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Celebrating Emojis on World Emoji Day

ListEngage Blog | July 17, 2017 

Did you know? Here are some fun facts about emojis on World Emoji Day.

  • The most used emoji on Twitter is Face with Tears of Joy according to EmojiTracker.
  • By mid-2015, half of all comments on Instagram included an emoji.
  • 86% of emoji users on Twitter are 24 or younger, and 57% are female.
  • iOS now supports 2,373 emojis in iOS 10.3 (the most recent release).

Today is World Emoji Day, and we are celebrating emojis. This universal language of symbols has made it easier to express emotion in our everyday digital communications. Emojis, which began as happy and sad smiling faces, have morphed into dozens of expressions and are hugely popular in text messages and email.

World Emoji Day was launched in 2014 to promote the use of emojis in digital communication by Emojipedia founder, Jeremy Burge. It’s used by companies and brands to launch emoji-related promotions and events around the world.

History of Emoji and Emoticons

According to the National Day Calendar, emojis evolved from emoticons (emotion + icon) and were developed as an expression of emotions in text messages. Emojis were developed in 1990 by Shigetaka Kurita while working for NTT Docomo, a Japanese telecom company, as a feature on their pagers to make them more appealing to teens. Emoticons have been around since 1982, but only actually moved into mainstream communication over recent years as social media and mobile capabilities have grown.

The Rise of Emojis

New Emojis are developed every year. keeps track of all the emoji updates across all platforms and operating systems. There are 2,666 emojis currently on the official Unicode Standard list covering much more than just emotions.  From transportation, food, an assortment of wild and domesticated animals to social platforms, weather and bodily functions, emojis virtually speak for themselves. The Unicode consortium lays out the framework for emojis and decides what should be depicted, but companies such as Apple and Google are free to create their own designs.

Emojis have become so popular that an animated film “The Emoji Movie” is being made about them.

Even businesses are starting to use emojis. However, marketers are still unsure how to leverage them.

More than 90 percent of people online now incorporate emojis into their texts and emails, and researchers are wondering what the use of these can reveal about human behavior. Early studies have found that these typographic displays can aid in cross-cultural communication, provide insights into user personalities, and supply information that could be of interest to disciplines ranging from linguistics to marketing.

The growth of emoji adoption and emoji themselves are not without criticism. Given their extreme popularity among teens, it begs the question are emojis appropriate for business communications?

Should Emojis be used in business communication?

Part of the answer may depend on your age and demographic. Emojis are not universal. Even in situations where use of emojis may be appropriate, they don’t always work as intended, as there can be differences of opinion on what certain emojis represent.

It also depends upon who a business is marketing to.  For instance, young women tend to be the heaviest emoji users with Millennials tending to be the most highly engaged.

Marketing with Emojis

Even though some critics don’t like emojis because they think they are replacing words and impacting literacy, marketers are increasingly embracing them as a quick and expressive way to stand out in subscribers’ inboxes. In fact, 56% of brands using emojis in their email subject lines had a higher unique open rate, according to a report by Experian.

Using emojis in a subject line is as simple as copying the symbol and pasting it into the subject line field of your email. However, not all of them show up properly on all mobile devices or email clients. If this happens, subscribers may not see the intended icon, so be sure to test your email across all email clients and devices. Using emoji in your email subject lines can be an effective strategy to increase your email engagement and open rates. Just don’t overdo it.


While some forward-thinking brands are embracing emojis, moderation is the key. It’s all about context and what tone you’d like to set. Regardless of your age or gender, emojis can be fun to use and make communicating certain thoughts faster.

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