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Online Trends

Published August 4th 2022

The Top 10 Most Popular Emojis and How to Use Them

Emoji is the language of the future. But which are most popular? We have the data.

Emoji use has grown from a playful way to illustrate a joke to a language of its own, and it’s a key way we communicate our emotions and feelings online. 

What were the most popular emojis this year so far? We have the data.

Emojis play such an interesting role in how we communicate online, and with Consumer Research, we can see how they are shared and why.

For this post, we tracked and analyzed emoji use across the first six months of 2022, and here we’ll count down the top 10 most-used emojis on the internet.

We also wrote extensively about emojis and emoji use in our recent report.

The most-used emojis in 2022 (so far)

And how have the rankings changed since our 2021 list?

These are the sacred few emojis that got the most use on social. We’ve included the official Unicode names, but you might recognize them better by just looking at them. 🙏

10. Sparkles emoji ✨

Since last year, the sparkle emoji has moved down to the bottom of the list – from #3 to #10. This emoji frequently goes hand-in-hand with messages of excitement. And it makes sense. Almost cartoonish in its presence and built out of multiple stars, this emoji reminds me of Aladdin riding the clouds of the Agrabah Kingdom on a magic carpet with Jasmine by his side. 

In real life, ✨ is used to magnify the feelings of warm connections in conversations, to emphasize newness, and fabulousness in general, and, sometimes, to stress the irony. 

9. Person with folded hands 🙏

🙏 has moved up one position in the chart since last year. The emoji depicting two hands pressed together with fingers pointed up is widely used in online conversations to say thanks, to request something, as well as to express hope, praise, and gratitude.

Whether you want to pay respect or spread some much-needed positivity, 🙏 is a win-win as it stimulates an emotional response in users online. 

Side note: It can also be used to signify a high five!

8. Smiling face with hearts 🥰

This “smiling face with hearts” or “cloud of love face” emoji, frequently used to showcase the sensation of feeling loved, has been propelled forward one place, making it to #8 in the top 10 list this year. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many people have been forced to shift from face-to-face communications to online, doubling global online content consumption. And 🥰 helped convey affection, adding a more human element to online conversations.

7. Pleading face 🥺

This emoji has lost two places in the top 10 list, moving down from #5 to #7. The “large puppy-dog eyes” emoji has several use cases. Some people use 🥺 to let others know they are upset or worried, and others use it to convey a sense of care. Whether you want to (virtually) give yourself a pat on the back or express support and adoration for someone else, the pleading face emoji is a strong option for social.

6. Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes 😍

😍 has gained two places, moving from #8 to #6 in the top 10 list since the last report in 2021. This smiling face with hearts instead of eyes emoji enthusiastically conveys love, infatuation, and admiration. People often use 😍 to let others know what they are currently obsessed with – it could be a new favorite song or a hobby. 

5. Fire 🔥

🔥has moved up from #7 to #5 since 2021. An obvious internet favorite, the fire emoji is frequently paired with announcements of achievements or success. When we are doing great and feeling on top of the world, we are “on fire”!

4. Rolling on the floor laughing emoji 🤣

🤣 has remained #4 in the list since last year. A visual equivalent of ROFL, or what Urban Dictionary users describe as a common response for “when somebody says something dumb.” 

3. Red heart ❤️

Since last year, ❤️has moved up one place, making #3 in the top 10 list. The red heart emoji is universally recognized as a sign of love and gratitude, and we pair ❤️with positive messages and when expressing good feelings. Many brands use this emoji in conversations to thank their fans for support.  

2. Loudly crying face 😭

The loudly crying face lost one position and made it to the second-place spot this year.

Context matters. A yellow face with an open mouth wailing and streams of heavy tears might for a second confuse an unprepared user, but fear not: while 😭 can be used to convey grief, this emoji has overwhelmingly been used to share positivity.

Brandwatch image

1. Face with tears of joy 😂

The ongoing battle between 😂 and 😭 may have influenced the triumphal comeback of the “face with tears of joy” emoji – and making it to the first place in the list. The 😂 emoji got pushed off the first place in 2021, and Gen-Z TikTok users may have had a hand in it. They declared earlier that year that using the laugh-cry emoji makes you out of touch, yet we saw a lot of laughing across social accompanied by 😂.

Changes from last year’s rankings:

Further reading

Of course, this is a broad analysis that only touches the surface of how we communicate online. Emoji use is different depending on the person typing and the context behind the message. 

Read about the “new kids on the block” in our new Brandwatch Bulletin.

You can also dive into our recent Emojis and Emotions Report to learn more about:

  • How emotions are expressed online
  • How brands use emojis in public-facing conversations
  • Do whether consumers feel represented by emojis. 

Get all the social tea in our Social Media Professionals group on LinkedIn.

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