The Pitfalls and Profits of Embracing Emojis in Your Digital Marketing
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The Pitfalls and Profits of Embracing Emojis in Your Digital Marketing
Kate Gingold
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The Pitfalls and Profits of Embracing Emojis in Your Digital Marketing

Would it surprise you  ๐Ÿ˜ฒ to learn that an emoji in the subject line increases the open rate of an email by 56%? But there are drawbacks, too, so read on before deciding to use them.

First, a brief history: People sometimes use "emoji” and “emoticons" interchangeably, but according to the experts, “emoticons” are technically created from keyboard symbols like the :-) smiley face. Emoji are more like tiny pictographs, although some platforms will automatically transform your colon/hyphen/parenthesis into a smiley face graphic.โ˜บ Emoji may also be specific to the platform or device being used, although there is a Unicode standard. Still, it’s smart to check what you think you’re sharing before using any emoji or emoticon willy-nilly.

It will come as no surprise to know that millennials and younger are the biggest users of emoji in their personal messaging. Companies for whom that demographic is their target market have spent serious dollars on emoji-based advertising and with great success. Pizza ๐Ÿ•businesses such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, for example, started order-by-emoticon campaigns back in 2016. More recently, Taco Bell generated support to add a taco emoji on Twitter and then used the new image as part of an ad campaign.

Plenty of research has been done on emoji use and emoji marketing. Humans are hard-wired to imitate facial expressions, as anyone who has ever played “stick your tongue out” with an infant will attest. Some studies show that just seeing that smiley face emoji ๐Ÿ˜„ will cause an adult to smile back, if only inwardly, making them more inclined toward an ad’s Call To Action. On the other hand, smiley faces in email, particularly business emails, are often seen as sarcasm or deception, so use this emoji carefully.

As you can see, before you begin peppering your messages with emoji, you’ll need to consider the caveats with great care. If your target market is over the age of forty, 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. ๐Ÿ˜ And unless you are extremely fluent in emoji, younger audiences will deride any 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? Emojis 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 emojis correctly from both the technical and social perspectives. Of course, there’s much more to marketing than just slapping on an emoji and the Sprocket team is ready to be your digital marketing partner. ๐Ÿค Give us a call today to find out how we can work together for your business’s success.

Photo by Tim Mossholder

This article is an update to “Is Emoji Marketing for your Business?” dated 8/28//2015.

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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