Emojis are perceived by many as just a novel way to communicate, and most of us underestimate the value of them.
In less than 10 years the volume and variety of emojis have skyrocketed. Today, 95% humans online have used emojis, making it the internet’s most popular language.
It’s clear from this analysis that the volume of emojis will only continue to grow and increase in importance – we’ve seen the variety of emoji grow, and with the total number of emojis expanding to almost 3,000. As such, more and more emojis will start to replace everyday words and phrases.
This makes the analysis of emoji usage online a vital activity. Brands, organizations, governments, and others can uncover genuine insights in monitoring emojis on a macro scale. Whether it’s assessing brand health against the industry average, or emotion by location.
Brands, in particular, are set to garner the most value from emoji analysis as it provides a real-time look at how their brand, products, and services are perceived online compared to their competitors.
That’s today, but it wouldn’t require much effort to imagine a world in the near future where the volume of positive or negative emojis next to a brand name could be used to help determine a company’s market cap. Or a world where a 100% increase in emojis that represent illness help identify potential health issues across geographies.
With that in mind, here are four predictions 🔮:
- Emojis will cement its position as the only language that allows us to communicate with anyone globally
- The type of emojis available online will continue to diversify (e.g. Animojis and Bitmojis)
- Because of this, emojis will start to replace text as the key provider of context in future conversations
- Brands, organizations, and governments will analyze the use of emojis on a macro scale in real-time.
“We now live in an attention economy through social media. Brands want my attention and I want brands attention all through the lens of a mobile phone. It’s getting faster and shorter and anything that can save me time (and money).
Enter the Emoji stage left. Love them or hate them, they are a more efficient way of communicating. How much time has the ‘thumbs up’ emoji saved us all? This report proves they are not going away … but could I have written this all in emoji? Not yet, but it’s a matter of time.” – Timothy Hughes, CEO and Co-Founder at Social Experts
“Gone are the days of solely relying on text for social listening. People won’t talk about your brand using just text – pictures, videos, GIFs, links to external resources, and yes, emoji too. Sure, this report has lots of interesting stats, but the message this drives home is that if you’re still only relying on textual search, you’re missing out on a big chunk of the conversation.
Gone are the days of expecting people to talk about your brand, your products, your services, in the language that you use internally at work – and gone are the days where using tools with the same mentality was enough. So, sure, check out the top emoji, and check out if you’ve made it on the list of most positively mentioned brands, and check out which industries are more positively or negatively mentioned – but once you’ve done all that, ask yourself – does your social listening tool help you get to the bottom of this for your own brand? If the answer is no, take that as your homework for the year.” – Bernado Donkor, Social Intelligence Lead at Microsoft
“Reading the report confirms that people today appreciate an extended way to express themselves. Emoji can express a thought without words and judicious use of emoji can enhance communication. This works well in person to person communications, or in marketing. They can paint a subtle, unmentioned emotion as part of a brand.” – Marsha Collier, Author
“It’s interesting to note that the emojis representing known emotions: joy, disgust, sadness, fear, surprise, and anger, have all seen a decline in use from 2015 through 2017. Since it’s unlikely that this has anything to do with a drop in the total number of emojis used, this suggests that as more emojis have been introduced, a wider variety of emojis are being used to communicate a greater variety of things. We now have emojis to represent nouns and verbs, and a more creative use of emojis, or at least a use more in line with trends and memes, is taking precedence.
Brands that make use of emojis need to be aware that they have become a part of the lexicon. Incorporating them to appear trendy or cutting edge is likely to backfire, but using them to clear away any confusion about the emotional intent of a message is more likely to resonate.
The wide use of emojis by the male population should also be interpreted as a warning to brands to be careful with emojis. If you aren’t familiar with these symbols, they are most widely used in ironic “copypaste” memes, and brands who fail to understand the proper context are likely to find themselves the butt of the joke in discussions such as those that take place on Reddit’s “fellow kids” subreddit. Care should be taken if brands hope to avoid being seen as the “try-hard” dad in the room, and knowledge of the target audience is essential.” – Pratik Dholakiya, Co-Founder E2M
Viveka von Rosen
“As an avid and active user on LinkedIn, I am beginning to see more and more people use emojis in their profile – particularly in their Professional Headlines, Summary and Experience sections as well as in updates.
When using emojis on LinkedIn I’d like to offer this word of warning: know your audience. You don’t want to turn off a corporate enterprise B2B prospect by being too cute. Having said that, this report shows not only the overall increase of emojis’ on digital, but that there has been an increase in the use of Emojis by B2B companies as well (see section 2). So perhaps some use of emojis and icons can draw attention to your purple, and help align you with a new audience while adding some positive sentiment to your content.” – Viveka von Rosen, Chief Visibility Officer & Co-founder at Vengreso
“Among the most interesting finds is the predominance of positive (75%) versus negative (25%) emojis shared over the last 24 months, despite all of the negative news around the Twitterverse. While not all brands shared this positive sentiment equally (airlines took a lot of flack), this study suggests that consumers will generally be kind to brands unless they really screw up.” – Drew Neisser, Founder & CEO, Renegade
“Interestingly, although positive emojis outweigh negative ones, analysis of emoji emotions show almost 3/5s are negative (specifically disgust, sadness, anger, and fear). Through their communication of emotions, it’s no surprise that women use emojis more frequently than men. While emojis appear to be aligned with politics and news the overall inflection points aren’t that large.
On a macro level, this emoji analysis reveals a trend towards communications similar to earlier Egyptian hieroglyphics. More than becoming a global language, emojis represent a breakdown of existing communications into simplified visuals which are faster to consume and use.” – Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer – Actionable Marketing Guide
“Businesses cannot put too much stock in analyzing emoji, but also they cannot discount the importance of it.
Here’s what I mean: When I was in Middle School, everyone walked around obnoxiously saying “WAZZAAAAAAP!” There was no point to this. It was not charming. It was insider trading with language. Businesses interact with real people who say weird things, strange things, seemingly unimportant things.
The implications of this behavior for business are actually surprisingly tangible: 1) Imagine creating an ad campaign using emoji. You need to know the lingo to use the lingo, and you need to know which lingo is relevant to your business. Check out Brandwatch’s findings on different emoji by vertical. 2) Imagine boosting employee morale with “Here’s the top face Twitter makes when people talk about us!” (As long as it’s a positive emoji). Again with Brandwatch’s vertical-specific findings. 3) Imagine trying to describe your business with emoji to your customer – wouldn’t it be fun? It’d make a good social campaign. All of these examples are very social in their channel focus – social media, social behavior. But that’s because we’re talking about a very communal facet of the way people talk. It’s social.” Evan Dunn, Director of Expert Services, Transform
“Emotions play a big part in the decision making of consumers. Consumers respond emotionally to an ad instead of paying attention to the details of its content, therefore, significantly influencing their decision-making abilities. This is precisely why manufacturers are making a significant profit on creating advertisements that pull at the heartstrings of their consumers.
Emotional posts on social media sites help to shape the customers overall point of view of a company, triggering something deep inside that influences the decisions they make. When consumers share on social media, they are seeking happiness. In fact, most of the top drivers containing viral content are related to gleefulness.
To evoke this response from consumers, many businesses are using emojis to enhance their company’s image. Using emojis creates a positive atmosphere that is associated with happy customers, therefore, encouraging others to utilize the services provided by the company.” – Ron Sela, Growth Marketing Advisor at Ron Sela Consulting
“This amazing research made me 👏🏼, 😍 and 😂. This is the first analysis of a huge change in the way people use language. And it’s fascinating. Major 🏆💥 to the team behind it.” – Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-founder of Velocity