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Emoji Marketing is Growing Fast

Emojis have turned the corner from silly to viable - and now there’s a precedent for any brand marketer to turn their Emoji game way up.

Emojis have suffered scorn from marketers’ keyboards for too long. They have been represented as the dumbing down of communication itself, instead of the next creative frontier (think of the criticism heaped upon Twitter’s 140-character limit). And even those who recognize their power have had a difficult time using them to make marketing copy fun, visual, and inclusive.

But in 2015 their moment finally arrived, and now the future looks brighter than ever. With marketing elites Domino’s and 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool leading the way, the Emoji barrier may finally have been broken – and we’ve gone through thousands of emojified content pieces to show you how to use them for better fan engagement.

Essential tip: Most simply and most importantly, think of Emojis as words – not letters!

Just because you include a 😀 in your Instagram post doesn’t mean it will get love – it’s the creative action of telling a story solely using emoji or combining words and emoji that earns Followers’ respect and engagement. That concentration on storytelling over a more paint-by-the-numbers process is what made something like Deadpool’s emoji billboard such a hit, and led to the movie's marketing campaign being called a master class in social marketing for film.


Essential tip: There’s a fine line between easy-to-understand and obvious, and another one between unclear and challenging-but-rewarding. Walk both of them – the best, most shareable puzzles are the ones people can feel excited about having figured out, but not have to take forever to do so.

Industry-wide trends

In general, brands are using emoji more than ever. We used Socialbakers Analytics to pore through the Top 500 brand pages on Facebook and Twitter this past quarter, and compared it to Q4 2014. In one year, the growth has been stark.


In Q4 2014, 28% of Facebook’s top brand pages used emoji in their posts. By Q4 2015, that had jumped to 40%.


45% of Twitter’s top profiles tweeted out emoji in Q4 last year, but 59% of them did this year.


What’s crazy is that this data doesn’t even include the year’s most famous example of emoji marketing – the Domino’s tweetza (a pizza emoji you can tweet to order pizza!). First off, that’s not really emoji marketing – it’s marketing about emoji, and there’s a plain difference – and second of all, they used it so, so much (11,976 times) that it skewed the real results. If you included that, then the incidence of emoji in tweets rose 241% in one year. That number would drive our point home, but it’s not really an honest portrayal of the situation at hand. In reality, emoji ARE becoming significantly more popular, and marketers are starting to become more adept at integrating them into their social speech. As younger audiences fully fluent in integrated emoji-and-characters writing become a larger part of your customer base, brands will need to become increasingly adept at reaching them without being patronizing.

Essential tip: Work on your emoji-text creative over some pizza.

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