BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Twitter Emojis Deemed Beneficial But Underused

April 8, 2018

In 2016, Twitter took advantage of the world’s enthusiasm for emojis used by big social media platforms and chat software to create a new marketing concept. The concept, called emoji ad targeting, offered the ability to target individual ads toward users who regularly used certain emojis. This was specifically catered toward twitter users and their emojis, and while the tool has been available for approximately two years, it’s deemed underused, and possibly unnecessary.

One of the benefits of the emoji marketing campaign, according to Twitter, is that it can be combined with other strategies to target an entirely new demographic while still maintaining the standard customer group. Unfortunately, while the concept has been around for a couple of years now, it is still considered extremely novel, which could be the reason it hasn’t been adopted by as many companies as Twitter would like.

Some marketing firms have concluded that they do have clients who use the tool, but not as many as would be assumed. To use the campaign, businesses must first reportedly become Twitter-certified partners so that the emoji targeting becomes available to them. Twitter has the potential to use this concept at a larger scale, leaving some businesses wondering why it hasn’t quite taken off, especially since results by those who do use it are positive.

Emojis and Marketing

Some businesses using the Twitter emoji marketing concept have seen growth through its introduction. A restaurant chain, for example, has seen growth of more than 200% since applying the emoji targeting strategy to their marketing campaigns. This means that since using the tactic, ads employing the emoji idea have brought in more business than traditional ads alone.

Usually, marketing materials focus on other information regarding its target audience; for example, age, gender, marital status, whether or not they have children, whether or not they are home owners, whether or not they travel, location, income, etc. The emoji marketing concept has more to do with social media communication, which has become a huge part of the lives of many Americans due to its popularity.

The concept has been associated with the use of keywords in advertising. Key words are words marketers use in their ads to capture the attention of audiences who might be looking for a specific item or service with those exact words. For example, if a user searches on Google for “Plumber in Kentucky” then businesses which use the keywords “Plumber in Kentucky” may be displayed first in their ranking results. Similarly, emojis could be used to capture the attention of those seeking a specific feeling, type of imagery, or terminology represented by said emoji.

There are more emojis available than many people know what to do with. For example, there are food emojis, flag emojis, transportation emojis, expressive facial emojis, family emojis, and even weather emojis. There’s an emoji for just about any activity, mood, or region you could want to describe in an advertisement and using one emoji to do so saves on the word count. So, why don’t more businesses use emoji ad targeting? Well, that’s the question Twitter seems to be asking.

Accessing Emojis

Emojis have been around since 1999, when they were introduced in Japan, by Shigetaka Kurita. They were used at the time to convey emotion via mobile phone but have since been adapted into a far broader range of pictographs to be sent as messages. The emoji didn’t become widely popular until around 2010, and now even has its own feature film.

Emojis are used by all social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, among others. However, they aren’t seen is as many traditional forms of advertising as they are through online advertising. Some companies believe this could be due to the ability to misconstrue the message of the emoji. For example, if an ad says, “Spend a week in the sunny tropics of the Bahamas”, it’s clear what that ad is trying to suggest to its viewers. On the other hand, an ad which portrays an umbrella, a wave, and a sun could mean many things, and could be misconstrued as a message about the weather.

Whether emoji marketing will pick-up in the future or not is hard to determine at this time. What’s known for sure is that it does have a place in marketing now, just not as large a place as Twitter might like. As the tech industry continues to dominate the market, there might be more of a calling for these emojis. Or, if a more standardized dictionary of emoji meanings is ever created, it could make it easier for marketing firms to capture their audience by emoji use. However, for the time being, the small select marketers using emojis may have an advantage over those who have yet to take the chance with emoji use. They have a strategy that is unique, in a world that is dominated by the common.

To really understand why emojis haven’t quite taken off as a marketing concept, the foundation of advertising may need to be more closely examined. How much advertising is now done through social media and has the outcome of test vs. images altered the traffic and revenue accumulated by those ads? These are the questions marketing firms need to be asking before taking on the emoji challenge. For a closer look at emoji ad targeting and how it works, you can find more information through Twitter, or the many press releases which reported on the campaign at its start.


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