Social ad engagement increases by 10pc with emoji inclusion: Twitter

Emojis have proven their worth in mobile marketing, with social media ads containing branded emojis capturing an almost 10 percent increase in consumer attention, according to new research from Twitter.

Twitter?s newfound focus on custom emojis has prompted a slew of brands to hop on the bandwagon and include the digital icons within their social media ads in an effort to increase engagement among millennials and younger consumers. Per Twitter, this strategy is paying off, especially when considering the fact that emotional connection increases by six times when branded emojis are included alongside a promoted video on the social platform.

?With branded emojis on Twitter, businesses can express their personality and connect with their customers,? said Eric Farkas, product marketing manager at Twitter. ?Branded emojis give consumers a unique, personal way to express their enthusiasm for a brand, and the brand becomes a part of the Twitter conversation.

?Branded emojis are more than just a small touch ? our research has shown that they stand out on Twitter and can even increase someone?s emotional connection to the brand.?

Emojis? star power
According to research from Twitter centering on branded emojis, the recent frenzy surrounding these digital characters is worth the hype. The amount of attention that Twitter ads containing branded emojis receive is nearly 10 percent higher than ads without them.

Branded emojis combined with promoted videos on Twitter result in consumer interest and emotional connection being six times higher than average.

Additionally, the median number of earned media created rests at 5.3 million Tweet impressions, which is a 420 percent increase over the earned media baseline.

Since brands can now create custom emojis that appear when their specific campaign hashtag is used in a Tweet, they can foster much higher mobile engagement. Custom emojis are also likely to offer more authenticity to a campaign.

For instance, Heineken and Major League Soccer brewed up awareness for their annual Rivalry Week festivities by rolling out a custom emoji that appeared in any Tweet containing the #RivalryWeek hashtag (see story).

A recent example showcasing emojis? potency in mobile marketing is Samsung?s launch of its Galaxy S7 smartphone. To commemorate the product rollout, the consumer tech marketer introduced a custom emoji iteration of the Gear VR headset, which popped up whenever a Twitter user used the #TheNextGalaxy hashtag.

Samsung?s use of the branded emoji ? alongside conversational ads ? resulted in a 75 percent year-over-year uptick in usage of the campaign hashtag. On the first day of its rollout, the conversation saw 600 Tweets post each minute, with 99 percent of them bearing positive or neutral brand sentiment.

?People love emojis,? Mr. Farkas said. ?They are now a prominent form of expression, and it?s delightful when fans of a brand on Twitter discover a new, custom one that is catered to their interest.

"Emojis give brands an opportunity to be fun and relatable, and it is a thoughtful touch that rewards active customers."

Another success story can be attributed to Spotify. The streaming service created a custom emoji to accompany the launch of the Beatles catalog on its platform, as well as the #BeatlesonSpotify campaign hashtag.

The emoji captured more than 50 million impressions, while the #BeatlesonSpotify hashtag saw four times as many mentions as the regular #Beatles hashtag.

Spotify also outpaced its competitors by cornering an 83 percent share of the conversation during the catalog?s rollout.

Emoji best practices
Twitter?s best practices for brands? emoji campaigns include centering the Tweets on the custom emoji and hashtag and ensuring that the ad copy is short and compelling.

Marketers should give social media users incentives to use the hashtag. Additionally, they should educate consumers on how they want the hashtag and emoji used. Some campaigns are better suited to Retweeting, while others are designed to spark a discussion among individuals.

Lastly, brands should combine their custom emojis with a shareable video to maximize engagement. This strategy has paid off in the past, given that videos are six times as likely to be Retweeted than stationary photos and three times more likely than GIFs.

Twitter?s innovation within the branded emoji realm has already convinced a plethora of heavy-hitters to allocate some of their advertising dollars to its platform.

PepsiCo was the first brand to partner with Twitter for its promoted sticker launch as the next leg in the consumer packaged goods marketer's Pepsimoji campaign, which is populating the physical and digital realms with millennial-friendly symbols (see story).

?We know that nothing engages people like great creative,? Mr. Farkas said. ?If branded emojis aren?t an option, there are several other tools for marketers to use to connect with users in unique and meaningful ways.

?Including videos, photos with #Stickers, Vines, GIFs, or scratchreels in Tweets are simple and effective ways to earn people?s attention. Additionally, conversational ads, including the new instant unlock card, combines the power of video and a strong call-to-action to drive deep engagement and sharing.?