How to use emojis to increase click-throughs in emails and Facebook ads

Emojis are no longer confined to text messages; these pictorial icons have unsurprisingly infiltrated the worlds of email, social media, and marketing. A marketing email sent to a subscriber with a well-chosen emoji in the subject line is more likely to grab the attention of said subscriber and encourage them to click open the email, while a higher level of engagement has been identified with Facebook ads which use emojis when compared with those which don’t.


How to use emojis to increase click throughs - How to use emojis to increase click-throughs in emails and Facebook ads


According to figures from HubSpot, the inclusion of emojis with a Facebook post can increase the number of likes that post receives by 57% and the number of shares and comments by 33%. Likewise, the use of emojis in email subject lines has been found to increase open rates.

If you’ve so far shunned emojis, now is the time to embrace their ubiquity and undoubted influence. But be warned, there’s quite a few to choose from. In 2018, 157 emojis were added to the approved list, which brings the total number to 2,823.

However, the use of emojis alone will not guarantee greater engagement and higher click-through rates. You’ll need to find emojis which best express your message and resonate with your target audience.

So, how do you choose the right emojis for your emails and Facebook ads? How can you harness the playful, humanising appeal emojis engender to incentivise people to click the link you want them to click? How can you use emojis to increase your click-through rates?

AD emoji example 2 - How to use emojis to increase click-throughs in emails and Facebook ads

How to choose the right emoji

Don’t pick any emoji at random. Think: which emojis are relevant to my business or brand, and which would be relevant to and likely to be understood by my target audience?

Have a marketing strategy in place surrounding your use of emojis and choose what you use in each email or ad campaign carefully. As with any content marketing strategy, it’s first important to know your audience so you can produce content to appeal to that audience. The emojis you use should sit well with your audience, and that’s true whatever industry you operate in.

You should also consider that not all emojis are instantly decipherable. For your emoji-laced marketing message to pack a punch and inspire the desired response, the emoji cannot be enigmatical or cryptic, it must clearly express or advance the message you want to convey. Unless the emoji you are choosing to use aids communication and expression, encourages interaction, and is appropriate in context, don’t use it.

emoji facebook post 2 - How to use emojis to increase click-throughs in emails and Facebook ads


Emojis in emails

When adopting any new techniques with your email marketing campaigns it’s important to run A/B tests to see whether open rates are higher for emails with emojis or without emojis. It’s also important to test how the emojis will appear in the emails you send out to subscribers, as some emojis will appear differently across mobile devices and email service providers. You don’t want a subscriber to be confronted with a ☐ in the space where you planned for an emoji to be.

Email subject example 1:

email subject emoji - How to use emojis to increase click-throughs in emails and Facebook ads

How emoji-literate is your email marketing audience? How might they respond if you start using emojis in your emails? Plan a strategy for using emojis in the emails, then monitor their effectiveness through A/B tests.

Emojis shouldn’t be used in place of punctuation or important words in your email. Don’t allow an emoji to confuse the meaning of your message. Instead, use an emoji where it can make your message more emotive (the right emotional response can encourage a viewer to click a call to action button or open an email) or where it can grab the attention of the email recipient.


Email subject example 2:

email subject emoji 2 - How to use emojis to increase click-throughs in emails and Facebook ads


Emojis in Facebook ads

According to a recent study, the use of emojis in Facebook ads results in an average click-through rate of 9.2%. This compares to an industry average click-through rate of 0.4%. Further research has shown that Facebook ads which contain one or more emojis tend to reach more people and result in more impressions than those which don’t contain any emojis, and this has a positive impact on click-through rates.

But before you start testing emojis in your Facebook ads, there are questions to answer. Will emojis help your audience to engage with the brand or will their use alienate your audience? Does it make sense for your brand to use emojis in the Facebook ads? Do you want to attract a young audience? Or do you want to make your message more accessible, personal, emotive, light-hearted or fun? If emojis will complement the nature of your brand and the tone you want to adopt, try working them into your Facebook ads.


Emojis and click-through rates

As the HubSpot figures show, emojis can help to increase engagement on platforms like Facebook, while their use has led to higher open rates on emails and higher click-through rates with Facebook ads. Studies have also shown that emojis can help to ‘humanise’ a brand and allow you to communicate online messages in a more digestible format, especially to younger audiences.

But before you start to use emojis, consider your brand and your audience. Will members of your audience use and understand emojis? Will emojis be suitable on the channel you plan to use? And will emojis be appropriate for the tone and content of your message?

When you start to incorporate emojis into your social media posts and marketing activities, use emojis strategically and only where you believe them to be necessary. Then use split test data to measure the results and guide your emoji usage in the future.

Emojis should not be forcibly worked into every spot of marketing you carry out. They need to be used when it is timely to do so, and when an emoji can boost the message you are trying to convey. Use emojis sparingly – they should be used cleverly/effectively or not at all.


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