The way we communicate with one another has seen quite the revolution over time, evolving from cave drawings to Shakespearean language to instant messenger slang, and saying “hashtag” before everything. Even Oxford Dictionary has caught on, identifying the Word of the Year 2015 an emoji, the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji to be exact.
The rise of messaging apps*, like WhatsApp and Snapchat, and social networks have altered how we communicate with one another even further, especially the younger generations. We’re constantly sharing location updates, trying to capture the perfect selfie, and learning intimate details about people we’ve never met.
But those statuses, image updates and hashtags just weren’t enough. It appears that we are shifting back to Egyptian hieroglyphs by embracing a more primitive form of expression with the rise of Emoji. Emoji, at its inception, took over text messaging conversations. Now it’s taking over social media.
Emoji Language, as it’s formally called, is the fastest growing language in the world. Emogi, an emotional marketing platform, recently reported that Emoji is used by a startling 92 percent of online consumers. The cartoon-like facial expressions that once didn’t display on PC computers – appearing as small, broken images or question marks – have become a staple across all online activity.
Let’s hope Emoji Language stays on devices, and not in-person communication.
Emoji fast facts
– Emoji use jumped by nearly 20% after Apple introduced the iOS Emoji Keyboard in 2011.
– Nearly half of all the text posted on Instagram is Emoji.
– Facebook allows users to share “how they’re feeling” by adding an Emoji in status updates.
– Emoji is used more often on Facebook than “LOL” to express laughter.
Source: Emogi 2015 Emoji Report
It’s a common misconception that Emoji is most popular among millennials. Gender is actually the biggest differentiation, with nearly 80% of the female online population using Emoji versus only 60% of males.
Image: Emogi 2015 Emoji Report
Examples of brands embracing Emoji Marketing
Many brands also have seen the benefits of incorporating Emoji into their marketing strategy, such as keyboards, video ads, logo integration, and more.
Knowing Emoji is so popular, Facebook not only made the symbols visible in posts on the platform, but also they gave users the option to complement status updates with an Emoji to better convey emotions. Not to be left in the dust, it appears that Twitter is once again following in Facebook’s footsteps after rolling out an apparent emoji reactions test. The feature comes on the heels of switching from favorites and stars to likes and hearts, which, Twitter said, increased the number of users liking tweets by 6 percent during the first week of the roll out.
At this time, it appears that only certain users on Twitter have the ability to react to tweets with emoji. But from the looks of things, the emoji would be a popular addition to the platform.
Looking Ahead FOR EMOJI MARKETING
Does the rise of Emoji say something about human interaction? Most definitely.
Raise your hand if you cringe when you have a voicemail. Most would much rather communicate via text messaging, rather than pick up the phone to make a quick call. Seeing that brands are embracing emojis in their marketing affirms that we’re breaking down language even further and would rather communicate through simple expressions made by cartoon-like faces.
In fact, more than 80% of female frequent users of Emoji said “they help me more accurately express what I am thinking,” and “it makes it easy for other people to understand me.”
As marketers, this could create problems when it comes to measuring sentiment and success across social networks. Although all the symbols in Emoji have definitions, not every user knows what those definitions are, or they use Emoji out of context to show sarcasm or dissatisfaction. Interactions will likely have to be analyzed further to assess whether or not the emoji used was positive or negative and in what context.
Perhaps one of the most interesting finds from Emogi’s study is that consumers are not using Emoji for the ease of use, rather it more accurately conveys emotion and builds a personal connection. Looking forward as marketers, we must be ready to embrace the new language if we want to truly understand and emotionally connect with audiences.
Get ahead of the curve and start learning the emoji definitions.
Read the full 2015 Emoji Report here.
*eMarketer predicts that he growth and popularity of messaging apps will continue and “that by 2018, the number of chapp app users worldwide will reach 2 billion and represent 80% of smartphone users.”