The Real Scoop on Email Emoji in Subject Lines

Do you know what an emoji is? It appears that a growing number of brands are doing so. Businesses of all kinds are jumping on the emoji bandwagon. Even Facebook recently added Reactions, which allows users to add emoji to their posts in addition to the standard thumbs-up icon.

Have you checked your inbox recently? Emoji are becoming increasingly common, particularly in email subject lines.

Whether you’re considering utilizing emoji in your email subject lines or have already done so, we’ll go through the benefits of using them, what you should think about before doing so, and some ideas to help you engage your subscribers and get them to open your emails.

The advantages of using emoji in topic lines

What is it about emojis that has everyone so excited? It’s not only because they’re cute; emojis have a number of advantages, including:

Increased open rates

According to Experian, 56 percent of brands that used emoji in their email subject lines had a higher unique open rate.

Growth Hackers has lately started utilizing solely emojis (no text) in their subject lines, which they match with text in the preheader. We asked Anuj Adhiya, Director of Engagement and Analytics, how this new technique is performing, and he responded that, despite the fact that the tactic is new, more receivers are opening the emails (and they have a couple of theories on why). As a result, more people are clicking on email content. He stated that they are still investigating additional effects, but that they are encouraged enough to continue utilizing emoji for the time being.

Make the most of your space

Subject lines require a lot of room, especially with the rising amount of email openings on mobile devices. You have roughly 30-40 characters to utilize if you want your complete subject line to fit on a mobile device, and emoji can help you save space. With an emoji, you can express a lot in a single character.

Convey feelings

Brands are always striving to establish an emotional bond with their customers. Emojis may convey emotion when words can’t.

Stand out in a crowded inbox

Inboxes are becoming increasingly crowded, making it difficult for your communications to stand out. Take a look at the following two topic lines. The first, which is devoid of emoji, comes from Ticketmaster. Minibar created the second one, which has three emoji. Which one appeals to you the most?

Emojis aren’t appropriate for everyone. Consider the following before including them in your topic lines:


Will emojis go well with your voice? Emoji may appear unprofessional to customers if you have a serious brand, such as one that handles financial data. Consider whether funny symbols or cheerful faces are appropriate for your brand, and test small subsets of your audience to see how your wider subscriber base reacts

Demographics of the target audience

Emojis may resonate with millennials since they’ve become a part of their everyday lives. That isn’t to imply that older clients won’t appreciate them; but, if you’re marketing to an older demographic who might not find them entertaining, test first before going all-in.

Potential rendering issues

Different mobile devices and email clients do not display all emoji correctly. If this happens, subscribers may see this instead of your desired icon, or only the term “emoji.” How do you know which email clients have the most issues with emoji? We’ve put together an useful chart that shows which email clients support emoji correctly.

Emoji are successfully shown in all email clients with a green check mark. Emoji are supported by the majority of major email applications, including Gmail, Yahoo!, and Hotmail. Symbols are sometimes converted to the word “emoji” by and iPhone/iPad. Emoji are not supported in Outlook 2003. That’s when you’ll see this. This should not deter you from experimenting with emoji; it simply means that you should test them first to ensure that everything is in order.

Make it relevant

With so many emoji to choose from, you’re bound to find one that matches your message. You don’t have to always use the most popular emoji. For example, Tynker, a company that teaches kids to code, used a school bus in the subject line of a recent email to promote a back-to-school campaign.

Be inventive.

Emojis allow you to express yourself freely. In a recent subject line, Pottery Barn, for example, utilized a watch to indicate that a sale was only available for a short time.

BevMo distinguishes itself from the competition by customizing the subject line and including stars at both ends.

Make sure your audience responds positively by conducting a test.

We had discussed emoji testing, but it’s worth repeating. Run split tests to observe how your customers react to emoji before utilizing them. You’ll send one set of clients an email with an emoji in the subject line and the other group the same email without the emoji in the subject line in a split test. You can utilize the open rate differential to see if emoji are a good fit for your audience.

To ensure that emojis are displayed correctly, run a test.

You’ll want to test how emoji render in different email clients before sending your email to a large group. Customers of Campaign Monitor may utilize our Inbox Preview function to examine previews of their emails in over 25 different email clients before sending them, ensuring that they look just as you intended. It’s preferable to discover a problem early and troubleshoot it before sending your email to your subscribers.

Don’t go too far.

While you may be a fan of emojis, you shouldn’t use them in every subject line or you’ll get emoji-burnout.

Is it still a good idea to use emojis?

The last time we updated this post was in 2015. Despite the fact that using emoji in the subject line was a novel concept, there were already some notable advantages.

Since 2015, though, a lot has changed. So, is integrating emojis into email subject lines still relevant in 2019, or have people had their fill of these characters?

We haven’t quite hit burnout yet, despite the fact that there is now a World Emoji Day. But, for marketers, how do the figures look?

Experian discovered that utilizing emojis in email subject lines raised open rates by 56 percent when compared to text-only subject lines.

Econsultancy conducted their own emoji subject line research. They discovered that roughly 5% of global topic lines featured one or more emojis between 2016 and 2017. The number of emojis used in that 5% was around 1500.

Although the use of an emoji in a subject line is still uncommon, their research discovered one of the most important findings: Emojis were effective roughly 60% of the time.

The three most effective ways to use emojis in subject lines

  1. Recognize your target market.

Understanding your target market is one of the most important parts of any type of marketing.

  • Can you tell me who they are?
  • What is their age?
  • Do they utilize emojis on a regular basis?

Answering these questions will help you figure out how far you can push the boundaries with your emojis. For example, if you’re sending an email to a finance audience and you’ve been asked to send out the term’s growth statistics, you might want to avoid using hearts and smiling faces and instead use a brief plain text with the “growth” emoji below.

Always choose emojis that are appropriate for your target audience.

  1. Don’t go overboard

Although there are over 2,800 emoji characters available, not all of them belong in your topic lines. Using too many emojis may cause your target market to become confused and frustrated, as they don’t have the time to figure out what your 10 emoji combo signifies. Stick to a few emojis per topic line to keep things simple.

  1. Do not forget to test

Testing is still important in 2015 and in 2019. Before sending your email with an emoji in the subject line, divide your target market into two equal groups and send them the identical email with slightly different subject lines: one with emojis and the other without.

You may learn more about this by looking at the open and conversion rates. Testing your email subject line emoji strategy on a small group of individuals will help you figure out what kinds of emojis your audience is comfortable with.


Emoji can help you engage your readers and get them to open your email by adding visual flair to your subject lines. You can reap the benefits if you use them appropriately.

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