Long Live the Emoji

48% of all posts in the UK are littered with emojis: beaten only by France at 50% and Finland at 63%. The average American sends 96 emojis or stickers every day in their messages. Everyone has gone emoji crazy, and it’s not going to stop any time soon.

72% of 18-25 year olds have confessed that they find emojis a better way to convey their feelings as opposed to words. Even the Oxford English Dictionary has embraced them, crowning the emoji the Word of the Year (or more specifically, ‘Face with the Tears of the Joy’, which made up 20% of all emoji use in the UK in 2015). It’s no wonder then, that brands are jumping on the bandwagon, in a new way to communicate with customers.

From Ikea to Footlocker and everyone in between, countless brands have released personalised emoji keyboards in 2015. In fact, Ikea Russia went one step further: asking Instagram followers to suggest recipes using just 5 emojis, turning winning combinations into 15 second videos.

Taco Bell – of social media marketing success – has also integrated emojis into their social speak. Petitioning for a taco emoji, they received 33,000 signatures in a mere 7 months, resulting in a taco triumphantly now sat on your keyboard (just in case you ever want to tweet it). Not stopping there, they encouraged fans to tweet the taco along with another emoji of their choice, in exchange for a customised photo or gif. Taking it offline, they also released four taco holders with an emoji-themed design. It was a great way of engaging customers, and raising brand awareness.

You may not have thought it, but emojis have the power to do good, it seems. Enter WWF: they launched #EndangeredEmoji to highlight the fact that 17 animal emojis used everyday are endangered species. Donations were then made every time one of those emojis were tweeted. In another act of kindness, pizza lovers rejoiced when Dominos enabled customers to order from them via Twitter, simply by tweeting the pizza emoji. Now that’s convenience.

Food and beverage brands really are using emojis successfully. Coca-Cola partnered with Twitter as the first brand to receive a customised emoji. Otherwise referred to as a #hashflag, the clinking coke bottle image appears every time someone hashtags #ShareACoke on Twitter.

You do however, have to wonder whether it’s all gone too far when the Pope got his own emoji when he visited America late last year. Or when Chevrolet’s press release was all in emojis. Or when the White House included them in a report.

Brace yourselves, because it gets even more awkward, with agency SpientNitro’s app. Poking fun at many brands’ misuse of the icons, the app was designed to translate emoji meanings. Targeted at parents and grandparents to supposedly help them communicate with their younger family members, the promo video is so cringey, it’s almost unwatchable.

We get that brands want to communicate in a way that’s popular, but it’s important to keep the core customer in mind. If a brand’s target market is teenagers then sure, using emojis is great; but for older customers, what value is added from a brand including smiley faces, hearts and a thumbs up at the end of each post? Absolutely nothing.

35% of brands are using emojis on Instagram. Simply Measured researched into the most used emojis, as you can see below:

Essentially, emojis aren’t going anywhere, and if they work for your brand and target market, then by all means use them. Expect to see more advancements in the world of emoji, as Facebook are soon to update their like button to include a range of reactions through emojis. If you can cast your mind back to the discussion of a dislike button, this was the outcome. Due to be launched in the next couple of weeks, get ready to change the way in which you communicate with others on Facebook.

Plus, with 38 new emojis lined up for release mid-2016 and several more proposals, there are a whole many more icons you could soon be using.

Want help with all of your digital needs? We’re passionate about what we do, and we’d love to help you. Just send us an email at hello@photolink.co.uk and we’ll be in touch.



Most-used Emojis; source Simply Measured

Imogen Gee

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