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As our daily interactions become more digitalized, emojis are becoming more mainstream – even in business communication.

If you can’t say it with words, use emojis!

From text messages, social media, digital advertising to emails, emojis are everywhere! They have become the new language to convey our emotions, actions and situation in the thriving virtual world.

Emojis are digital images, symbols and icons, which include:

  • facial expressions (smileys)
  • people
  • objects
  • nature
  • flags
  • food and drinks
  • sports
  • animals
  • buildings


Admit it, emojis do put a little more β€˜zing’ to your message. Take this for example:

I didn’t do it. versus I didn’t do it! 😁

Good morning! versus Good morning! 🌞 β˜•

I’m sorry. versus I’m sorry. πŸ’ 😒

As the digital world continues to evolve and as social media grows, emojis are becoming a LOT more user-friendly and useful in humanizing our virtual communication. However, they don’t always work as intended.

What are the basic rules on using these animated pictures and illustrations? Can you insert emojis on your business-related correspondence? How effective are they as part of your digital marketing tactics?

Let’s dig deeper… πŸ”Ž

Looking back

In 1997, Japanese mobile phones started using emoji (e – picture and moji – character) and they became popular worldwide after other mobile phone companies started integrating them into their systems in 2010. In 2018, 157 new emojis were approved, bringing the total number of emojis to 2,823.

Emoticons are different from emojis though. They’re created using characters, like punctuation marks, letters and numbers.


: – ) : – ( : – D

Or, more creative like:

( Ν‘Β° ΝœΚ– Ν‘Β°) (*^_^*) (β€’Σ©β€’)β™‘

Checking the stats πŸ“ˆ

Over 90% of online users are now using emojis. The UK claimed that emoji is the fastest-evolving language in history.

A Facebook post with emojis gains 57% more likes and 33% more comments and shares, while emojis added in a tweet increases engagement by 25.4%.

Instagram posts with emojis had a 15% higher engagement than posts without emojis, and 83% of profiles with over 1 million followers used emojis.

The top 10 emojis on Instagram are:


Most popular emojis this 2019:

πŸ’— πŸ˜‚πŸ”₯ 😊 πŸ€”βœ” πŸ‘ 😍

The top 10 emojis that are likely to create more engagement are:

πŸ™†β€β™€πŸ’πŸ πŸ’ƒπŸŒ₯πŸ’˜πŸ˜”πŸ’žπŸ’—πŸ˜’

There’s a 56% increase in open rate when you add emojis to your email subject line, but only 2% of brands are using emojis in their email subject lines.

There’s more than 80% growth in open rates in push notifications with emojis and a 9% rise in conversions. Also, customers are 4x more likely to reply to business messages if they contain emojis.

Rules when using emojis

To set the record straight, there’s no proper way of using emojis in your text messages, social media and emails, but there are some common patterns (and you’re unknowingly following these too):

1. Emojis come after the message.

e.g. Congratulations on winning the gold! πŸ†πŸŽ‰πŸ‘

2. Punctuation marks are being replaced by emojis.

e.g. Thank you for all your support πŸ™

3. People use emojis to express feelings and actions.

e.g. Where are you? 😭⌚

4. Emojis are used to replace words.

e.g. Stuck in πŸš¦πŸš—πŸš•πŸš™πŸšŒπŸšŽπŸŽπŸš“

5. We have a sequence of time, stance and action when using emojis.


πŸ™ˆπŸ”« not πŸ”«πŸ™ˆ

πŸ’ͺπŸ™‚ not πŸ™‚πŸ’ͺ

πŸ›ŒπŸšΏπŸ’„πŸ‘—πŸ‘›πŸ‘‘πŸš—πŸ’ not πŸ‘›πŸ›ŒπŸ’„πŸš—πŸšΏπŸ’πŸ‘—πŸ‘‘

6. The face usually comes before the emotion or action.

πŸ˜„πŸ‘ or πŸ˜‚πŸ‘Œ

7. We pair emojis as what we actually see.





Then again, people love to experiment. How you arrange your emojis is still up to you in order to get your message across and keep your audience engaged.

Emojis as part of digital marketing

These cute and fun pictograms are widely used because they effectively communicate feelings, thoughts and emotions. They are so effective that even big brands employ them as part of their digital marketing strategy.

Well, Chevrolet overdid it when they posted a press release β€˜written’ almost entirely in emojis. It did create a huge buzz on the Internet, challenging the netizens to decode the news. It’s confusing but it’s also fun.

However, not all users gave a favourable response to emojis. Statistics have shown that 30% of users don’t like seeing emojis or smileys in email subject lines. So, to make sure your emoji marketing strategy resonates well with your target audience, customers and clients, consider the following factors:


Who is your target market?

Do you see your audience using emojis? They are such a big hit to the younger generations, and Tenor reported that millennials, ages 18-34, enjoy using emojis, GIFs and stickers on their online interactions.

Therefore, if you’re looking to get the attention of the older population, have a test run first.

Also, for B2B marketing, these tiny graphics may appear too lax and informal.

Brand personality and voice

Emojis give your brand a personality: fun and upbeat, friendly and intriguing, or passionate and witty. But don’t force it.

For B2B marketing dealings with executives and corporate clients, your brand is expected to be serious, professional and stellar.


Don’t get lost in translation. Only use emojis when it’s relevant and it complements your message.

Just because it’s a popular emoji doesn’t mean you have to use it. Be creative.

Test your emoji marketing

Whether it’s for your social media, email marketing or online advertising, don’t go full force in your emoji marketing without doing a test run.

An A/B test is very useful in examining how your audience reacts, and you’ll want to see if emojis do increase open and read rates as well as click-throughs.

Check if these quirky graphics and smileys are displayed correctly and used appropriately.

Where to find emojis

At the end of the day, emojis shape the way we communicate virtually, and they can do wonders for your digital marketing if used strategically. πŸ˜‰

Learn the framework for developing an effective social media strategy.


Johanne See

Johanne is a writer, DIYer, and foodie who loves dogs, good reads, tech, and nature.

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