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How to Use the World’s Most Popular Emojis for Marketing


Olivia Scholes

Marketing Associate - 31 Jul, 2019


We just had a genius idea: marketing that incorporates the world’s most popular emojis.

Okay, so incorporating the world’s most popular emojis within a marketing strategy is already being done by a few of the big players, but it isn’t being talked about or implemented the way it should be by not-so-big brands.  

 In fact, for whatever reason, the conversation around emoji marketing remains relatively quiet – reticent, almost.

 Well, we want to make some noise on this topic.

 In this article, we’ll look at the top emojis used on social media in 2018. Then, we’ll discuss a few ways marketers and brand managers can effectively implement emoji marketing to engage their audiences.

 We’ve also sprinkled in a few emoji stats here and there that help make the case for why you need to be using emojis in your marketing starting, like, now.

Do Emojis Really Matter?

 If you think emojis are silly or just a trend that’ll soon fade out, think again.

According to Brandwatch’s latest “Emotions Report,” emojis have become an integral part of our language, changing both the way we communicate and convey our emotions.

What this means is that emojis are just as important to our communication as words themselves.

Crazy, right?

Well, not necessarily.

You see, since the beginning, we’ve committed to using different types of signs, drawings, symbols, and graphics to transmit messages.


Obligatory emoji stat:

72% of people find it easier to express emotions using emojis. The New Republic

(Don’t you just heart knowing you’re not the only one?)


In fact, in many early cases of written communication, and across many cultures, pictographs were the only things used to communicate. No words; no punctuation; just symbols and other drawings.

That said, it’s not farfetched to assume that emojis could very well now be a permanent fixture in language itself.

And as you’ll see in the next section, the numbers fully support this conclusion.  

Most Popular Emojis Used on Social Media in 2018

Truth be told, 2018 was a big year for emojis, social media, and emoji use on social media.

As one would expect, a number of joy-related—like heart and smile—and sadness-related—like sweat and frown—emojis made the list for the most used emoticons. But what was interesting to see was the new and various types of emojis that have also picked up in popularity in 2018.

Here’s a general overview a few of the most used emojis—and their corresponding emotions/category—on social media in 2018 (all courtesy of the Brandwatch report):

Most popular emojis

Oh, and these are in no particular order.

Emoji: blush

  • Description: Flushed face; wide eyes, closed mouth
  • Emotion/Category: Surprise
  • Common Use(s): To express embarrassment, astonishment, excitement, admiration, disbelief

 Emoji: broken-heart

  • Description: Broken heart
  • Emotion/Category: Sadness
  • Common Use(s): To express emotional pain, sorrow, longing

 Emoji: heart-eyes

  • Description: Smiling face with heart eyes
  • Emotion/Category: Joy/love
  • Common Use(s): To express infatuation, love, blushing, adoration

 Emoji: sick

  • Description: Face with medical mask
  • Emotion/Category: Disgust or veneration
  • Common Use(s): To express dislike, sickness, health-related emotions; or adoration, respect (weird, we know)


Featured Stat

92% of the world’s online population use emojis. CMO


 Emoji: frustrated

  • Description: Face with steam from nose
  • Emotion/Category: Anger
  • Common Use(s): To express disagreement, pride, contempt, irritation, dislike

 Emoji: smile

  • Description: Beaming face
  • Emotion/Category: Joy/happiness
  • Common Use(s): To express happiness, amusement, silliness, gratification


Implementing Emoji Marketing in Your Digital Strategy

Back in March of this year (2019), reports suggested that marketers who incorporate emojis into their email marketing see 80 % higher open rates

If that isn’t enough to convince you that you should start using emojis in your digital strategy, then we don’t know what will.

For those who are convinced, it’s now a question of how you should be using emojis in your marketing.

Well, we have two quick and easy suggestions for getting you started:

Email Marketing: Email is by far one of the easiest places to plug in an emoji or two.

  • Great reasons/places to use: Subject line; in conjunction with promos and exciting content
  • Example use: “The key to a healthier life is already in your pocket!”
  • Justification: Makes email marketing more expressive, engaging, and relatable
  • Emoji used: key

Most popular emojis


Another awesome emoji stat:

There’s been a 775% annual increase in the use of emojis in marketing. - ADWEEK 

(This is such a beautiful stat!)


Social Media Marketing: No-brainer, right? Trust us, you’ll fit right in with everyone else when you start using emojis in your social media posts and updates.

  • Great reasons/places to use: In promotional content; content that requires or encourages audience engagement
  • Example use: “Our reps are available to take your account questions M-F, 8-5pm
  • Justification: Represents (and visually illustrates) what is being said in message
  • Emoji used: information desk; woman tipping hand

So what are the best emojis to use in your marketing?

Well, there’s no real way to answer that. However, based on our research, some of the most creative and relatable ones include:

  • Pizza
  • Cherries
  • Biceps
  • Classic smiley face

You Down to Emoji?

Don’t misread what we’re saying here – emoji marketing isn’t an exact science.

It’s more like an art…a play-with-it-and-see-what-works-best-for-your-brand kind of art.

There are so many emojis and emoji combinations that you can try using in your marketing—any of which can be used to help you:

  • Boost engagement
  • Encourage click-through
  • Relate to your audience
  • Clarify or support your message
  • Be cool

In most all cases, the emojis you use in your marketing will be in perfect agreement with your actual message—and that’s exactly what you want. And no, incorporating emojis into your marketing doesn’t mean you’ll be crafting messages from a mobile device. There’s actually a way to add emojis from your desktop on both Mac and Windows computers. That should be all the more motivation to start emoji’ing as soon as possible!