Emojis in Marketing:👍 or 👎?

For millennia, images and iconography have been an important part of communication and the written language. You know, like the buffalo etched into cave walls or the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. In the modern-day, our affinity for little pictures has been reflected in the rise of emojis. A large part of our communication today, emojis add a little more context, a little more color, and a little more personality to messages.

Emojis have wormed their way into more than just your group chat. They have truly become part of our modern-day written language, like a new-age punctuation. Spend a few minutes on Twitter and you’ll see that it’s not just your friends who are spitting fire emojis and batting heart eyes, it’s brands, too. Maybe a colorful, emoji-fied email subject line has already caught your eye and your gears started turning on this topic. Is everyone using emojis these days? (Hint: yes)

So, is there a benefit to sprinkling some emojis throughout your own company’s social media, email campaigns, or digital communications in general? There very well could be.

Before you schedule your smileys, here are a few things to consider.

Emojis can increase engagement

A study published by Social Media Today showed that including emojis in social media posts increased engagement dramatically with 57% of Facebook posts getting more likes and 33% driving shares and comments if they contain emojis in them. On Instagram, emojis have the power to increase engagement by 48% and Tweets with emojis saw an increase of 25%. So, if one of the goals of your social strategy is to engage with your community, then you might consider incorporating emojis into your copy.

Even beyond social media, emojis have been known to boost email open rates and interactions with push notifications. However, it might depend on your audience. Whatever your audience’s preferred communication style is, it’s best to mirror it.

Adespresso A/B tested their social ads. Everything about the ads was identical except that one ad featured an emoji in the headline. The emoji-inclusive version received a 241% higher click-through rate than the emoji-less version.

Allow you to get creative

Of course, you can add emojis right in line with your text copy, but once you have that down, there are all kinds of ways you can use them to spice up your messaging. Use emojis to create a custom bulleted list that stands out in a social feed. Boost engagement by encouraging your followers to comment with a specific emoji. Or catch attention by using them in a headline. Don’t be afraid to get creative. The key is to test, test, test, and see what works for you and your audience.

Emojis can shift tone

Much like words, emojis have connotations too. As you use them, consider how they might shape your message. Often, they can lend clarity to your written words and create more depth. Marrying the right words with the right emojis can work to round out your messaging.

However, it’s vitally important to consider what emojis you’re using and what context you’re using them in. Don’t go overboard and toss in a few faces just to be cheeky; take stock of the situation you’re in. Sometimes, an emoji would be simply inappropriate and could detract from your message. The money-mouth face emoji ( ) might be a little too bold for a non-profit requesting donations, for example. However, if you are a fun-loving restaurant advertising your happy hour – it could resonate with your fans!

Bottom line, avoid using an emoji if you think it could be poorly received. It’s best to stay away from them when discussing sensitive topics. Emojipedia is a great resource to double-check a meaning before you hit send.

Mom, please, not now.

They can develop your brand personality

All of this said, a little emoji can give a human touch to your message. Even if your brand personality is more serious in nature, it doesn’t automatically exclude you from emoji use. To help shape your brand, select a few emojis that will be some of your go-tos. What color heart are you using? Which kind of smiley best reflects your brand? Thinking proactively about what emojis fit your brand and when you could use them is a great addition to any brand playbook.

Given everything discussed above, the truth is an emoji isn’t always going to be the right move. It’s always good to get a second opinion before posting if you’re not quite sure.

Here’s a mental checklist to help you make the judgment call:

  1. Is the emoji appropriate for your brand?
  2. Will the emoji emphasize your message?
  3. Does your audience use or understand this emoji?
  4. Have you checked the meaning of the emoji you are about to use?
  5. Is it appropriate to add an emoji considering the context of your post?

Yes, tread lightly, but have fun with it! Emojis are a creative way to express your brand message and personality. They’re happening, so you might as well embrace them.

 If you need help rethinking your emoji strategy, or establishing one, the emoji experts at Fuzzy Duck are here to help.


  • Brenna Connolly

    As Fuzzy Duck’s copywriter, Brenna works diligently to make your brand voice shine. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she honed her craft in the natural foods industry where she contributed to professional websites, industry-wide publications, and social media initiatives. Brenna has written for clothing companies and newspapers alike; she’s even edited a novel. A bona fide wordsmith, Brenna is eager to help you tell your story.