Woman with balloons shaped like emojis

Speaking the Modern Tongue: A Guide to Using Emojis for Business

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The turn of the 21st century heralded the start of the digital age, and with it came an influx of new concepts that changed the course of history forever. 

The luxuries of today’s reality transcend the bounds of plastics and radar. People today can walk into a virtual game, eat a 100% plant-based burger, print whole houses and live to laugh another day with a beating robot heart.

They can also communicate a full spectrum of emotions without using a single word.

In this blog post, we tackle the curious cultural phenomenon of the emoji, and how you can leverage its power to scale your online store.

WHAT’S IN AN EMOJI? 🌹

Invented by interface designer Shigetaka Kurita for a Japanese phone operator in 1999, the word emoji comes from the Japanese word for picture 絵, denoting e, and the Japanese word for letter or character 文字, denoting moji.

The release of Apple’s iOS 6 emoji keyboard in 2012 raised the status of emojis from a fluctuating holiday trend to a staple of modern communication. Today, emojis are used by 92% of online consumers, at an estimated rate of five billion emojis a day on Facebook and Facebook messenger alone.

Much like their 21st century inventions, consumers have also taken on new and exciting forms. As the most influential group in the global economy, the millennial and Gen Z generations make up the digital native – namely an individual who grew up around computers and who uses emojis in almost all of their online communications. 

Where eCommerce is concerned, digital natives pretty much call the shots. Brands who do not adapt to the emerging tastes and trends of the digital native are doomed to fall into the folds of time and disappear forever.

Last year, digital natives made up $350 billion worth of US spending power, with millennials leading the way at $200 billion and Gen Z following up at $150 billion. Gen Z soon took the lead as majority in buying power, representing 40% of global consumers.

WHY DO EMOJIS WORK SO WELL? 🧐💯

Like images, emojis constitute non-verbal information. They do not use words to convey meaning. Instead, they use shape, color and context.

That’s why, when we look at an emoji, we do not just see them. We also feel them.

Our brain processes emojis as emotional communications. Simply put, an emoji can turn the meaning of a sentence and tell us if a person is mad, upset or pleased with what we just told them.

In addition to their rich emotional content, our brains also process emojis at the same speed as images. Upon seeing an emoji, we register its meaning and produce an emotional reaction in as little as 13 milliseconds – making them one of the fastest and most powerful elements of written language.

I’M SOLD! HOW DO I START USING EMOJIS ON MY ONLINE STORE? 🤑💰

Before you start sprinkling emojis all over your channels hoping that they will catch the fleeting fancy of a wild shopper somewhere, it’s important to understand that – like everything else – emojis can be misinterpreted, overused and misemployed.

To serve their purpose, they must align with your brand, suit your target audience and abide by the general guidelines and best practices of using emojis for business.

HOW TO USE EMOJIS ON SOCIAL MEDIA 🤳 

When it comes to leveraging their power to spark community engagement, social media is by far one of the most ripe grounds for using emojis.

USE EMOJIS IN ORGANIC CAPTIONS 🌳

Emojis can a lot do more than turn a sentence around or add structural aesthetic to your post. A recent study by Wordstream proved that using emojis in Facebook posts can increase shares by 33% and interaction by 57%, whereas using them in tweets can spike engagement by 25%.

emojis in Starbucks official facebook page post
( Source: Starbucks )
USE EMOJIS IN ADS 🎄

Some of the best ads are emotional. They can make you laugh, aw or feel the wrath of a thousand centurions. As emotional anchors, ads with Facebook emojis drive higher click-through rate than text ads. This Adespresso A/B test proved that the right emoji can result in a 241% increase in CTR!

emojis in adespresso ad
( Source: Adespresso )
USE EMOJIS IN PAGE COMMENT REPLIES 🌱

Emojis are an excellent way to start a conversation, diffuse a situation or build rapport with your online fans. Use them generously and casually as you talk to your consumers.

emojis in page comment replies
( Source: Starbucks )

Quick Warning ⚠️ Some emoji combinations hold sexual connotations. Make sure you understand their meaning before you use them in your official online communication.

USE EMOJIS IN LIVE CHAT 🕊

Take your shoppers off guard and make your live chat bot insta-relatable with Facebook emojis. In 2015, Domino’s pizza made it possible to order a pizza by sending a pizza emoji over live chat.

ordering with emojis
( Source: Domino’s Pizza )
USE EMOJIS TO MEASURE PERFORMANCE 🎋

Facebook emojis are a great indicator of general sentiment. If your page is only getting likes, it could mean your followers have little to no emotional connection with your brand.

HOW TO USE EMOJIS IN EMAIL MARKETING 💌

As the predominant type of long-form content used by online brands, email marketing is yet another place where you could experiment with emojis to convey your brand tone, build or mend a relationship with your consumers and communicate your latest and greatest releases.

USE EMOJIS IN YOUR EMAIL SUBJECT LINE 🎩

They tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but one third of your mailing list WILL decide to open or delete your email and two thirds will judge it as spam solely by its subject line.

Quick tip 💡 Use emojis at the end of your subject line for the best results.

USE EMOJIS IN YOUR EMAIL BODY 👯‍♀️

When used inline, emojis can help your brand sound relatable, make your email easier to read by breaking up walls of text, and even increase the open rates of your next emails.

emojis in email marketing
( Source: Taskade)

HOW TO USE EMOJIS IN REVIEWS 💬

Collecting reviews is hard. Once they get their hands on your product, consumers have a tendency to disappear into the ether…until they need a refund.

Thanks to their inherent element of interactivity, emojis are an excellent workaround to this problem. When you use emojis in your online reviews, you make it easier for people to judge and convey how they feel, and you make it faster for them to do it. Now, instead of having to sit down and try to put their experience into words, they can just click the emoji that best represents their current sentiment. 

emojis in reviews

HOW TO USE EMOJIS ON YOUR WEBSITE 🛒

Off-site is not the only place your emojis can shine. There are several places on your website where emojis can definitely be an improvement – such as a floating banner, a web or mobile push notification, or a review request.

emojis in push notifications
( Source : NYTimes )

HOW TO USE EMOJIS ON DISCORD 👾

With 6.7 million active servers and 100 million monthly active users, Discord is the final frontier of online communities. 

Combining the free-form, lightly-moderated air of late 90s online forums with the accessibility and immediacy of messenger chat, Discord records four billion minutes of conversation and 850 million messages every day, putting it head to head with its more formal peers, Slack and Microsoft Teams.

emojis in discord

But unlike its formal peers, Discord emojis are an inherent part of the platform. As a Nitro user, you can collect Discord emojis, make a set of custom Discord emojis for your server and use them to react to your favorite messages and server announcements.

THE FUTURE OF EMOJIS 🌎🚀

From sentiment analysis to the representation of minorities and inclusion of the visually impaired, conversations are popping up everyday about emojis and their place in the digital age. 

While it is likely that emojis – like many of their digital predecessors – will continue to change with the times, it is safe to say that they are here to stay. 


Got a better idea? Get the conversation going on Twitter @GameballCo and tell us how you use emojis to leverage engagement and conversion for your business!

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