Insight: Mailjet – World Emoji Day 2017; are we over the emoji?

Despite the momentum around emojis with an upcoming film ‘The Emoji Movie’ and World Emoji Day, research from email provider Mailjet reveals emojis appear to have lost the momentum that made them such an effective marketing tactic in 2016.

Conducted via a series of tests among Mailjet’s database of over 30,000 subscribers, the research found open rates in the UK and the US only rose by 5% and 6% respectively this year when emojis accompanied the subject line.

By comparison, last year Brits were 63% more likely to open an email when the choice of emoji juxtaposed the tone of the email subject line to indicate sarcasm. In the instance of using a crying emoji to accompany the subject line “Do your emails look this good?” open rates surged by as much as 95%.

Time to retire?

Emojis displaying tearful reactions such as the face with tears of joy emoji 😂  (39% open rate in 2016) and the loudly crying emoji 😭  (41% open rate in 2016) appear to have grown old. Brits are now 33% less likely to open a message using the crying emoji than an email without it. This type of emoji, despite being last year’s most popular icon, saw a global net decrease in open rate of 8% in 2017.

In the UK, France and Germany, the strongest reactions to the use of an emoji were towards non-emotive icons. The raised hands emoji 🙌  generated a 21% increase in open rate in the UK, where the winking face 😜  and sunglasses 😎  emojis produced a 10% and 23% increase in France and Germany respectively.

However, the overall best performer was the simple red heart emoji ❤️. The emoji was one of few to generate a positive net result across all test regions with a 6% increase in open rate. Other emojis creating a positive net open rate include the winking face (3%).

Know your emoji

2016’s most successful emoji has become this year’s most divisive. Where a third of Brits were less likely to open an email employing the loudly crying emoji, the same proportion of recipients in Germany were more likely to open the same message. This suggests there is overall a more positive receptiveness in Germany towards the icons – the country averaged a 14% increased open rate with the use of emojis.

Josie Scotchmer, UK Marketing Manager at Mailjet comments: “It’s now commonplace to use emojis in email marketing and we’ll probably see more and more of them as Google announces an all new set of icons for its latest Android operating system. However, it’s a sign to marketers that perhaps their peak has come.”

“There is still plenty we can learn from the emoji though and this research pinpoints the importance of knowing your audience to communicate most effectively with email,” she adds. “Marketers need to take note of stark cultural differences when it comes to audience receptiveness, but also cross-platform compatibility. Brands will be looking for the next big thing in engagement and need to be aware of all the different platforms their email will be displayed on and test any tactic they plan to use against these.”


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