Emoji Marketing: Breaking the Monotone of your Mobile Push Notification Campaigns

Emojis are super fun and they’re everywhere! In SMS & WhatsApp conversations, marketing campaigns, and in corporate emails too! They make a boring email or a push notification lively and add a dash of personality to it.

Emojis complement words and convey better messages and emotions, adding greater colour and meaning. You might think of emojis as silly or frivolous when it comes to their use in marketing. But, these smiley faces, people, and food illustrations are actually serious business.

In fact, emoji marketing was one of the most important marketing trends in 2018 and we’re sure it’ll continue to trend in 2019 as well!

What are Emojis?

Emojis are small icons or pictographs that represent emotions, objects, and symbols. These are logographic in nature and are usually used on social media, chat messages, emails, push notifications etc.

The first emoji was developed by a Japanese designer, Shigetaka Kurita, in 1990 based on Japanese Kanji. Mainstream application of emojis in daily communication came about when Apple introduced its first emoji collection in a hidden keyboard in its first iPhone with the OS 2.2 update. Soon Android too came up with its own set of emojis, paving the way for greater user adoption.

fun facts of emojis

Emoji Fact: About 92% of people use emojis and 30.4% use them several times a day!

rising use of emojis

Source: Adweek

What is Emoji Marketing?

Emoji marketing is a creative practice of building marketing campaigns that involve the use of emojis. These include email subject lines with emojis, push notification emojis, social media posts with emojis used along with words, emojis used in graphics, emojis used in the URL, branding with emoji merchandise, and any other creative way that a marketer can think of.

Top Verticals Using Emojis in their Marketing Campaigns:

The top 3 verticals that stand to benefit from implementing app push notification emojis are:

  • Media and Entertainment
  • Food Tech
  • Online Retail

Why Should You Use Emojis in Your Mobile App Notifications?

According to a study, whenever a person sees an emoji in a message, their brain lights up the same way as when they see an actual human face. The brain categorises emojis as non-verbal information, and as a result, they are then processed as emotions. Emojis have the power to change the mood of the reader.

When you use , , or in your push notification, it is likely to make an instant “feel good” impact on whoever reads the message. And, usually people would want to click on something that makes them feel good.

Here are a few reasons to use mobile push notification emojis:

  1. Who doesn’t love emojis? Emojis can influence a users’ decision. Seeing those tiny emotion-based characters will aid and drive up your users’ urge to click on a push notification.
  2. Emojis add up a visual aesthetic to your boring push notifications and make it more appealing, sparking instant interest.
  3. Emojis can elevate your brand engagement in more unique ways. Remember how Domino’s Pizza used a Pizza slice emoji to place an order? Push notifications are a trending channel of communication preferred by mobile apps and web-based companies. They quickly grab a users’ attention and conveys your message in real time. When combined with emojis, you will see a stark increase in your user engagement. Engaging your users with emoji messages and nudging them to use emojis for transactions definitely open the doors for a new way of engagement.

  4. Emojis uplift your push notification engagement by 85%. A vast amount of research has been done on emojis and found that using emojis in push notifications and emails result in as much as a 45% increase in open rates. One of the major reasons behind this could be the very reason that they add a dash of colour to the message and spread a positive vibe. Moreover, emojis also help reduce the impact of negative messages and even increase conversions.impact of emojis on push notification open rates
  5. Emojis help you convey a lot more than just words; especially when you’re not facing your audience directly. Mobile marketers are moving to a faster and easier form of communication. With the growing popularity of emojis, they’ve already become the fastest growing form of language. With a very large number of these sent every day in emails, push notifications, brand communications, there’s no doubt that emojis have indeed become a prominent way of expressing emotions, often replacing words. This helps in communicating marketing campaigns more effectively. For example:

    Text-based message: The best place to surf this summer!

    Emoji-based message: The best place to ‍♂️ this

  6. Emojis when used right can act as a brand recall catalyst. In the case of Domino’s Pizza, the repeated use of a Pizza slice emoji over a period of time increases the likelihood of customers thinking about their brand, every time they come across that emoji.

Dos and Don’ts While Using Emojis:

Dos:

  1. Use the right emoji that resonates – one that is a good fit with your target audience and conveys your message aptly
  2. Check the appropriate meaning of an emoji in that particular geography, when you are running campaigns across geographies. You don’t want to offend certain user segments!
  3. Use emojis with purpose and relevant to the message to boost engagement.
  4. A/B test your emoji push notifications. If you find a specific emoji is increasing your open rates, then double down on them

Don’ts:

  1. Use emojis because everyone’s using them! There’s no point jumping on to the bandwagon without a clearly defined purpose for usage
  2. Go overboard with emojis! Chevrolet, the automobile giant, used an all-emoji push notification and saw a decrease in their push notification engagement rate
  3. Assume emojis explain everything. You need to strike the right balance between the use of text and emojis
  4. Use emojis to onboard a new user. Emojis are considered personal and send them only to users who know your brand very well

Bonus Emoji Quiz

Emojis are used to significantly boost engagement and encourage click-throughs. Here’s a fun quiz which has movies encrypted using emojis, try it out and rate your emoji quotient.

test your emoji quotient by decoding these emoji encrypted movie names

Click Here for Answers

Adding Emotions to Your Marketing Efforts

Give emojis a spin. They are simple, easy to use, and add a dash of personality to your push notifications. Always remember when you are opting for emojis, use positive emojis like and don’t use emojis like since they trigger negative emotions of a user.

Know your audience thoroughly and take into account their geography and ethnicity as certain emojis in one geography can mean something else in another.

When in you can always use in your push notification campaigns! In our next blog post on emoji marketing, we’ll cover some of the best campaign practices by mobile app businesses. So, stay tuned!

Vijay Mandeep

Vijay Mandeep

Vijay Mandeep is a data-driven B2B Saas marketer with a vested interest in startups. He’s passionate about growth hacking, content marketing, and everything social media for B2B SaaS. He works as Senior Growth Marketer at Smartech.