The Emoji Invasion: How Emojis are Changing the Game

November 2, 2015 | By: Elise Gould | 2 min read

mobile emojiYou know those little smiley faces you send to your pals in a text, the ones that come in the form of cats and high-fives? If you didn’t already know, those bad boys are called emojis. Whether you think they’re ridiculous or a great way to add flair to your chat, they’re taking over the way that people text and communicate online. Because of this, it’s time for marketers to take heed and amp up their emoji literacy because this is more than a trend – it’s a form of expression, and marketers can capitalize.

Emojis are changing the way we communicate.

When Apple added the emoji keyboard in 2011 they not only created a fun way to express emotions in text, they developed a new virtual language. Since then, digital language has escalated to nearly half of all comments, captions and texts containing emoji characters. So what's the draw of these silly little characters? They communicate expressions without the need for words, which in this hyper-fast era of gifs and memes is a valuable commodity. Who needs to type out that they are “lol-ing” when they can simply send emoji to convey the same message. Emojis are even incorporated in the way users search on social media platforms. For example, Instagram just enabled a new feature, allowing users to search emojis to find related image content in the same way that users can search for hashtags.

Emojis are changing the way we should market.

When it comes to marketers, emojis are valuable in a completely different way than traditional written content. It seems silly to think that a mini photo of a taco could build a relationship with a focus demographic, but it can! The key to effective marketing is speaking the language of your target audience. Because emojis are so frequently used by the coveted millennial market, they allow brands to make connections with young consumers and improve the effectiveness of their messages.

Some brands are already doing it right.

Some brands have already caught on to the fact that emojis can be a faster and more efficient way to communicate with their audiences. For example, statistics show that speed and simplicity are two things that consumers typically look for when ordering fast foods like pizza. According to Mintel’s report Pizza Restaurants – US, November 2014 61% of consumers say that they don’t mind ordering this type of food through the Internet or an app because it's easier than calling a restaurant.

Domino’s is at the top of the emoji game, now allowing its customers to order pizza by simply texting a pizza emoji to a specified number, and offering free emoji literacy flashcards for their costumers. The company has understood that emojis are a growing trend, which is important, as some experts have stated that emojis are actually the fastest-growing language on earth.

Now, even Starbucks is hopping on the emoji train with it’s first TV ad campaign featuring life’s sweetest moments celebrated through text and emoji.

There's one key takeaway for marketers:

Emojis may be sweeping the world, but they’re about more than cute interpretative pictures. Brands would be wise to stay on top of the curve and adopt the use of emojis into their marketed content. Consumers will appreciate brands that speak directly to them in a language they can understand, embrace, and use daily.

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