Emoji Marketing: Another Fly In The Mobile Marketing Ointment?

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Not long ago, right here in these hallowed halls, as it were, I penned a piece with the not-so-upbeat title The Pathetic State Of Mobile Marketing And Advertising. The reason for my use of the word that is defined as being miserably or contemptibly inadequate was based on some findings of different mobile-related research.

Pathetic seemed to be the correct adjective given the fact that less than two in 10 advertisers consider themselves to be “advanced” when it comes to mobile and a mere 2 in 10 use personalization when it comes to their mobile endeavors.

So it is quite clear that far too many marketers and advertisers still don’t “get it” when it comes to mobile.

Emojis To the Rescue?

And along comes emoji marketing to save the day.

Well, not quite, but based on recent reports a great number of marketers and advertisers are jumping on the emoji bandwagon as a means to increase the success rate of not just their mobile endeavors but email, too. According to Jess Nelson of Email Marketing Daily “the use of emojis in mobile and email marketing messages has increased 775% year-over-year” and “triggered email messages containing emojis have jumped more than 7,000% in recent months and emoji use in marketing messages has shown a steady 20% increase month-to-month in 2016.”

As Bill Towell, founder of BDS Mobile — who works with such brands as Jersey Mike’s Subs, Real Techniques Makeup Tools, Solo Cup, and Oscar Mayer Wienermobile — says mobile behaviors are evolving beyond just voice. “We’ve seen in recent years the rise of media in the form of photos and videos and in the last few years, an uptick in emoji use; entire generations of mobile users are using emojis at a rapidly growing rate,” he said. “What started out as fun and kitschy is now something much more, there’s even a World Emoji Day (July 17), Oxford Dictionary’s 2015 Word of the Year was the ‘Tears of Joy’ emoji, and in the U.K., Emoji is considered the ‘fastest growing language.’”

Towell believes that brands are just beginning to dip their toes into the emoji marketing pool as a means to deliver engaging, measurable, rich-branded content. They’re just not sure how to get started or dive into the deep end.

“We’re seeing a few of the big billion-dollar brands start to develop their own third party emoji keyboard apps,” says Towell. “But since most brands lack the ability to invest tens of thousands (and even millions) of dollars into the tech, they are turning to new emoji pathways to help them ride the emoji momentum at a fraction of the cost in order to harvest the opportunities like using branded in-line emoji for both paid and native advertising content.”

Big Brands Take the Lead

To date we’ve seen big brands such as Starbucks, L’OréalTwitter and Pepsi dive into the deep end of emoji marketing as well as some pop culture heavyweights, the Kardashians and Justin Bieber with each creating their own line of branded emojis and in L’Oréal’s case, their own emoji keyboard.

Eva M. Oreskovich, VP of Marketing for Paris Presents, the parent company of Real Techniques Makeup Tools says bigger brands are able to try new tech tools because they have an advantage over smaller brands. “Smaller brands can be slower to adopt new technology due to resources – they allow the big brands to lead the way and prove a successful path forward.”

She adds that they’ve been able to stay ahead of new technologies by leveraging unique relationships by working with companies such as BDS Mobile. “It gives us the opportunity to be a part of an app that will scale alongside a number of brands, reaching more diverse users than one brand can do alone.”

 Emoji marketing also makes sense given the fact that Real Techniques’ target audience are millennials and 40% say they would rather communicate via pictures than words. “Millennials love iconography and have begun replacing traditional written communication with emoji – the visual language,” says Oreskovich. “Any brand that speaks that language with them is a brand that has joined them where they are, and that’s brand engagement at its finest.”

The Future

In terms of what the future holds Oreskovich sees the lines that define mobile blurring over the course of time. “Watches, phones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs are becoming more alike in technology, and ultimately contributing similarly to the web of digital that surrounds us,” she said. “Emoji marketing will be a piece of this world in the future, but I would envision the look, feel, and use changing over time with culture.”

Like any other new, flashy tool or marketing idea, the most important thing for brands to do is test. You cannot just dive into that deep end without testing it on your audience first. Just because it works for one brand in one industry does not mean it will work for you (brand) in yours (industry).

Source: http://www.forbes.com/

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