The Effect of Emojis in Emails

emojisHeart eyes, thumbs-up, palm to face - there are thousands of emojis people can choose from whether they're texting, instant messaging, sharing or emailing. Within brand communication, however, how effective are emojis? 

Return Path
recently looked at emoji use in email campaigns around significant holidays and seasons over the course of a year, and compared them against traditional text-only subject lines. Return Path found that subject lines containing emojis saw a higher read rate than comparable text-only subject lines in some cases.

For instance, around Valentine's Day, email subject lines including the "lips" emoji drove a read rate of 24 percent, according to Return Path, and an inbox placement rate of 89 percent. By comparison, Valentine's Day promotions with text-only subject lines had a read rate of just 20 percent and inbox placement of 83 percent.

Emojis also proved beneficial for Father's Day email campaigns. Father's Day emails with the "wrench" emoji in the subject line had a read rate of 22 percent and inbox placement of 96 percent, compared to read rate and inbox placement rate of 21 percent and 88 percent respectively for comparable text-only promotions, according to Return Path. 

Tom Sather, Return Path's senior director of research cautions email marketers, however, that while emojis grab readers' attention, what works one time many not work every time. 

Sather advises email marketers who want to try using emojis to use Return Path's findings as a starting point for testing their own campaign.

"Every brand needs to find its own voice and understand its unique audience," said Sather. "There's no magic formula to using emojis, or any other aspect of an email campaign."