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Marketing Emojis: 👎 or 👍?

Scrolling through your notifications or your inbox, you’ll likely see some familiar emojis. Whether it accompanies a “Time is Running Out 🕐” subject line or a “🎉 It’s the weekend!” push notification, marketing emojis are prevalent in the messages we all receive.

Do they really work though? What’s the draw for marketers to include emojis in their messages? Let’s explore why marketing emojis are popping up in our inboxes and if there is any data to support using them or if they’re just for fun.

Text Alone Can Be Misinterpreted

Who remembers the OG emojis, emoticons? 🙋‍♀️ Combinations of punctuation and letters were used to convey a feeling—an emotion. Adding “:)” or “:P” to the end of the text added value beyond the written words.

As texting emerged as a popular way to communicate, it became clear that intent of the message may be lost in translation, depending on how the recipient read the text. Consequently, images were added to confirm the emotion behind the text. With the introduction of emoticons, as Wired puts it, “You could convey sarcasm by tacking on 😉 at the end of your message, or share your ambivalence with the ¯_(ツ)_/¯ face.”

Text without this confirmation of intent can be easily misinterpreted. As points out, “people think others understand their messages 90 percent of the time, but the actual statistic is only 50 percent.”

Adding emojis to a message can not only solidify the intent behind the text, it can break down barriers.

Emojis Are a Universal Language

Another appeal of using images instead of text is that they’re understood cross-culturally. Emotions are understood regardless of the language people speak. When someone smiles, you know they’re happy. Emojis provide similar context clues to text on a global scale. Even if the accompanying text isn’t understood by all, a “😀” at the end will inform the reader that this is a happy, kind message.

In reality, symbols are used in everyday life to communicate guidelines and rules, regardless of where you are. An example that comes to mind is traffic signs. Red hexagons mean “stop,” green lights mean “go” and red circles with a line through the middle mean “don’t.” Like these widely accepted traffic signs, emojis are quickly becoming global symbols.

While emojis can clarify messages and are understood across the globe, should they really be used in marketing messages?

Using Marketing Emojis

Emojis are used in daily, casual conversations, sure, but should they be used in marketing? Because emojis, as a whole, are generally seen as fun and playful, it’s critical that brands grasp when it may or may not be appropriate to use them. A law firm, for example, may not want to include “🕺” in their emails to clients, but an amusement park can go nuts with “🎢” or “🤪.”

Brands that inherently have a lighter tone and offer playful products can incorporate marketing emojis into their messaging to perpetuate their identity as a fun-loving brand. As long as the use of emojis aligns with your brand’s values and personality, they can enhance your marketing messaging.

One way to explore whether or not emojis are resonating with your audiences is to test. A/B testing will give you a sense of what’s working and what’s not. Either between different emojis or simply between using and not using emojis in subject lines or social posts. “Every audience is different, so dive into all available data to see how your audience responds to their use.”

With the ability to collect data and build profiles on individual customers, you can appeal to their emotions on a personal level.

Emojis Work in Conversational Marketing

Marketing has evolved from talking to consumers to talking with consumers. Rather than using marketing jargon, brands should aim to speak directly with individual customers, like they’re having a friendly conversation. Just as you would with friends, while adopting this more laid-back style of communication, your brand can use emojis with your customers.

Talking with customers as friends can reach them on an emotional level versus just flooding them with promotions and offers and hoping something sticks. Building a deep connection with customers leads to a strong relationship. A better relationship can then increase customer lifetime value.

Not only does emotion build relationships, it plays into the shopping experience. According to Psychology Today, “functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).”

Emotions Solidify Connections & Decisions

A study in the International Journal of Social Sciences and Education Research stated, “the most important features of emojis are that they can reflect emotions and pass those emotions to the other side. If visual content is often thought to leave a greater emotional impact than words, the benefits of adding emoji to campaign messages can be understood.”

If you can use emojis to evoke emotions that are aligned with what you want your customers to feel when they think of your brand, go for it.

To see how you can use customer data collection to create personalized experiences for your customers, request a demo today.

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