Emoji’s have become part of our everyday life. Now even having their own celebratory ‘Emoji day’ (it was July 17th FYI). So it’s no surprise brands have started to capitalise on the trend. Emoji’s are currently the UK’s fastest-growing language and brands are beginning to build them into their marketing campaigns. Why? Because the biggest users of Emoji’s are Millennials, a recent study revealed that 72% of 19-25s actually find it easier to express their emotion through the digital language than the written word.   

So we know that Emoji’s are not only important to a huge age demographic but what relevance does it really have for brands? 
To put it simply, there are seemingly endless way to use Emoji’s and their ability to engage directly with users make them incredibly valuable. Some forward-thinking brands are already adapting to the Emoji rise by taking new and, some might say, risky approaches to their marketing campaigns.

Lots of brands are jumping on the bandwagon, but here a few worth taking note of.

Emoji’s in email  

With more email clients, including Outlook and the iPhone Mail app, supporting Emoji’s in subject lines it's no surprise that some brands have seen its potential. However not all email clients support the use of Emoji right now, and in some clients they may be converted to a special Emoji, for example on iOS devices they will be converted to Apple’s own.

According to data from Salesforce's Marketing Cloud, 2% of B2C emails now contain Emoji’s in the subject line, and email delivery vendor MailChimp says that 214,000 campaigns have been sent with containing them. 

Emoji graph email
However, MailChimp says the jury is still out on the effect of Emojis as it hasn't yet seen a positive or negative impact from using them. However, they point out that Emojis are great for packing more information and emotion into shorter messages. They also identified that MailChimp customers who use Emojis in their campaigns tend to have lists with different client compositions than normal

For example they have recipients with higher iPhone usage than customers who don’t send Emojis (87% vs. 61%). They also typically have far fewer Hotmail (2% vs. 9%) and Outlook (2% vs. 14%) recipients than normal.

Emoji’s in search engine result pages (SERPs)

Panda emoji SERPS

It was reported this year that Google began displaying Emoji in the desktop search results. The plan was for SEOs to leverage this change by adding Emoji to their title tags, hoping for more Google juice and clicks. Expedia was one companies that jumped on the opportunity with possibly a bit too much enthusiasm as shortly after the launch of Google announced they were dropping the idea, citing that search results simply got a bit too cluttered looking.  They had a point but maybe a set limit would have been a better option as the Emoji cult (rumour has there’s even Emoji movie in the offing) does not look like going away and they can convey a lot of info in a small space.

Emoji’s + Food = Yum or not

If picking up a phone or opening an app is a bit too much for you some days, Domino’s has the answer. The convincing and time-saving of Emoji’s were perfectly illustrated by Domino’s ‘tweet to order’ campaign. Available to customers in the US since May 20th this year, once customers had registered and set up an ‘Easy Order’ account with Domino’s including details of their pizza preferences, simply tweeting a pizza Emoji would result in fresh hot pizza delivery. 

McDonalds Emoji debacle 

The McDonald’s minimalist billboard ads are made up entirely of Emoji’s to get the message of the people pleasing ability of its meals for their campaign named ‘Good Times’. In Bristol, one of their billboards was creatively defaced with the addition of a vomiting Emoji at the end. 

McDonalds emoji Bristol

The Bristol branch of e3 walked past the board every day and some of us thought it was McDonalds trying to ironically funny/clever. Oh dear. It also inspired some parody outdoor ads that were not in the plan.    
However, the McDonald Emoji experiment has carried on unabated and the recent slightly creepy TVC suggests that they are heavily invested in Emoji’s. 

FinTech and Emoji’s

Emoji fintech

Intelligence Environments, a digital financial services company, claims to have created the world’s first Emoji only passcode, allowing people to log into their bank accounts using Emoji’s instead of using a 4-digit PIN code. They say it is mathematically more secure and easier to remember than traditional passcodes.

Beware of the bandwagon. 

If you are thinking about using Emojis the fundamental rule is don’t just use them for the sake of it just because they are popular. If you think that you can directly engage with your audience in a relevant way through Emojis, then do your research, involve yourself in the community and collect as much data as possible before your launch a campaign. 

Start to test the waters by slowly incorporate Emojis on social, forums and whatever digital outlets you use on a daily basis, this will give you a reaction barometer and confirm if your users feel comfortable with you communicating with them ‘in emoji’ then dial up or down from there. Emojis are fundamentally designed and enjoyed because their light-hearted and fun. Brands who try to corporatise them, or attempt dominate conversations may find their customer staring blankly back atemoji apatheticor emoji sad or evenemoji sick.  

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