We can tell you. Yes, it does! Last year, the use of emojis in e-mail campaigns increased by 775 percent, and even by 7,000 percent in terms of trigger mails¹. Two percent of all subject lines now contain emojis or special characters². Emojis are therefore no longer only at home in private communication, but also find their place in e-mail marketing. But how are they used correctly and what benefits do they have for commercial communication?

By the Way: What are Emojis Actually❓

Emojis were invented in 1999 by the Japanese Shigetaka Kurita and are pictograms based on Unicode. These are clearly different from the emoticons introduced in 1982, which represent typographical facial expressions and can only be used in text-based formats. Originally, these were invented to distinguish jokes from serious utterances in a digital language. In 2015, the Oxford University Press chose the emoji “” (Face with Tears of Joy) as the word of the year due to the strong increase in use and its development into a nuanced form of expression.
So remember:
Emoji = 🍔 😋 🍟
Emoticon = ; – )

Why it Makes Sense to Use Them

“Everything that does not evoke emotions is worthless for our brain” says the German marketing expert and brain researcher Dr. Hans-Georg Häusel. And that’s what we try to do in marketing every day: to arouse emotions and enthusiasm for our products. Emojis are a great way to express emotions by the sender on the one hand and to trigger emotions by the receiver on the other hand. In addition to the possibility of highlighting a theme, emojis in a subject line can also convey humour, cheerfulness, and creativity. Furthermore, branded emojis can also help to achieve this goal. If you have emojis developed for your brand, you can use them to replace your logo in the subject line and to go different ways. These branded icons are then also available for use in other forms of communication and increase the recognition value of your brand.

The Use Depends on the Context

Just because emojis are well received in general does not mean that they should be used for every possible opportunity. Particularly in the case of serious messages, it is better to refrain from using them. It is also important to know your target group. If the messages are addressed to a young group of recipients which includes many millenials, then emojis will certainly work better than other groups. There are also time and seasonal differences. A Santa Claus can surely help to improve opening rates in winter. However, it is doubtful whether the same thing will work in summer.

How are Emojis Integrated into an E-mail? 💁

In fact, nothing is easier than that. From databases such as getemojiemojipedia, or facebook symbols, the icons can be easily selected by copy&paste and pasted into the subject line. In theory, nothing stands in the way of its use.

Ensure Compatibility with E-mail Clients

Before sending emojis, you should check which operating systems and e-mail clients your recipients are using – because not all of them still support the symbols. Windows 7 in particular is an exception to the standard operating systems, as it is not supported. Outlook 2003 occupies a special position among the clients. With a few exceptions, however, there is almost universal support for emojis.

A/B Tests are also Essential for Emojis❗

As with other e-mail campaigns, you should make use of a great advantage of e-mail marketing: measurability. Here, too, you can use tests to find out which subject lines work best and cause the highest opening rates. Fr that reason, use A/B or multivariate tests before you dispatch a mailing to the whole recipient group.

Internal communication can also be enriched

Emojis can be enriching not only for communication with your customers, but also for internal purposes. According to the study “The Effects of Different Emoticons on the Perception of Emails in the Workplace“, emojis and emoticons have a positive effect on messages with critical content in particular and can therefore improve work performance. Emoticons can weaken negative associations on a personal level, change the perception of the recipient, and thus contribute to a better working atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is important to always use positive and happy signs.


Emojis have also found their way into marketing and’ serious’ communication. They are a great way to convey emotions, humour, and creativity and to stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, branded emojis can be an additional unique selling point of your brand. But here too, it is important to know your target group and use the symbols in the right context. In the end, however, as with any good e-mail campaign. Try to find out what works best for your target group.
📧 + 😃  ➡  📬 = 😻
¹source: Appboy
²source: Salesforce