The following is a guest contributed post by Sophie Vu, CMO at Vibes
Since becoming an official entry in the dictionary in 2013, emojis have skyrocketed in popularity. We’ve seen the debut of Facebook’s emoji-inspired reactions, the rise of World Emoji Day on July 17, and the arrival of “The Emoji Movie,” now playing at a movie theater near you.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed in marketing circles. According to an Appboy survey, the number of active brand campaigns containing emojis has increased by 557 percent over the last two years. Why? It’s not just because they’re fun. Believe it or not, there is a strong business case for brands’ use of emojis.
The ubiquity of mobile wallets and mobile marketing has created a new frontier in communications for savvy brands, one that is showing an unprecedented level of growth. Here are reasons why emojis should factor into your marketing efforts:
- If you’re a brand that cares about marketing and consumer engagement, you’ll need to engage your consumers how they engage on mobile; and emojis are a huge part of that. Emoji-enabled content generates click-through rates 20x higher than the industry standard. In addition, campaigns that leverage emotional content perform twice as well as those with rational content. That’s a decent place to start. Emojis allow you to connect across a global sphere by using a new sort of “language” that resonates with consumers who live in any part of the world. Emojis are also a valuable source of data that help brands better understand how their consumers feel about their content.
- You’re behind if you’re not already using emojis in brand marketing and messaging. According to Signal, brands have increased their usage of emojis by 777 percent since January 2015, and the inclusion of emojis in marketing messages has grown by 20 percent month-over-month since the start of 2016. There are no other marketing metrics that have seen this kind of growth year over year in the past five years.
- There is ROI to be had from SMS and mobile’s use of emojis in marketing tactics — it just doesn’t exist yet. Two years ago, brands were trying to justify the need for utilizing emojis in email marketing and other mobile marketing techniques. There isn’t a ton of data on SMS practices and emoji usage right now, but this is something we’re hoping to bridge and requires consistent brand engagement and smart tracking in order to showcase beneficial results. The more that brands engage in this practice, the more data the industry will have and share about best practices, bridging a huge gap in mobile marketing metrics.
- Emojis are not just for brands like Taco Bell, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Burger King — they’re becoming big business for celebrities and influential figures who want to allow consumers to feel more connected to their brand. Take Kim Kardashian West’s “Kimoji.” She once made over $1 million in sales per minute for the “Kimoji” app in one day. This isn’t just because her fans love her, but it’s also because she’s tapping into a huge space where the majority of her consumers live — mobile.
- Emojis allow real-time, visual and emotional connections between your brand and your consumers, allowing you to receive instant feedback on how consumers feel about your content. Facebook has bridged a big gap here by extending reactions outside of the “Like” button to also include love, sad, angry, angry, etc. When users react to your content with emojis, it gives you instant feedback into how well that message is performing and what your consumers want to continue seeing and hearing from you. Take advantage of that engagement and adjust your content moving forward based on performance.
Emojis aren’t a silver bullet. Like any other marketing tactic, you need to use emojis in a way that aligns with your brand. Consumers can smell inauthenticity from a mile away, so overusing emojis or using them because everyone else is can backfire on your brand. The surefire way to succeed is to make sure you know your audience and use emojis to enable personalized conversations.
Sophie Vu leads worldwide marketing for Vibes, a mobile marketing company that empowers brands to engage personally with today’s hyper-connected consumers at scale. Follow her on Twitter @SophieVu415 and Vibes @Vibes.