Natalie Charles

According to linguistic experts, emojis are the fastest growing global language of all time They are also part and parcel of every modern chat platform worth its salt. Since their appearance in the late 90s, their popularity has skyrocketed and in March 2019 the number of official Unicode emojis reached an impressive 3,019.

So popular are these expressive little icons that they’ve even broken free of the digital space to appear on bedspreads, clothing, and pretty much any other product you can think of!
First let’s recap how and why emojis came to be, then we’ll look at some important dos and don’ts when it comes to using emojis in your digital marketing copy.

Who uses emojis?

There was once a time when the answer to this question was invariably and exclusively ‘teenagers’. If, like me, you’re a child of the 90s, then chances are you’ll remember the original incarnation of emojis as the more formally named ‘emoticons’ on MSN Messenger:

MSN Messenger emojis, circa 1999

But unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20+ years, you’ll know this is no longer the case. Today, emojis are a cultural phenomenon and are currently used by 92% of the world’s online population.

Just for comparison, these are apparently all the current emojis at time of writing (though I’m pretty sure there are actually more than this!)

The current selection of emojis (2020)

The chart above is from a 2015 emoji study by messaging technology company Holler – formally called Emogi – and shows emoji usage from different age groups. As you can see, even 5 years ago there were frequent emoji users of all different ages.

Reality check – why do we use emojis?

1) Emojis make digital communication easier to understand.

When it comes to the subtleties of digital comms, tone can often be misinterpreted. A picture is worth a thousand words, and emojis are the difference between “Don’t worry about it.” and “Don’t worry about it. ” 🙂

2) Emojis are the same in every language.

The old adage that “a smile is the same in every language” pretty much applies here. Emojis can be understood by anyone, regardless of their mother tongue, that’s why they help to break down language barriers.

3) Emojis make digital communication feel more human.

In a face-to-face conversation, we take notice of the body language and facial expressions of the person/people we’re talking to. Emojis give us a similar visual context in the digital arena.

Why brands should use emojis

According to Adobe’s 2019 Emoji Trend Report, over 50% of emoji users are more likely to engage with brands that are using emojis online.

Whether you’re considering using emojis for social media, email, or your brand’s unique content, it’s important to know how they can enrich the perception of your brand.

1) Emojis give your brand personality.

Emojis can make your brand pop. When scrolling through social feeds, emojis stand out more than text alone does. If you’re promoting your cake-baking services, why wouldn’t you add a cake emoji? People generally respond well to anything that helps to humanise a brand.

2) Emojis boost engagement and drive click-through and open rates.

When Facebook ‘Reactions’ came out in 2016 , users gained the ability to respond to content in a variety of different ways (“love”, “laugh”, “wow”, “sad”, “angry”) in addition to the existing “like” button. You’ll see many brands online leveraging this feature to encourage user engagement via tactics such as voting/polls (respond with [Reaction] if X or [Other Reaction] if Y.)

3) Emojis can help set you apart from your competitors.

Many consumers react positively to brands that maintain a friendly and informal tone of voice in both their marketing, and their engagement with their target market.

Using emojis in marketing copy

The bottom line is that emojis help to communicate emotion and they not going anywhere soon. So, if you do decide to use them in your marketing copy – be it on social platforms, in emails, or nestled within a blog – here are some handy tips for doing so effectively:

  • Do make sure they are relevant
    Try and match your emojis to whatever it is you’re talking about in your post.
  • Do make sure they reflect your brand
    It’s fair to say that emojis may not be a suitable option for every type of business. It’s probably not a great idea to use emojis in your marketing efforts if it’s not in your brand’s nature to be informal.
  • Do make sure you understand their meaning
    Not all emojis mean what you think they mean. Make sure that you or someone on your team is clued up on emoji subtext before you post. (General rule of thumb: stay away from the eggplant and peach emojis!)
  • Don’t go overboard
    Don’t cram as many emojis as you possibly can into one post or piece of content – use them sparingly.
  • Don’t take them too seriously
    At the end of the day, emojis are meant to be a bit of fun, treat them as such.
  • Don’t stop using words
    Most importantly, use emojis to accompany words, not instead of. Your textual message is still important.

Handy hint: The 3 most popular emojis used globally at time of writing are:

See which emojis are being used right now by checking out the EmojiXpress real-time tracker.

Here at Coast, our copywriting and content marketing experts are well-versed in crafting powerful copy that converts. If you’d like help tailoring your content to your target audience, give us a call today on 0845 450 2086.

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