Emoji Use on the Rise in Marketing

Emoji Use on the Rise in Marketing

Locavore, hypermiling, refudiate, selfie, and…. ‘Face with Tears of Joy?’ () One of these things is not like the others. These words are all past winners of Oxford Dictionary’s coveted Word of the Year award, but the most recent winner is not a word at all, it’s an emoji. The use of emojis spiked in 2015 (a contributing factor to the award winner), and only continues to grow. Emojis have been embraced by many as a new way of communicating, and marketers are no exception.

The use of emojis in marketing messages is rapidly increasing; a recent study by Appboy found that their use has grown 775% year-over-year, and, in 2016 alone, is growing by 20% each month. Reasons for this growth are varied, but for mobile marketers, emojis are short, sweet, and to the point. They can provide nuanced expression very simply; expression that other forms of content cannot achieve – at least not quite as adorably or with as much attitude (I’m looking at you, eye rolling emoji).

Appboy Graph with Logo_High Res

Forrester suggests that appealing to emotion is one of the most effective ways to improving customer experience and brand loyalty, and emotional appeal has been shown to improve the ROI of email marketing campaigns. *insert confetti emoji here*

There are many brands that have begun to integrate emojis into their marketing messages – especially when targeting millennials. They are trying to find new ways to target a generation in which 40% of people would rather communicate with pictures than with words.

Based on personal experience, one thing millennials may like even more than emojis is pizza, and Domino’s found a way to use this to its advantage. Streamlining the pizza ordering process to five seconds and no human interaction? Genius. It is now possible to order a pizza from Domino’s by simply texting the pizza emoji to their number. Pizza + instant gratification = .


Domino’s is not alone in its emoji-laden marketing. Others like Baskin-Robbins, Bud Light, General Electric, and even Hillary Clinton are also joining the party. You don’t need something as elaborate as Domino’s emoji ordering to integrate emojis into your marketing. A simple flower in your landscaping company’s email subject line will suffice.

Emojis add a touch of frivolity to marketing that may otherwise seem dull or uninteresting. They allow marketers to quickly communicate a message, and grab the fleeting attention of mobile users. But use them to compliment your campaign, don’t rely on emojis alone to carry your message. VP of marketing at Appboy, Marissa Aydlett, said, “There are many other factors that contribute to the success of a message: tone, goal of campaign, message content, images, what the landing page or deep-linked mobile experience is like when the user arrives there. Everything needs to connect… As a best practice, emojis should be relatable. Messages should be contextual. It’s not only about the demographic.”

So go ahead, go crazy, add an emoji or five to your marketing message, but just remember to stay focused on your goal and to stay true to your brand.

Share this post