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Should You Use Emojis in Your Email Subject Lines?

Iva Karcevski | August 7, 2017 

The use of emojis in email marketing messages is becoming increasingly popular. Thanks to emojis, email subject lines are getting a lot more expressive and aren’t limited to just text anymore.

Appboy reports a 775% year-over-year increase in the use of emojis in email marketing messages.

Despite emojis’ increased popularity in marketing, some marketers are still hesitant to incorporate them into their emails due to uncertainty about how subscribers and Email Service Providers (ESPs) will receive them.

Top 15 Emojis by Subject Line Appearances according to MailChimp
Graphic Source:MailChimp

Reasons for using Emojis in Email Subject Lines

Brands use emojis in their email marketing for many reasons. The following are just a few of the most popular:

  • Standing out in the inbox. Email inboxes are increasingly full, making it harder for emails to stand out. Emails with emojis in the subject line are far more likely to catch a subscriber’s eye than ones without.
  • Increasing open rates. Using emojis in subject lines can be an effective way to increase email open rates. According to a report by Experian, 56% percent of brands using emojis in their subject lines achieved a higher unique open rate.
  • Saving space in email subject lines. Email marketers typically only have up to 30-40 characters max to fit their entire subject line on a mobile device. With emojis, they can say a lot with just one character and save space.

Are Emojis Right for Your Business?

However, emojis may not be appropriate for all businesses and brands. Consider these to determine whether using emojis is right is right for you.

  • Audience and Tone. For some businesses, using emojis just may not be appropriate. This applies, in particular, to companies who are perceived to be in more serious industries, such as financial services or health care, whose customers may view the use of emojis as unprofessional. In general, emojis work best for B2C brands targeted to younger audiences.
  • Potential Rendering Issues. Emojis may not render properly across all email clients. For instance, in Gmail, you may notice that emojis look different in the inbox view compared to after the email is opened. Remember to test your emails thoroughly before sending to avoid rendering issues.

How symbols display in different clients' subject lines
Graphic Source: Campaign Monitor

Tips for using Emojis in Your Email Marketing

Here are some guidelines to help you use emojis in your email marketing more effectively.

  • Use sites such as Emojispedia or this list from Campaign Monitor to find emojis. Simply copy and paste the emojis that you want to use in your email subject line.
  • Don’t use emojis just for the sake of using them. Make sure they are relevant to your audience.
  • When using emojis, tone and context matter. Use emojis that complement your message.
  • Better safe than sorry! Make sure your audience responds well to emojis before sending them in emails to all your subscribers. A/B test emails with and without emojis allow the difference in open rate to help you determine what is working.
  • Finally, don’t go overboard. While emojis are fun to use, it’s easy to overdo it. Maybe just reserve them for special occasions.

Are you already using emojis in your emails? What impact is it having on your open rates? Tweet us and let us know.

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Iva Karcevski

Iva Karcevski | Digital Marketing Specialist

Iva Karcevski is a Digital Marketing Specialist at ListEngage. She has a degree in Marketing and is certified in Google Analytics and AdWords. Iva has specialized in marketing for small businesses with an emphasis in branding, website development, and social media. Iva is also a photographer and is passionate about design and imagery. She also creates and curates content and writes articles for ListEngage and several of its clients. Her main focus at ListEngage, however, is managing the company’s social media marketing.