June 23, 2016 Emojis are Better than a Thousand Key Words

Targeted Advertising has a new, unique tool to better engage with people based on their sentiments, passions, and hunger-driven food emoji use

Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2015 was emoji —an odd “word” to be picked by an institution whose members have probably shed a tear or two over the current state of the English language. Oxford Dictionary elaborated on their decision by saying that emoji was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015.  

The implications of the popularity of emoji use are vast, but an area of particular interest to companies is the use of emoji to open a way to better targeted advertising.

According to Twitter, more than 110 billion emoji have been tweeted since 2014 and Twitter has found a way to use that information to improve their advertising by launching a new feature that allows marketers to target users based on the emoji they use. Patterns of emoji use can be analyzed and used to “connect” to people by giving insight into users’ moods, allowing for “deep engagement and better performance for brands.”

So how in particular can emoji use patterns be used to target advertising?

Using Twitter as an example, many tweets contain food and drink involved emoji. Users who tweet hamburgers and beer emoji could see an ad for a local burger restaurant. Domino’s recently flooded its Twitter feed with hundreds of tweets written almost completely in pizza emoji—they used the attention to advertise their new system in which Twitter users can order pizza by connecting their Twitter and Domino’s accounts and tweeting a pizza emoji to the brand.

Custom emoji can also be used in advertising. Burger King recently created its own emoji to promote its new chicken fries. Swyft Media, a virtual keyboard maker that specializes in emoji, GIFs, and stickers, has worked with brands like Ford and Dell to launch sticker campaigns. According to Swyft, 1.4 million Ford stickers were shared, generating 34 million impressions. And the cost for every 1,000 impressions was $2.

Spredfast, a social media analytics company, looked at campaigns on Twitter that launched branded emoji for advertisers like Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Use of the campaign hashtag soared after launch in every case.

Emoji use has been evolving across platforms. Facebook how has added more options to replace its Like button and added 1,500 new emoji to its Messenger app. You can now search Google with emoji. At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, it showed off a new feature of the iOS 10 that finds the proper emoji to replace words in a message.

It is obvious that the way we communicate is evolving. Targeted advertising must evolve with this change and take into account the huge spectrum of emotion and sentiment that is expressed via emoji. Forrester has found that appealing to emotion is key to improving overall customer experiences and brand loyalty, while emotion has been shown to significantly improve the return of investment of marketing campaigns. It makes perfect sense that emoji use should be tracked and analyzed—and used to better targeted advertising