Emojis in email marketing? Can this work?

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Emojis in email marketing? Can this work?

To anticipate one thing: yes, it works, and how! Last year, emojis usage in email campaigns increased by 775 percent, compared to trigger mails by as much as 7000 percent¹. Two percent of all subject lines now contain emojis or special characters². Emojis are no longer only at home in private communication, but are also finding their place in e-mail marketing . But how are they used properly and what benefit do they have for communication?

What are emojis anyway❓

Emojis were invented in 1999 by the Japanese Shigetaka Kurita and are Unicode-based pictograms. These differ significantly from the emoticons introduced in 1982, which typographically represent facial expressions and can be used in text-based formats only. Originally, these were invented to distinguish between jokes and serious remarks in a digital language. In 2015, Oxford University Press voted the Emoji “(Face with Tears of Joy) Word of the Year due to its increased use and development into a nuanced form of expression  .


Emoji = ? ? ?

Emoticon =; -)

Why the use makes sense

“Anything that does not trigger emotions is worthless to our brains,” says German marketing expert and brain researcher. Hans-Georg Häusel. And that is also what we are trying to do in marketing everyday: to arouse emotions and to arouse enthusiasm for our products. Emojis are a great way to express emotions on the one hand and trigger the same on the other hand. Because in addition to being able to highlight a topic, emojis in a subject line also humor, cheerfulness and creativity can be transported. Branded emojis can also be effective. If you have Emojis developed for your brand, for example, you can use this logo in the subject line replace and now go other ways. These then offer themselves in other forms of communication for use and increase the recognition value of your brand.

The context matters

Just because emojis arrive well does not mean that they also offer themselves at every opportunity. Especially with serious messages should be more likely to refrain from a use. It is also important to know your target group. If the messages are aimed at a young group of recipients with many millenials, emojis will certainly work better than other groups. Also temporally or seasonally there are differences. A Santa Claus can certainly help in the winter to improve the opening rates. Whether this also works in the summer, however, is questionable.

How are emojis integrated into an e-mail? ?

In fact, nothing is easier than that. From databases such as  getemoji ,  emojipedia , or  facebook symbols  , the glyphs can be easily selected via copy and paste and pasted into the subject line. The use is theoretically nothing in the way.

Pay attention to the compatibility with e-mail clients

Before you send emojis, you should check which operating systems and email clients your recipients are using. For not all support the icons. Among the common operating systems, Windows 7 is an exception in particular, as no support is provided. Among the clients, Outlook 2003 takes a special position. With a few exceptions, however, there is almost universal support for emojis.

A / B tests are also indispensable for Emojis

As with other e-mail campaigns, you should take advantage of e-mail marketing: memorability. Again, use A / B or multivariate testing when sending to the entire group of recipients to find out which subject lines are working best and what will give your users the best opening rate.

Internal communication can also be enriched

Emojis can be enriching not only for communication with your customers, but also for internal purposes. Emojis and emoticons, especially on critical content news, have a positive impact and improve work performance, according to the study ” The Effects of Different Emoticons on the Perception of Emails in the Workplace “. Emoticons can weaken negative associations on a personal level, change the perception of the recipient and thus contribute to a better working atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is important to always use positive and happy signs.


Emojis have also found their way into marketing and ‘serious’ communication. They are a great way to convey emotions, humor, and creativity and to stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, branded emojis can be an additional unique selling point of your brand. But here, too, it is important to know the target group and to use the pictograms in the right context. Ultimately, however, as with any good email campaign. Test to see what works best for your audience.

? +  ?  ➡  ? = ?

Source: Appboy

² Source: Salesforce

Case Study: 575 percent uplift through multivariate testing at RTL Interactive

As already mentioned, testing is one of the most important success factors in email marketing. In a comprehensive case study we show how RTL Interactive achieved a result of 575 percent through multivariate testing of an e-mail marketing campaign.

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