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How to Use Emojis to Improve Email Open Rates

Meredith Cunningham | October 29, 2018

Need a clever way to stand out from other emails in the inbox this holiday season? Using emojis in subject lines could be the gift that keeps on giving.

Did you know that when brands use an emoji in an email subject line, the open rate is higher than emails without them?

With Apple’s release of 70 new emojis in iOS 12.1, there’s never been a better time to think about how emojis can help improve your brand communications.

When Can I Use Emojis?

A 2017 study from Return Path found that the use of certain emojis in subject lines can increase email open rates, especially around holidays.

For example, the study found a particular Valentine’s Day promotional email subject line with a lips emoji had a 4 percent higher open rate (24 percent) and 6 percent better inbox placement rate (89 percent) than its text-only counterpart. Similar results were found for Father’s Day campaigns using the wrench emoji.

Which Emojis Can I Use?

With nearly 3,000 emojis recognized by the Unicode Consortium, finding an emoji that fits your business needs shouldn’t be too hard.

Auto Dealerships could use one of several cars or traffic signs available.

Educational Institutions can use the teacher emoji, a graduation cap, notebooks, or one of several other school supplies.

Health Care Specialists can choose from a hospital, a variety of medicines, or sick faces.

Home Services companies have plenty of homes to choose from …

… while Financial Services have lots of lucrative options too.

There is also a very wide range of emojis that can be used during the holidays. Halloween messages could use the zombie, spider, ghost, skulls, and several pieces of candy. There are turkey and corn for Thanksgiving, December has emojis for Christmas and Haunakah with lots of gift options and holiday symbols like Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and there are lots of libations available for the New Year’s parties in January.

Best Practices

As mentioned earlier, marketers have been skeptical of using emojis for a number of reasons. So before you start going crazy and adding 👏emojis👏into 👏 everything👏, take a step back and use these tips to help find the messaging that resonates best with your audience.

    1. Scope out the competition. Are your competitors using emojis? If they are, how are they using them and do they seem to be working? Use your competition to generate ideas and learn from their mistakes.
    2. Start small. Send emails with emojis to a portion of your subscriber list, while sending non-emoji emails with the same subject line to test effectiveness.
    3. Make sure emojis render properly. Broken emojis can land an email right in the trash can. Check and double check that the emojis you use will render properly by the email clients your subscribers use.
    4. Mix it up and get creative. Try to use a different emoji with each message. With thousands of options to choose from, there’s no real reason to use the same emoji over and over and over again.

About TEGNA Marketing Solutions

TEGNA Marketing Solutions’ email marketing team delivers a wide variety of email campaigns to targeted audiences for real, measurable results. Our experts develop mobile-friendly creative, utilize effective audience targeting methods, and strategic deployment tactics that guarantee your message reaches the inbox of your target audience, not their SPAM folder. Learn more about TEGNA’s email solutions.

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