How to use Emojis in Email?

How to use Emojis in Email?

Posted under Email Best Practices , Transactional Email on October 17, 2017

Last week I received this in my inbox. The emoji sure caught my attention. But am not sure if a funny looking water gun emoji relates to the action thriller movies that are being promoted.

emoji in subject line

And check this, the water gun changes colours when I view in my mobile.

emoji in email - mobile view

As viewed on my iPhone.

2017 saw a lot of emojis

We’re all so obsessed with emojis. They have become a big part of our lives. Whether it’s the animated movie ‘The emoji movie’ or Apple’s latest iOS update where they introduced some new emojis including new faces, food and animals or Twitter’s upgraded search that includes emoji characters. Heck, we even have a ‘World Emoji Day’! Imagine the frenzied activity on twitter and facebook.

They seem to have made a headway into mainstream email marketing as well.

Emojis are a global trend that’s here to stay.

Love for emojis and symbols is prehistoric

Come to think of it, this new found craze for emojis is actually not so new. Infact it dates around 5000 years back when our ancestors used pictographic hieroglyphs and cuneiform inscriptions as a means of communication.

emoji history

Emojis are like gestures in online communication; just as we use non-verbal cues like facial expressions and voice pitch in face-to-face conversations.

Emoji in Email

Emojis can do wonders to your email program. Here are few facts –

Here’s a how-to guide to add emoji in email subject line.

Email campaigns with emojis – how do they perform?

With Halloween coming up this month, let’s see what kind of emojis were used last year for Halloween and how the email campaigns had performed. (Courtesy: ReturnPath)

emoji in email for halloween

The verdict: Emoji in email does increase the read rate. But not always. Also there’s no rhyme and reason why a particular emoji (in this case spider) performs well over the other (the skull). Sometimes, the text only campaigns fare better with higher read rate and inbox delivery rate.

What’s required is to use them aptly and not overdo.

Because according to a survey, 58 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds said brands using emoji in email subject lines were “trying too hard.” The gun emoji is case in point.

5 things you need to know about emojis in email

  1. Emojis needn’t be confined only to marketing emails

One would think of transactional emails are no-nonsense serious emails. Many B2B brands prefer to stay away from emojis in email. But emojis can be used smartly even in transactional emails without hurting the brand’s reputation or appearing too casual. Here’s one I recently received when I signed up for a webinar.

emoji in webinar email

On my iPhone, the emoji even shows the date of webinar. Isn’t that awesome? And it isn’t bad on other interfaces as well. The calendar emoticon clearly serves the purpose.

emoji in email for webinar

Here’s another one.

emoji in email example

And you’ll find some more for ecommerce here

  1. Can your subscribers see emojis the way you want them to in your email?

Emojis look different across different smartphone devices and operating systems. Here’s a sample:

emoji different browsers

Picture courtesy:

Get the full emoji list here

3. Emojis in subject line can trigger Spam filters

So we’ve all heard that emojis can increase open rates. As more and more marketers get ‘innovative’ and our inbox begins to look like one huge expression box, one aspect that shouldn’t be ignored by email marketers is the probability that emojis can trigger the spam filters. Gmail puts animated emojis in spam because it’s mostly the spammers who use them for grabbing attention. So it is a no to use emojis in subject line? Not completely. There’s no mention from reputable sources on this. My advice to you is to test, keep an eye, not overdo.

 4. How to use emoji in email – some quick tips

  • Create the right effect by using emoji at the right place. Given the increasing use of mobile to view emails and the character restriction, it helsp to have emoji in the beginning of subject line.
  • Don’t replace actual word with emoji, just in case there are rendering issues, your message will not be conveyed appropriately.
  • Know your audience. Use of emoticons varies by geography, age, gender, and social class.

 5. How much is too much?

Emojis are known to have a psychological effect.

Different regions of the brain light up when you’re looking at emojis compared to not looking at emojis

Using emoji makes you socially receptive, empathetic and approachable. That said, it mustn’t turn out to be a case of too many emojis, too little emotion. Same emoji peppered across the email generates nothing beyond a yawn. And this fact is backed by science. According to a study published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, adding more than one of the same emoji appears to be a waste of time.

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Sita Kalluri|Head - Marketing & Branding

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