Emojis – a piece of culture or a passing trend?

In such visual-focused times, it comes as no surprise that emojis have stepped in to fill the gaps of plain text-based written communications. Not only are emojis flexible, immediate and heart-warming, but they also add the much-needed emotional nuance to otherwise flat messages..

With the increasing globalisation and digitalisation of societies, more and more people adopt emojis in their daily communications. As the usage of emojis continues to grow across different cultures and communities, so do people’s expectations of encountering inclusive emojis that they can relate and associate with. This trend has put pressure on emoji designers and has led to significant brainstorming for the creative teams.

Responding to demands

Starting from 2014, emojis representing food, flags and families were no longer enough; food emojis were not just a mere representation of your meal but also a digital acknowledgement of culture. By 2016 more and more inclusive emojis started emerging, such as African cuisine emojis, Palestinian flag, five skin tones and same-sex couple emojis. Thus, the diversity of emojis kept on increasing steadily until recently, when 400 more emojis have been added to the latest Apple iOS update. The 398 new emojis, to be precise, include a large variety of non-binary and gender-neutral emojis.

All the human emojis have now a third option for the gender-neutral pictograph including the merpeople, vampires or zombies. In addition to the new gender-inclusive options, users will now be able to select any combination of skin tone for the holding-hand emoji. Disability-themed emojis such as probing cane, hearing aid or mechanical leg have also been introduced which makes Apple a great example of promoting inclusion in the digital space.

Emojis – worth using on social media?

Most trends get communicated, shared or even established on social media. Hence, in order to keep up with the fast-changing times, following users’ trends and upgrading their offerings according to the public demands becomes a mandatory requirement for survival as a social platform. The following statistics (2019) will offer more clarity on the importance of incorporating emojis more in social media ads and posts.

  • Annual increase in emoji usage in marketing messages: 775%
  • Instagram comments containing emojis: almost 50%
  • Increase in mobile push notification open rate when containing emojis: 85%
  • Average number of emoji sent on Facebook Messenger each day: 5 billion

How appealing a social media ad can be for its audience is more often than not related to how visually attractive the content is. Thus, emojis not only offer a more relatable form of targeting millennials and help declutter the message, but also improve the visual element of a post which can mark the difference between the post being ignored or looked at. Infact, using emojis on a post increases engagement by a huge 48% (!) on Instagram, according to a study.

After all, marketers need to acknowledge that regardless of people’s gender, nation, colour, sexual orientation or health condition, emojis are now more likely than ever to become a lingua franca of the digital age.

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