Is Emoji Marketing for Your Business?
The Sprocket Report
You have no doubt been the recipient of a message with emoji and maybe you even use them yourself with friends, but how do you feel about emoji and your business? The statistics may surprise you, but you might want to think twice before jumping on the bandwagon.
Let’s first share a brief history if you aren’t familiar with emoji. Some people use “emoji” and “emoticons” interchangeably, but according to experts, “emoticons” are technically created from keyboard symbols like the :-) smiley face. Emoji are more like tiny pictographs.
Some platforms will automatically transform your colon/hyphen/parenthesis into a smiley face graphic.☺ In fact, most emoji are specific to the platform or device being used. That means the smiley face emoji you use for a Facebook post may not work properly in a tweet. Check what you’re really sharing before using emoji willy-nilly.
It will come as no surprise to know that millennials and younger are the biggest users of emoji in their messaging. Companies for whom that demographic is their target market have spent serious dollars on emoji-based advertising – with great success. Pizza Hut, for example, has won awards for their order-by-emoticon campaign.
There’s scientific research that shows how and how well emoji marketing works. Humans are hard-wired to imitate facial expressions, as anyone who has ever played “stick your tongue out” with an infant will attest. Apparently just seeing that smiley face emoji will cause an adult to smile back, if only inwardly, making them more inclined toward an ad’s Call To Action.
But before you start peppering your messages with emoji, consider the caveats. If your target market is NOT millennials or younger, your effort may be wasted if not actually harmful. Folks in more mature demographics consider emoji too frivolous for business situations and may be offended by what they see as a flippant or overly-familiar response.
And unless you are extremely fluent in emoji, millennials deride amateurish attempts as blatant pandering to gain their attention. Big names like Chrysler, McDonald’s and even the White House have learned this lesson to their chagrin.
So what’s the final recommendation from experts? Emoji do work to engage people, but you need to really know and respect your audience to use them to your advantage. Also, a little research helps to use emoji correctly from both the technical and social perspective.
Are you already using emoji in your marketing? Please share - we’d love to hear about your experience! And if your online marketing could use a little boost, give us call and we’ll talk over some options. We’re always happy to help!