The Rise of Emoji Marketing: Using Visuals to Boost Brand Engagement

The Rise of Emoji Marketing: Using Visuals to Boost Brand Engagement

Meltwater
29 August 2016

Emoji: we either know someone addicted to them, or we are that someone. I definitely fall in the latter category, but I’m not alone. Over the past 5 years the little yellow men and their army of friends have taken the world by storm. Following this trend, brands have woken up and seen the pixels: several well-known companies are now using the visuals to increase brand engagement.

Brands using emoji marketing

emoji marketingA recent study by telecoms company TalkTalk Mobile found that 8 in 10 of us emoji to communicate. The size, influence and digitally savvy characteristics of the millennial market prove very attractive to brands wanting a piece of this pie. (Mmm pie.)

Speaking of pie, did we mention that it’s now possible to order pizza through the use of an emoji? Thanks Domino’s!

Disney is another company who has benefited from increased brand engagement from the use of emoji. Disney licensed its characters to Facebook as part of their personalisation efforts, as such; we can now send cute little Nemos via the platform. But there is way more to emoji then just adding some extra cuteness into our lives. Now, when the next big film is released, emoji plays a big part of the marketing push and has a clear role in increasing awareness of the film and brand engagement for its makers.

Why use emoji marketing?

Love or loathe Twitter’s character limit, it serves its purpose. But with the use of the photographic emoji, brands now have the option of telling their brand story in a thousand words – and one character count. Emoji increase brand engagement as they engage the audience emotionally, encouraging them to care more about the post than without the visual.

emoji marketingLet’s take a step back and look at the wider picture (excuse the pun). Emoji fits into this cultural shift towards more visual communication and using them can help humanise the brand and increase brand engagement whilst doing so. But what is extra special about emoji is that they do not interrupt our life to increase brand engagement, nor do they try and persuade a change in behaviour. Emoji are something the audience naturally uses (and expects to see), thus when brands create their own images they can be used to organically insert the brand into the conversation and raise brand awareness by doing so.

!Caution! Danger

emoji marketingAlthough we’ve spent the past 400 words singing emoji praises and explaining how they can be used to increase brand engagement, it’s worth mentioning that emoji marketing should be handled with care. As a spokeswoman for Oreo points out, “It’s important to speak the language of our fans.” Whilst 18-24 year olds are emoji advocates, the older demographic are still adapting to this trend. Be sure to test the waters if the audience falls into this category. Use  widely used emoji such as the smiley face or a coffee cup to avoid the message becoming lost, as this can cause a negative knock on effect on brand engagement. Remember that the use of emoji can help to set the tone of our brand’s voice and if that tone is off peak in the eyes of our audience then the use of emoji will do more damage than good.

Now we’ve explained the pros and cons of this quick tactic to increase brand engagement, it’s time to play and see for yourself! Don’t forget to come back to us with the findings; we’d love to hear how it worked out!

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