Emojis have grown and evolved a lot in recent years. They gained tremendous traction in both personal and professional communication.

Gifs and emojis can be a tremendous tool to stand out or add personality, but do not necessarily resonate across segments and buyers.” – Will Walker, Marketing Manager at Marsden Marketing

So think twice before sending a 💩 to your boss! 😂

But what about marketing emails? 📧

The battle for the inbox is real! Email marketers have to keep up with new trends to get results.

One of these new trends is using emojis in email marketing, especially in subject lines.

In fact, an Email Marketing Daily article says that emoji use by companies in email campaigns has risen 609% year-over-year. 😲

Email was a late bloomer for emoji use. But after emojis started to gain ground in email at the beginning of 2016, it took off with an increase of 7100% increase compared to 2015.

Subject lines

Let’s be honest. Inboxes are pretty dull interfaces filled with text. And emojis are a great way to cut through this dullness with some colorful visuals.

So email marketers take advantage of what emojis have to offer. Research conducted by Phrasee found that about 5% of global subject lines in 2017 included one or more emojis. Of that 5% of subject lines, about 1500 different emojis were used. 😮

(You may have noticed the subject line of this email, and every GrowRevenue email for that matter, also contains an emoji 🌿)

Okay, so emoji use in subject lines is gaining ground. But does it improve the performance of them?

Yes, it does. In a sense.

Well, it’s not that simple, nothing ever is. 🙄 The research found that emojis work “about 60% of the time”. When they work they increase open rates by about 25% of a standard deviation.

An emoji won’t make or break your subject line. An emoji can either:

  • Make a bad subject line worse,
  • Or make a good subject line better.

In specific industries and circumstances you should avoid emojis.

But, context is another crucial factor you’ll have to take into account when using emojis. Don’t use emojis just for the sake of it. Based on your content you can figure out whether to use emojis or not.

Apply common sense! If you email your clients about a server malfunction putting a 🤷‍ in the subject line will probably piss your recipients off. On the other hand, emailing your subscribers about a Valentine’s Day promotion with a ❤ in the subject line can increase your open and click rates.

Real life results

Here are the results of a few subject line tests from Atomizy, an email automation company (next to the subject you can see the open rates):

✉ Leads on auto-pilot?! – 50%
💵 Leads on auto-pilot?! – 45.34%

😊 It’s Friday Pitch Day – 43.18%
🤑 It’s Friday Pitch Day – 38.63%

✉ First daily post – 48.25%
First daily post – 35.46%

✉ My new YouTube channel – 39.3%
📺 My new YouTube channel – 37.57%

Once again, you can see the positive effect an emoji can have on your open rates. Have a look at the open rates of “✉ First daily post” vs. “First daily post”.

To give you some inspiration, here are a couple more subject lines with emojis that worked well:

I’m not a copywriter. That’s why I stand out. 💌 – 54.9% open rate
💵 The day I won my first gargantuan sized client – 49.3%
😇 Useful link for you 😇 – 56.7%

Don’t

Don’t do this please 👇 😃😃😃

Conclusion

Emojis in email marketing work! Although, you have to take your audience and the context into account.

Use them in subject lines to illustrate your topic, catch the attention of inbox scanners and save some characters.

Use them inside your emails to highlight your main points and drive attention to your call to action.

Operating systems and email clients render emojis differently. Use emojis if your subscribers use:

  • Mobile devices,
  • OS X operating systems (above OS X 10.7 Lion),
  • Or current Windows operating systems (above Windows 8.1).

Send test emails and open them on different operating systems and email clients to make sure they look the way you’d like them to.

Try putting emojis in different places of your subjects lines and see what works the best for you.

Emojis in Email Marketing Guide + What Experts Say

PS. I think I haven’t told you for quite a while, and you may have forgotten. My bad. Please know this: I’m incredibly grateful that you take a few minutes out of your life to read what I send you. It’s fantastic, I really appreciate it, and you’re… wait for it… awesome! 😍