Smiley. Love heart. Wink face. Blow kiss…
I’m sure you’ve used them all.
You end sentences with a smiley for emphasis. Wink to denote a touch of sarcasm. And post an angry face to communicate how much freaking p***sed you are at someone else’s comments.
But did you know that you could also use emoji to boost your brand too?
Well, take a look around then. Oreo, McDonald’s, Domino’s and countless others already incorporate emoji as part of their social media advertising language.
Hell, some even go as far as writing the entire copy in emoticons…
And so, in this post, I’ll show you how you could also market with emoji too.
But that’s not all.
Talking theory is one thing.
But you’ll learn more from seeing it used in practice, no?
So at the end of this post, I’m also going to share findings from our internal research aimed to find out whether emoticons can increase conversions.
Pretty cool, huh? Hold on, there’s more!
At the end of this post, you will find a huge list of copy&paste shortcodes you can use to display any emoji in your Facebook Ads or post. You can click here to go straight to the list.
So, let’s get cracking.
Enter Emoji Language
Did you know:
In total, over 92% of internet population communicate with emoji.
Over 30% do it a couple of times a day. And 33.5% speak emoji several times per week. (source)
The demographics of emoji users is equally wide: 62.3% of over 35’s use emoji. 72.7% under 25’s does it too. (source)
Finally, 84% of women and 75% of men believe emoji describe their feelings better than words.
But that’s the fact; emoticons have become the first international language.
OK, perhaps a bit more than a couple…
According to the Unicode Emoji, there are 1000’s of emoji we could communicate with.
What’s more, brands constantly develop their emoji.
Among their 100+ branded emoticons, IKEA has one for their meatballs.
Burger King has the whole collection of their Chicken Wings emoji.
Heck, emoticons have even begun replacing internet slang. For example, the smiley or tears of joy replaced the LOL or LMAO. Thumbs up emoji already replaced the “Good job”.
Instagram already reported noticing a trend in an increase in emoji use while the decrease of internet slang in the comments.
But how emoji work as a language?
First of all, they make us better communicators.
According to Andrea Ayers from Crew.co:
“Humans are nothing if not social. So much so that we experience significant physical and psychological problems without social interaction.”
We create our identity based on feedback we receive from others.
But… unlike when engaging in verbal communication, during which we can use tools like voice intonation, gestures, body language, our online conversations lack the non-verbal element that helps convey our message more accurately.
Emoticons gave us the ability to express the context and the meaning of the messages we post.
But do they improve our communications?
That’s what researchers from the Department of Psychology at the New Mexico State University decided to test.
They invited two groups of people to perform various tasks.
However, one group was given 6 emoticons while the other group had to do without them.
The 6 emoji were:
As it turned out, in the group that was allowed to use emoji, people almost always choose to use them.
As the researchers stated:
“Results indicated that when emoticons were available, they were used by 10 of the 12 subjects. Furthermore, 75% of the 12 subjects responded favorably when asked whether CMC enhances group-decision making, compared to 46% of the subjects in the no-emoticon condition.”
They also concluded:
“These results indicate that subjects used emoticons when available and that they were satisfied with the system more so than subjects who had no access to emoticons. Also, the presence of emoticons did not affect decision conformity, memory for communication events or message length, but it did affect the focus of the messages.”
Pretty darn amazing, eh?
How Other Brands Market with Emoji
Last year, to announce the arrival of The Chevy Cruise, Chevrolet issued a press release written almost entirely in emoticons:
(Here’s the translated version if you’re interested in what the press release says)
Explaining their decision, the company said:
“Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, so to celebrate its upcoming reveal, the media advisory is being issued in emoji, the small emotionally expressive digital images and icons in electronic communication.” (source)
Has it worked? Who knows. But certainly it generated a massive buzz around the campaign and the Cruze itself.
And that’s a winner if you ask me.
Wordstream, a company I greatly admire just posted this to my Twitter stream (screenshot was taken literarily as I was working on the piece):
Domino’s allows customers registered for their “Easy Order” account to simply tweet the pizza emoji to order a pizza.
This company uses emojis in PPC ads:
My good friend Alex from the SaaStock conference highlights the benefit of getting early bird tickets using emoji:
What’s more, according to Wordstream, including emojis in the ad copy boosts CTR.
But What About Using Emoji in Facebook Ads? Would It Help Achieve Better Results?
We decided to find out for ourselves how we could use emojis in Facebook ads and if they can boost CTR.
Here’s what we did and the results we received.
Before we go any further, let me make something clear:
- The below is just a quick experiment conducted solely for the purpose of this article.
- We didn’t spend much money on it.
- We didn’t invest much time and effort in it either.
- We promoted a simple product – Twitter Ads eBook.
- And most importantly, we did it for fun, not to shake the academia.
So please, while reviewing the below results, keep in mind that they are not statistically significant. It would take a lot more work, money, and time to test our hypothesis more thoroughly and come to final conclusions.
Now, with that off the way…
The AdEspresso’s Emoji Experiment
About 2 weeks ago we launched two ads. Both promoted our Twitter Ads eBook.
However, one included emoji in the copy (plus star ratings in the headline). The other we published without any of them.
Here are both ads.
The Emoji One:
And the “traditional” one:
We set the budget to $50 per day and let the ads run.
At the start, the emoji ad seemed to lose to the traditional one. However, a couple of days into the test, the tables began to turn. But it was a false alarm.
In the end, in fact, our little experiment proved that there is no real difference between the two ads. But if you want to stick to the numbers the “traditional” ad won.
The emoji ad performed slightly better when it comes to CTR, and the no. of clicks in attracted, but still was more expensive in terms of CPC.
The “traditional” ad achieved a lower cost per click and drove more conversions (at a lower cost per conversion).
Here, take a look:
Wrapping it up.
So, does including emoji makes the ad more attractive?
We don’t have the ultimate answer…
As I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to consider such a quickly-done research as conclusive.
For example, we targeted only a very specific audience and additional research might be needed to test how different age groups respond to emoticons. Who knows, perhaps millennials are even more prone to be swayed by them?
Or is it more a question of placement? Emoji may be more effective on Instagram, where they are more widely used.
The same goes to B2C audiences. We targeted specific B2B buyers only. But what effect would emoji have on an Ecommerce brand? Or how would they work in an entertainment industry? We don’t know…
Our CEO, Max, feels that that: “In B2B likely emoji won’t make any difference or worst you may look unprofessional. So use them with care and maybe stick with the more serious one as the 5 black stars I used in the ad title.”
So, although our research shows some benefit of including emoji in ads, we suggest you guys test their effect your audience before launching emoji-only ads 🙂
Start testing now using our big fat list! Simply copy the small text/HTML that you find below the emoticon you choose, then paste it into your Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter) ad or post. Use just one or create an emoji-only ad. Test everything, then share you experience with us!