How many times have you texted or chatted with a friend through social and used an emoji to convey your emotions? How many times have you posted the cha-cha woman to celebrate or a few food emojis to show your significant other what you feel like having for dinner?

The people have spoken. We love emojis! In fact, emojis are having a major moment. A whopping 92% of the general online population uses emojis and approximately six billion emoticons and stickers are delivered worldwide every day via mobile messaging apps.

It’s clear that emojis are our digital guilty pleasures. But why? According to a survey of U.S. Internet users, 70% think emojis help them more accurately express what they’re thinking and 65% say it’s easier for people to understand them.

But there’s a more profound finding from the research that also presents marketers with a great opportunity: 50% of North Americans said emojis help them create more personal connections with other people. By incorporating emojis into their social posts and even their marketing messaging, brands can spark these connections and further engage their audiences. Still not sure whether emojis are right for your brand? Let’s break down the facts (and fictions) here:

Emojis don’t add any value

FICTION: You may think emojis are just marketing fluff, but think again. Research from Appboy notes that 70% of consumers believe brands that use emojis are fun, relatable or normal. Incorporating emojis into a social post, email copy or even an email subject line can help you capture attention and draw your customers in. It’s also a great way to add some personality to your marketing and, in a way, show the thoughts and opinions of the people behind your brand.

Look no further than this colorful and quirky photo from accessory designer Sophia Webster. The image itself showcases a pair of pom-pom-adorned shoes, but the caption really ups the fun level of the post. Featuring the heart-eyed smiley face, different colored hearts and the dancing bunnies, the caption shows just how gaga the team is over this fancy footwear.

Sometimes an emoji is worth a thousand words (or at least a few characters)

FACT: As marketers, our goal is to be concise, yet entertaining and persuasive. We want to engage our customers but still get them to click our emails, visit our sites and stores, and of course, buy our products. But sometimes we end up being a little obvious, especially with our email subject lines and calls to action. Emojis can help you capture attention and drive action in a more fun and unique way.

Let’s look at two examples to show what we mean:

This is a fun email subject line from fashion retailer Justice. Rather than spelling out the giveaway verbatim, they used a cute jeans emoji.


Some brands even use emojis to draw attention to links in posts, their account bios or their Instagram Stories. Home decor and furniture retailer One Kings Lane, for example, published an Instagram photo of an elegant stairway and a teaser saying they were working on a special project. They used the pointer emoji to draw attention to their profile pic, which unleashes a special video when tapped.

People won’t take your brand seriously if you use emojis

FICTION: Emojis have become extremely common in our culture and are embedded in the ways we communicate. As a result, even the largest, most reputable brands and retailers are embracing them.

Check out these examples from Christian Louboutin, Bank of America and Marriott Hotels. They’re all notable brands in their own industries, and they all have specific brand guidelines they need to follow. But still, they’ve found their own, unique ways to incorporate emojis into their social content.

Stone cold fox. 😉

A post shared by Christian Louboutin (@louboutinworld) on

Carpe diem, friends. #TravelBrilliantly #✌🏽 #SanFrancisco #California

A post shared by Marriott Hotels & Resorts (@marriotthotels) on

You need to carefully select the emojis you use

FACT: Smart marketers don’t use emojis all willy-nilly. They may be fun and a great way to get your point across, but using emojis in your marketing can quickly go south if you’re either using emojis too frequently or aren’t using the right ones.

If you’re already clamoring to add emojis to your social posts, emails and other marketing channels, start by identifying a few core emojis that align with your brand, target audience and your products/services. This should give you a good starter library to work with. Over time, you can venture beyond this core group of emojis but fair warning: if you plan to do so, make sure the images align with the message you’re trying to convey! Adding emojis just for emoji’s sake is a major marketing faux pas.

As you start to incorporate emojis into a few of your posts, track your results and see how your audience responds. Are you getting more comments on your Instagram or Twitter posts? Are you getting more email clicks and click-throughs? Compare your results to posts and messages without emojis to see if they are having a true impact on your marketing results.

What’s the most frequently used emoji on Instagram? We ranked the Top 100 emojis on Instagram after analyzing the total photo count for each single character emoji hashtag for a one-month period in 2015. Check out our list here.