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Just How Much is an Emoji Worth?

In 1999, Shigetaka Kurita, a Japanese artist, created something that would change the world forever…the very first emoji. In the mere twenty years since then, emojis have become critical to our style of communication. In fact, the iconic “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji was named the Oxford Dictionary Word of The Year. While this may sound crazy, (especially because an emoji isn’t even a word), the stats make it hard for actual words to compete with. Emojis are used in over half of all Instagram comments and are sent over 5 billion times a day on Facebook. Unlike words, they are universally understood, and transcend barriers of language, age, and culture! In our ever-connected digital world, they provide us with an avenue of communication we can all easily access and utilize. Emojis are more than a simple way to brighten your text messages and draw attention to your social posts. They can also serve as an avenue to convey emotion and even influence your audience. Brands are increasingly using them in their marketing and, when used properly, these efforts can be highly successful.   World Wildlife Fund (WWF) needed to raise brand awareness and attract younger audiences to their conservation work, so they hired emojis to get the job done. Their #EndangeredEmoji campaign was simple, yet allowed them to reach a whole new audience. First, WWF changed their profile picture from the iconic panda to an emoji panda and then encouraged their fans to tweet emojis of endangered animals (such as the elephant, whale, tiger, and penguin) and donate 0.10 euros (equal to 11 cents) per emoji. The campaign finished with 559,000 mentions which in turn led to a total of 59,000 donation signups in just under three months. The beauty of this campaign was its simplicity in not only raising money but also growing brand awareness. It allowed users to participate in a matter of seconds and encouraged them to donate to a good cause.   Domino’s Pizza also received some major attention for their groundbreaking emoji ordering campaign. This campaign allowed customers to order a pizza simply by tweeting a pizza emoji at Domino’s or using their hashtag #EasyOrder. This streamlined their ordering process down to mere seconds and also created some major buzz about their brand at the same time. This generated over 500 orders in only one day of operation and also a huge increase in their other modes of online sales. By running this campaign, Domino’s was able to almost claim the pizza emoji for themselves and also generated tremendous amounts of attention on social and beyond. Twitter was quickly filled with pizza emojis, all of which led back to their profile and their online ordering platform.   Emojis don’t have to be limited to only digital marketing though. The movie Deadpool combined emojis with a billboard for another extremely popular marketing campaign. This billboard, which was simply the skull emoji followed by the poo emoji and a large letter L (to spell out Deadpool) was just one of the many innovative marketing techniques that went viral. Though incredibly simple, the emojis grabbed audiences’ attention and led them to associate these commonly used emojis with the movie, regardless of the context. In addition, their use of an “emojigram” required audiences to pause and try to decipher what the billboard was saying. The movie went on to gross $782.6 million, so it’s fair to say their marketing efforts were well rewarded. While your brand may not be ready to provide emoji spurred ordering, these campaigns can certainly serve as inspiration. If your brand hasn’t been using emojis on social media, in ads, or even in some email marketing, it’s definitely time to. Twitter posts that use at least one emoji see a 25% increase in engagement and on Facebook that percentage jumps to 33%. Emails are another great medium for emoji usage, leading to a 50% increase in opens when emojis are placed in the subject line. Even if you are already utilizing some emojis in your marketing, it may be time to consider beefing up your emoji use. There are many simple ways to do this, that can have a lasting impact on your marketing across all channels and mediums. Check out these tips: Craft your brand’s personality through emoji usage. Are you more of a red heart brand or a tongue out one? Focus on the emojis that correlate with your brand and use them often, claiming them as your own and encouraging your audience to associate them with your brand. Do your emoji homework. If you’re not 100% sure what an emoji is suggesting, make sure you know before using it. Otherwise, it could lead to confusion. There are plenty of great examples of emoji marketing fails. Stay off that list by making sure you understand the literal and assumed meaning of each emoji before using it. While most of us know to avoid using the peach emoji, there may be a few double meanings you aren’t aware of! Connect with customers. When communicating with your customers via live chat or direct message, don’t shy away from using emojis! They can help you convey emotion and allow your communications to feel more personal. Sometimes a smiley face can go a long way! Be creative and have fun! Consider creating an emojiram for your customers to decode or spend some time on Emojipedia to get some inspiration and insights into what is happening in the world of emojis!   Written by Kateri Bean.
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