Is Emoji Marketing a Viable Marketing Tool?

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The use of emoji has skyrocketed in the U.S. over the last decade. According to Bonfire Marketing, 92% of the online population uses emoji. Nearly all mobile operating systems now include them in their keyboards by default and Oxford Dictionaries even named “?” the Word of the Year in 2015. As is the case with any pop culture phenomenon, emoji have been adopted by many brands as a way of attracting new customers. Enter: emoji marketing.

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One of the first examples of a U.S. brand adopting emoji as a legitimate marketing tool is Domino’s Pizza. Domino’s announced in 2015 that it would be allowing users to order their favorite pizza just by tweeting “?”. You can now do the same via a text message as well. Domino’s is solidified as one of the early adopters of emoji marketing but other brands have since latched on as well. Bud Light famously tweeted an emoji American flag to celebrate the 4th of July and General Electric even created an entire website dedicated to emoji science. So, is this proof that emoji marketing works? Kind of.

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Simply throwing an emoji into an ad isn’t always the right call. Like any other marketing effort, emoji marketing needs to be done right. Chevrolet showed us the wrong way to implement emoji marketing back in 2015 with their incredibly confusing emoji-centric Chevy Cruze campaign. So how do you effectively leverage emoji marketing without pulling a Chevy? Consider emoji as a seasoning for the main dish that is your ad. Emoji don’t do much for the consumer on their own, but sprinkling one or two into an already strong marketing effort can be very effective. Looking for inspiration? Taco Bell’s #TacoEmojiEngine is a great example of a fun, engaging emoji marketing campaign that isn’t too over the top.

With 1,000+ emoji in existence, you’re probably wondering which ones to utilize. Check out emojitracker. It shows emoji use on Twitter in real time to give you a better idea of the most popular emoji worldwide. “?” is the most popular by far (It looks like Oxford Dictionaries was on to something…) followed by “❤” and “♻”.

Happy marketing! ?

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