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Embrace Emojis in Your Online Marketing

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January 22,2016

By Heather Wied, Pubsoft


I’m a millennial, but for a long time I was staunchly anti-emoji. I found them occasionally funny and mildly annoying. I would get them in text messages from friends and roll my eyes. However, one day I downloaded the emoji keyboard to my phone and used emojis for the first time. I may have gone a little overboard that day, but from then on I was hooked. I’ve become an avid emoji user, and I find one emoji can convey an entire idea and can also be quite an effective method of communication.

For being simple illustrations, many emojis have the ability to convey the right expression, mood, or feeling, and stringing them together can add even more context, so if you’re not using them in your marketing, you may be missing out. If you’re not convinced yet, let me make a stronger case. Emojis communicate ideas and many have their own connotations and subtext. If a picture is worth a thousand words, an emoji has to be worth at least a sentence.


3 Reasons to Use Emojis in Marketing

  1. Humans can process images faster than text. In a study by MIT, researchers found that humans could process images they had only seen for a mere 13 milliseconds. Now we know people can scroll through emails fast, but they don’t scroll through that fast, and an emoji is just another tool in a marketer’s arsenal to stimulate the visual component during marketing outreach.
  2. One of the principles of design for drawing a reader’s attention is contrast. What better way to add an element of contrast than to throw in a bright, colorful, fun emoji to break up the monotony and uniformity of text only.
  3. Big brands have already started to embrace them. Many inboxes are now peppered with emojis in the subject lines. Additionally, Chevrolet went all out in June of 2015 with an emoji driven campaign called #ChevyGoesEmoji. It involved an all emoji press release that readers were invited to decode, and the cipher was provided days later. While it was an attention grabbing stunt that paid off in terms of garnering media attention, we wouldn’t recommend communicating exclusively in emoji unless you will also provide the whole story later in plain English. All all-emoji format leaves too much room for communication error. We recommend using emojis to add value to communication in a fun and concise way, not hinder it.


Tips for using emojis in your marketing:

  • Know your emojis. Emojis that seem innocuous can carry a different meaning than what is explicitly pictured. Before you jump on the emoji bandwagon, familiarize yourself with some of the popular ones through sites like emojipedia. You may be surprised at what you learn you could be saying in emoji speak.
  • Don’t use them too frequently. When you use them all the time, they begin to lose their effectiveness. Reserve emoji usage for when you want to keep the tone of your marketing message light and fun and want to emphasize a particular point.
  • The rules of marketing still apply to emoji communication. Message/audience fit is a must.
  • Email marketing software platforms like Mailchimp have incorporated emojis into email subject lines, use them in your email subject lines to draw attention from other emails.
  • Use them in social media interactions with customers. It’s always fun to create a post or respond to a social media friend or follower with an expressive emoji.


Good luck out there. 




Heather Wied is the Marketing Director for Pubsoft. Follow @Pubsoft on Twitter.



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