How has a small smiling yellow dot captured the attention of, well, pretty much everyone?

The answer is staring you right in the face. 🤗

Emojis add emotion, personality and context. Better yet, these tiny pictures can make a big difference in sales, conversions, and engagement.


That’s why we’ve created this guide, to help you get in touch with your emoji-ions so you can grow your business.

This guide will cover:

  • Emojis in text campaigns
  • Customer conversations
  • Five rules for emoji use
  • Our favourite emoji tools

The basics: emojis in text campaigns

If you believe that emoji is a language (and we do) – then it’s the fastest growing language in the world. 

According to Adobe, 92% of the global population uses emojis. From Gen Z to Baby Boomers, everyone is speaking in smileys. And this is great news for brands and businesses. It’s not often that there’s a way to improve business communication that works for all ages, locations, and gender identities.

We know that SMS is very effective. But it does have limits – a word limit. If you use SMS, you’ll know that long sentences are not really an option. It can be difficult to infuse brand personality in your message in only 160 characters or less. 

Enter emojis: The body language of the digital world. Tone, meaning and emotion can be added to an SMS with one click. But remember, like body language and dad jokes, emojis can be misinterpreted. When and how you use them matters. 

If you haven’t started speaking emoji yet, now’s the time to get on board. Especially, if you’re using SMS to talk to your customers. 

How emojis change customer conversations

Can adding a 💃 really improve the effectiveness of the SMS you send to customers?

Before we dive into the how, here are a few of our favourite emoji marketing statistics:

  • 72% of consumers feel positive about brands that use emoticons.
  • 60% of emoji users are more likely to open emails or notifications if they contain their favourite emoji.
  • 44% of users are more likely to purchase products advertised using emojis.

1. Say it with a 😃

When we see an emoji, we see an emotion rather than a text character.

Scientists discovered that when we look at a smiley face, the same parts of our brain are activated as when we see a human face. We might even start smiling ourselves. And who doesn’t wait to get their audience smiling?

In fact, 88% of emoji users in the U.S. reported feeling more empathy toward someone if they use an emoji, while 75% felt more connected to people who used emojis.

Putting an emoji in SMS can help your business to seem more genuine and human. It grabs attention and nudges your customer to feel something when reading your communications.

2. Stay relevant

Over 10 billion emojis get sent each day. They’re a big part of how we communicate when texting and talking online. People have come to expect them in their daily conversations.

Using emojis as a business is a chance to speak like your customers and show that you understand them. Don’t pass this one up.

3. Add personality and creativity

You are more than your logo and a tagline. Modern brands and businesses have personality. It’s one of the reasons your customers keep coming back. You can use emojis in your SMS campaigns to show people what your brand stands for and who you are. And, if there is an emoji that represents your product or service you should put it to good use. 

Taco Bell has co-opted the taco emoji and made it theirs. They use it everywhere from social media to big campaigns. It’s well and truly part of their brand DNA. Recently, for World Taco Day they asked customers to find out what a taco emoji tasted like. Customers who messaged them a taco emoji were rewarded with a free taco.

Taco bell example

4. Customer conversations

The best customer service solves people’s problems and supports them during their experience. Emojis help you have authentic conversations with customers, ease tension and clarify messages. It also makes messages seem like they were written by a human, not a bot, even if they are autoresponders. 

The example below shows that even sprinkle of emojis can make a difference.

Customer conversations emoji example

Find out more about autoresponders for SMS.

When to leave emojis alone

There’s a time and a place for the world’s newest keyboard. Leave the emojis out when you’re having serious conversations with customers. If you need to SMS your customer about a failed payment, overdue invoice or send a warning – don’t try to lighten up the message (even if you really want to). 

Here are some examples of emoji SMS fails:

Examples where emojis may not be appropriate in SMS

Depending on what industry you’re in and who you market to, you might want to stay away from emojis altogether. Businesses that offer serious services are less likely to have success with emojis. How would you feel if a funeral company had a ⚰️ in their next SMS campaign? Or a mental health service sent you an appointment reminder with a 😫?

Five rules for using emojis in text campaigns

Don’t be cringe

Remember when the word catfish just meant a freshwater or marine fish with whisker-like barbels around the mouth? Emojis, like words, evolve over time and eventually they come to mean something else. We’ll just leave 🍆 here. 

Always make sure you’re saying what you think you’re saying. Especially, if you’re communicating with a Gen Z or Millennial audience. These generations often step away from the literal meaning and use other meanings instead. 

Proceed with caution. 

Less is more

Moderation in all things, especially emojis. If you go overboard,  it will dilute your message and can alienate your audience. Aim for fun, not frivolous. 

You might feel like you’re getting your message across faster, but overusing emojis can make your SMS hard for users to understand. If people need to spend time deciphering a row of emojis they’re unlikely to retain the important stuff, your key message. 

Plus, too many in one text can look forced and be annoying to read. Cher’s entire Twitter feed is the internet’s favourite example of emoji overload. Enjoy. 

Screenshot of Cher's Emoji-Filled Twitter Feed

Test drive

You know what they say about assumptions; they make an 🍑 out of you and me. 

Don’t send emojis out into the world and hope for the best. As with all communication and marketing, testing is key. The best way to use emojis with business SMS is to try them first. Do some A/B testing, try different variations and see what works best for your customer.  

Don’t force it

By now, you know that the world loves emojis. But you don’t have to use them every single time. Think of emojis as an extension of the way your business normally speaks and acts. For example, if you’re excited you might have a big cheesy grin. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, you might wave.

Make sure emojis add something to the message and are related to what you’re saying. Save them for when your communications need some extra oomph or personality. That way, they’ll be much more effective. 

Know thy audience

The 2022 Adobe report also found that 73% of people believe that adding emojis to your messages makes you cooler, friendlier, and funnier.

However, not everyone is a fan. If you’re thinking about using emojis in SMS, think about who is on the receiving end. If you’re talking to a Gen Z or Millennial audience, that’s an easy win. They’re more likely to respond well to emojis. Older audience groups might need a bit more investigation. 

If you use two-way SMS, spend some time noticing how your audience responds. If they respond with emojis, it’s most likely a green light to do the same.

Our favourite emoji tools for marketers

Pop quiz: what does 👯‍♀️ mean?

  • Best friends
  • Happy dance  
  • Playboy bunnies

It can mean all three. There are plenty of ways to interpret some emojis. Here are two of our favourite tools that might help you speak emoji:

The Emojipedia

Want to know what emojis are most popular? Or which emoji to use for special days?  Maybe you want to know how emojis look across devices and channels. Emojipedia can help you find, decode, and use emojis. Emoji events and news are found here too. 

Get Emoji

It’s like window shopping for emojis. If you don’t feel like using the emoji keyboard and want to scroll through the options, go to Get Emoji. You can copy and paste emojis from Get Emoji and pop them straight into your campaign.

Ready to master the art of emoji?

Start bringing your SMS to life with emoji.