Should You Use Emojis in Email Marketing?

May 25, 2022

In the world of email marketing, the following question is all too familiar:


How do I make my campaigns stand out from all the other emails crowding my subscriber’s inbox?


Email marketers are increasingly using various interactive and flashy features within their emails to help bump those engagement and conversion numbers. However, these only work once your readers open your email message. That’s where a well-written subject line and preheader text come into play.


While too many emojis might make your email campaign look spammy, emojis can be a powerful tool in email marketing, whether you’re using a simple smiley face or the checkbox emoji. They’re fun, expressive and eloquent – an image can be worth a thousand words, right?


Even more importantly, they’re universally understood.


To sum it up, using emojis in emails is not an outlandish marketing practice. But what makes it effective, and when does it become too much? Let’s break it down.


⬇️ Down Arrow Emoji — Meaning In Texting, Copy & Paste 📚
👇 Finger Pointing Down Emoji Meaning with Pictures: from A to Z


In today’s current marketing climate, there’s no one size fits all solution. When it comes to effective marketing practices, it differs for every business and ultimately depends on each industry, audience, and message.


Since the first era of Apple iPhone emojis came onto the scene in 2008, close to 90% of marketers have used emojis in at least one of their email campaigns. A 2016 analysis even reported a 775% annual increase in marketing messages containing emojis.


Today, some marketers still think that emojis are great and are the only way to make your brand come across as a more relatable one. Others aren’t so fond of the idea and believe that emojis are overused and outdated and, consequently, tacky and uncreative.


Mobile Phone Emoji (U+1F4F1)
📧 E-Mail Emoji on Apple iOS 11.2




According to the Adobe 2021 Global Emoji Trend Report, there are some eye-opening statistics that are associated with using emojis in email subject lines:


  • Higher open rate

The open rate of emails with emojis in the subject line is 56% higher than those without.


  • Greater unique click rate

The unique click rate of emails with emojis is 28% higher than emails that do not include them.


  • More product sales

When advertising products, 44% of users were more likely to purchase products advertised with emojis in the subject line.


  • Showcase your brand’s personality

Emojis can give off a friendly and personable appearance that can result in attracting new business as well as retaining customers.


  • Give readers a preview of subject matter

Promoting a new product or service? Using emojis are useful for catching the reader’s eye and entice them to read further about what your email’s subject matter is.




Even though the data above supports using emojis in email marketing subject lines, there are some potential downsides:


  • Time-consuming process

Emoji marketing isn’t a ‘set and forget’ type of thing. It requires a lot of research and close attention to current trends.


  • Decrease email visibility

Today, the percentage of marketers that use emojis in their subject lines is closer to a solid 90%. With the trend being so popular, it might be easier to stand out from the crowd if you don’t include a smiley face in your subject line. Too many emojis might land your email in the spam folder.


  • Negative effect on brand image

If you fail to use the appropriate emojis, you risk misinterpretation. If this is the case, hopefully it results in only a small mishap. However, this could lead to the type of scandal you’d want to avoid at all costs.


While both viewpoints have some valid reasoning behind them, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It’s important to consider both sides before concluding whether emojis are a hit or a miss for your email marketing efforts.


valentines day heart emoji
shamrock emoji


If you decide that you want to use emojis in your next campaign subject line, here are some helpful tips:


Emojis can actually help save space on the subject line. Rather than use the recommended maximum allotment of 60 characters, use 1-3 emojis to convey part of your message. Keep in mind that only the first 50 characters appear for mobile devices – using emojis may be your best bet if most of your audience checks their email from a mobile device.


By incorporating this visual component into your subject line, emojis allow for your email to stand out amongst others. Although they are definitely an eye-catching form of communication, not everybody appreciates them. Emojis are more commonly associated with Millennial/Gen Z audiences.


If there is going to be a time to try out using emojis in your email marketing, think about incorporating some into your next holiday campaign. The top emojis used in emails during the winter holiday period saw an increased open rate of 4% but also resulted in a higher complaint rate than other emails. We suggest Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day to test this out.


What we can determine with using emojis in your email campaigns is that it’s worth testing out. Maybe your audience will love it, maybe they won’t, but like most things, it can’t hurt to try.

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