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BizReport : Email Marketing : May 29, 2017

Emojis in email subject lines... yes or no?

Does including an emoji in an email subject line make it more likely to be opened? According to email delivery specialists, Return Path, the answer is yes... and no.

by Helen Leggatt

The number of messages sent containing emoji continues to grow. Last year, Appboy reported delivering 814 million messages containing an emoji during June, 2016, up 461% YoY. Brands used emoji in 2,680 marketing campaigns, an increase of over 600% since June last year. Better still, it seemed that people really like them. The survey found that more than 64% like or love emoji, compared to only 6% who dislike or hate them.

Return Path recently looked at the use of emoji in email marketing, comparing them to text-only subect lines and found that, in some cases, the use of emoji did appear to raise the read rate.

For example, during the Valentine's Day period email sent with the 'lips' emoji in the subject line generated a read rate of 24% and an inbox placement of 89%. In comparison, those emails sent with text-only subject lines during the same period had a read rate of 20% and an inbox placement of 83%. During the Father's Day period, emails sent with the 'wrench' emoji garnered a read rate of 22% and an inbox placement of 96% (vs. 21% and 88% respectively for text-only).

Yet, the read rate and inbox placement for New Year promotions featuring a 'clinking champagne glasses' emoji fell far below the average for text-only New Year emails with just a 9% read rate and 38% inbox placement rate.

According to Return Path senior director of research, Tom Sather, few marketers currently use emojis so there is some novelty value to using them. However, warns Sather, "what works one time may not work every time". Indeed, testing is important to ensure an audience is receptive.

Sather's advice to marketers is that they "use our findings as a starting point for testing their own campaigns. Every brand needs to find its own voice and understand its unique audience. There's no magic formula to using emojis, or any other aspect of an email campaign".

Tags: content, email marketing, emoji

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