2016 saw the explosion of one of the most popular communication accessories available – Emojis. Whoever thought of sending smiley faces next to our text is officially a genius, and a rich one at that! With celebrities now creating their own lines, merchandise being designed to reflect the popular pictures and almost everyone attaching one to the end of their tweets, we can safely say emojis are here to stay in a big way.

But what we really want to find out is, do they have a place in business? Or are they strictly for personal use? We’ve conducted some research to find out whether those fun faces should be finding their way into business inboxes or not!

Emojis explained

I’m sure we’ve all used an emoji at some point in our lives, I mean how else would we convey that we’re drinking coffee Emojisor going for a swimEmojis?

But what we don’t know is why these were invented.

In Japan, mobile phone providers began to notice that consumers were becoming more and more interested in sending images instead of typing text. As companies were struggling to support this, they needed a way around it and so the Emoji was born. The appeal of this is that a picture is able to convey a thousand words without the inconvenience of typing it all out, and the person receiving it is able to understand without reading a huge paragraph. The very reasoning behind the emoji supports the idea that consumers respond well to the use of imagery. It was created due to high demand – businesses should take advantage of this.

The science behind the symbol

Believe it or not, there is significant evidence to support the use of emojis as a marketing tool. Neuroscience studies have proven that, when used within text, the faces activate a region of the brain that is involved in processing emotions. The two studies carried out in Japan and Australia found that people process emojis the same way they would human facial expressions – who’d have known it could be so technical?

So, why is this relevant to you? This means by adding an emoji to your emails or social shares, you’re giving a human touch. You’re letting your customers know there are real people behind the business. And as people are proven to be mainly driven by emotion, it may even make you a sale.

How to take advantage

There are many ways for a business to get on board with emoji use. But arguably one of the best ways is subject lines in emails. Research reveals that Brits are 63% more likely to open an email if the subject line includes an emoji. This is a great difference.

As well as this, a report by Experian showed that 56% of brands that send out subject line emojis have a higher open rate than those that don’t. If that hasn’t convinced you, I don’t know what will! Aside from that, using emojis in subject lines saves space. Each subject line offers around 40 characters, and as we’ve already established, emojis do a great job of putting words into pictures so the reader still knows what you mean.

Another great way to use emojis is in social media. Adding these into any tweet can give your business a stand out advantage. Here’s a bit of a heads up on the most effective emojis for social media:

different emojis

When to be wary

Emojis confront the universal problem of being unable to express real emotion in text. They allow the tone of a message to be conveyed clearly, which can help to avoid some awkward situations.

But what happens when this goes wrong? This is what you need to be wary of. Emojis are great tools for setting the correct tone of a message, unless they do just the opposite. For example, some people may interpret the meaning of an emoji in a different way, which can lead to confusion. To combat this, be careful with your choice – use universally recognised ones. Another thing to remember is there’s a time and place for emojis, they may not be suitable in certain situations. Judge it carefully.

Take your audience demographics into account. Although a lot of us are aware of emojis and what they mean, that’s not to say that everyone is, so tailor your approach well.

Our verdict

Let’s face it (excuse the pun) emojis have revolutionised the way we communicate in the 21st century and for businesses to ignore the power of them would be preposterous, but being able to execute it well is essential. Make the most of what they have to offer, but don’t overdo it.