji press release so complicated no one could understand it. Emojis only work when the meaning behind them is clear. As soon as they become complicated, they and your brand become a source of frustration. Emojis should aid communication, not hinder it.

Chevrolet Emoji News
source: http://www.chevrolet.com/crack-the-emoji-code.html

TIP 4: Find ways to use emojis as creative elements.

As a visual language, emojis provide countless avenues for creativity. Consumers take advantage of this daily. Brands can follow suit. Sure, you can punctuate an email subject line with a few EmojiEmojiEmoji to try to draw attention. But the real value comes when you strike a chord with consumers, as Bud Light did with its 4th of July emoji post, which was retweeted nearly 143,000 times.

Budweiser Emoji Flag
source: https://twitter.com/budlight/status/485050295517335552

TIP 5: Add functionality.

Take a cue from Domino’s Pizza, which managed to bring emojis to life when it introduced Twitter ordering, which allowed consumers to order a pizza simply by tweeting a pizza emoji. The brand logged 500 participants in one day, but also enjoyed a bump in tech credibility, heavy media coverage and the Cannes Titanium Grand Prix Lion. Much like emojis, marketing success comes in numerous forms.

Pizza Emoji from Dominos
source: https://twitter.com/dominos?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor


TIP 6: Try targeting.

As of summer 2016, Twitter will allow brands to target consumers based on the emojis they use. According to Twitter, the feature “uses emoji activity as a signal of a person’s mood or mindset.”

So if one friend invites another out for Emoji, your beer brand might be able to capitalize on that interaction.



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