Alexander Lashkov

@alexlashkov

The advantages of emojis in email newsletters: stats and tips

Businesses have recently discovered several ingenious ways to use emojis for promotion and acquisition. The most original one is to add these icons right into the website URL.

For example, in 2015 Coca-Cola used the following domain containing smileys for promotion in Puerto Rico:

In addition, emojis can be posted in page headings. In 2015, Google refused the use of such symbols, but in 2017 they reconsidered it and now, some opages in the results look like this:

Despite the originality of domains and pages with emojis — it is more of a style thing. Besides, there’s an area which is giving real benefits of emoji use — email marketing.

According to SalesForce, about 2% of companies emails sent to private clients contain emojis in the subject line. There are email marketing tools that can system can create newsletters with emojis. That’s why it is important feature.

Emojis in email marketing: some figures

Analysts at Experian examined the results of mailing lists when using emojis in the subject line of the email. According to the survey, the open rate of letters with emojis in the subject linewas 56% higher compared to the plain subject lines.

ReturnPath conducted a research analysing newsletters metrics with and without icons at different periods of the year. The results showed that in a certain period the use of specific emojis could significantly increase mailings effectiveness. For example, if the subject letter had a lips image, the index was 24% while the index of messages with just the text in the subject letter wasn’t over 20%.

Swiftpage, a developer of apps for small businesses, conducted their own experiment on the effectiveness of emails with emojis in the subject letters. Half of the mailing subscribers were getting emoji messages and the rest, only the text.

The results on emoji messages:

  • An increase of unique openings by 29%,
  • An increase of unique click rate by 28%,
  • CTR increased by 93%.

Why this happens

Before moving from numbers to tips on emojis in email marketing, it’s worth considering why sometimes messages with funny smileys are so effective. Here are several reasons:

They give the essence briefly

The main advantage of emojis is saving space. In some cases, a simple smiley can replace almost the whole sentence.

In their reports, the company Joss & Mann replaces the word “enjoy” by a heart icon.

Taking into account that users open more and more messages on their mobile phones, space saving in the subject line becomes a crucial element. The subject line in mailings has only 30–40 characters. Here emojis come in handy to give relevant information, within the allowed word limit.

Emoji = emotions

Considering that the algorithms of mail systems spam filters are getting more and more stringent, marketers don’t very many ways to add emotions into their text. For example, using CapsLock in the subject line significantly increases the chances of moving the letter to spam.

Emojis are not much more annoying for the email program, so they can “animate” the message without any risk of it to going into the spam folder.

Easy to use

The great advantage of the use of emoticons is that they don’t make the message layout process complicated. They can be just copy and pasted. In addition, some email newsletter services allow the selection of emojis right in the letter’s editor.

In conclusion, here are some tips on using emojis to increase mailing effectiveness.

Smileys should be relevant to the content

There are more than two thousand Unicode emojis. Considering such an amount, there’s a great temptation to use a maximum of happy faces in emails. However, it’s better to pick emojis relevant to the content.

For example, the ModCloth online store launched a mailing list dedicated to the USA National Cat Day — a holiday aiming to draw attention to the problem of homeless animals and to encourage people to take animals from shelters. The store arranged the sale and notified users by this subject line:

The click opened this email:

Here emojis helped to draw attention to the message content. That’s the way they should be used.

Everything needs testing

It’s no use believing that your message will be displayed as intended without testing it. Some characters may not appear as planned, some will disappear altogether, so testing is obligatory when working with emoticons in an email.

If you work with major email services like Gmail or Yahoo.. Email everything seems fine but Outlook.com and iPhone/iPad email services sometimes transform emojis into text smileys. Outlook 2003 does not recogтize them at all — the recipients are going to see ▢ instead of the emoji. Of course, it’s an out-of-date service, but in some cases, a statistically significant part of subscribers may use it. For example, in the b2b domain the software is not regularly updated in some companies.

Apply emojis carefully

Despite the above-mentioned advantages of emojis, not everyone likes them. According to the statistics, 30% of email users don’t like to see such characters in emails and even see them as unacceptable. Therefore, a sudden introduction of emojis may provoke negative results.

To avoid this, introduce innovations gradually and use A/B tests. For instance, you can divide subscribers into segments and send an email with the emoji subject to 20% of the users, and another 20% will receive a letter with the same topic but without smileys. A results’ comparison will help to better understand the consequences of emoji use for the entire mailing base.

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