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The sobbing, smiling face with hearts, laughing with tears of joy, smiling with heart eyes, and fire emojis for a Meltwater social listening blog about the most-used emojis of 2023.

The Top Emojis of 2023

Ann-Derrick Gaillot and Elena Tarasova

Dec 15, 2023

Emojis as we know them were invented in 1998, and since then they’ve evolved to have a significant place in modern digital communication. According to online emoji dictionary Emojipedia, there are 3,782 Unicode Standard emojis, as of September 2023. Still, each of us uses only a small selection of those emojis regularly. We used our social listening and analytics solution to see which ones are the most popular. 

Our analysis looked at the usage of the top 10 emojis of 2023 according to Emojipedia’s mid-year rankings in English-language social media posts across 12 platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit. Here is how they rank from least- to most-mentioned from January 1 through November 30, 2023:

  1. 😊, or Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes
  2. ✨, or Sparkles
  3. 🥰, or Smiling Face with Hearts
  4. 😍, or Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes
  5. 🙏, or Folded Hands
  6. 🔥, or Fire
  7. ❤️, or Red Heart
  8. 🤣, or Rolling on the Floor Laughing
  9. 😭, or Loudly Crying Face
  10. 😂, or Face with Tears of Joy

Let’s dive deeper into some high-level trends.

Which emoji was mentioned the most in 2023?

A bar chart showing the share of voice by mentions of the top 10 emojis of 2023.

This share of voice chart from our social listening and analytics solution shows that the 😂 emoji had 46 million more mentions than the 😭 emoji.

With 254 million mentions, face with tears of joy, or 😂, was used significantly more than the nine other emojis we analyzed. It was followed by loudly crying face, 😭, and rolling on the floor laughing, 🤣. These three emojis topping the chart can be used to express similar emotions like laughing, delight, and extreme amusement — all cases where a simple LOL just won’t suffice. (Though it’s important to note that the loudly crying face can also be used to express opposite emotions, like sadness, exhaustion, embarrassment, and more.)

Learn more about how Gen Z and Millennials use emojis differently in our social listening analysis of "Millennial cringe".

Rounding out our top five are the red heart emoji, ❤️, and the fire emoji, 🔥, both of which people use to show that they like or absolutely love something. Together, these top five highlight how people often use emojis to express strong emotions related to love, amusement, and admiration. Word clouds for each emoji, analyzing the most common keywords mentioned with them, show the differences and commonalities in usage between the 10. For example:

  • “Life” is the top keyword for 😂, 😭, 🤣, ✨, and 🙏
  • “Love” is the top keyword for ❤️, 😍, and 🥰
  • “Friend” is the top keyword for 😊
  • “Fire” is the top keyword for 🔥

Notably, the ranking of the most-mentioned emojis fluctuates throughout the year, with some interesting occurrences. 

A line chart showing the volume of mentions of emojis over the course of 2023

This line chart from our social listening and analytics solution shows how the volumes of emoji mentions remain relatively consistent over time except for some notable spikes.

Mentions of both 😍 and 🥰 spiked on February 14, but those of  ❤️ surged highest, making it the most popular Valentine’s Day emoji. 

Another significant shake-up in the rankings occurred on October 26 when 🔥 had the third-highest mentions, having had the sixth-highest a month earlier. That spike in mentions was due to a Bitcoin spam tweet that was copied and pasted across Twitter, likely by bots.

Bots aren’t all bad! Read our social listening analysis of why 2023 was the year of AI chatbots.

A bar chart showing each emoji's share of voice by social media platform.

This share of voice chart from our social listening and analytics solution shows that the ❤️ emoji is one of the top five used across social platforms.

Emoji use varies between social media platforms, as well, thanks to their distinct contexts. The top overall emojis are generally consistent when filtered down to Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, but sparkles, ✨, get significantly more usage on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitch, where they are used to make post and stream titles stand out.

On Pinterest, where people go to find inspiration, ❤️, ✨, 😍, and 🔥 are the most-used emojis. This is likely because those emojis lend themselves well to saying, “You’re gonna love this” or “I love this idea!” 

Access our Global Digital Reports for more stats on social media platform usage.

Ring charts showing the shares of voice of emojis in the United States, India, United Kingdom, Nigeria, and South Africa.

These ring charts from our social listening and analytics solution shows that the most-used emojis are not universal.

Top emojis also vary by country, as the above share of voice chart shows. The most popular emoji in the United States, United Kingdom, and Nigeria was 🤣, but it was 😭in South Africa and ❤️ in India. 

The second-most popular emoji by country was even less consistent: 

  • 😭 in the United States and South Africa
  • 🙏 in India and Nigeria 
  • 🤣 in the United Kingdom 

These differences in mention volumes point to how the utility of emojis changes across regional and cultural contexts.

So there you have it: The top emojis of 2023 according to our social listening and analytics solution. However, there is much more to the story of what digital communication looked like this year and where it is headed. Get that story tailored to your brand’s business needs and goals for 2024 with the Meltwater Suite. Fill out the form below to schedule a free demo. 😊