Love them or hate them, Emojis are a form of online and mobile communication that don’t look like they’re going to go away anytime soon. But now they’re more than just a way of helping us express our emotions in texts and social media posts; they’re also becoming a powerful marketing tool.
If you think the idea of using a face with dollar signs instead of eyes as a kind of SEO keyword sounds like a strange one, you’d be forgiven for your scepticism. But since Twitter are now allowing brands to target adverts based on the emojis people use in their tweets, it really is becoming a thing. From now on, if you write, RT or reply to a tweet including that symbol, you might just find yourself being directed to an advert for a bank. A picture of a plane might mean you get to see holiday ads, and love hearts will probably lead the Twitter bots to think you’re looking for a Valentine’s gift for your loved one. We can only imagine what the poop emoji might lead you to but expect cat litter and loo roll to be pretty high up the list.
Ridiculous as it may sound, when you think about it, it all starts to make sense. Online communication can be notoriously tricky – without vocalising our opinions there’s lots of room for confusion and misinterpretation, so we use emojis to express ourselves and show what we really mean. In fact, they’re now such an important form of communication that the Oxford University Press, creators of the Oxford Dictionary, made “emoji” their Word of the Year in 2015. This revelation coupled with the fact that more than 110 billion emojis have been tweeted since 2014 mean that smiley faces are now a force to be reckoned with.
Companies who want to get on board can now do so by buying Twitter ads through HYFN, Perion, SocialCode, 4C and AdParlor. Still in the infant stages, there are limits to this form of marketing and brands will only be able to target one emoji at once for now. But it’s definitely something to watch out for, and businesses who really want to look like they’re at the forefront of digital marketing will be lapping up the opportunity to get playful with emojis.