2015: Year of the Emoji

2015 has been a year of many things; the Rugby World Cup being hosted in England; Caitlyn Jenner revealed her true self; the Conservatives won the general election and emoji’s took over the world.

Emoji’s have been popular for a few years, with the heart emoji claiming the title of ‘most used’ word in 2014. However, this year the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year was the crying face emoji, announced back in November.

tears of joy emoji



The most internationally used emoji of 2015, the crying face emoji (officially called the ‘Face with Tears of Joy’ emoji) made up 20% of all emoji’s used in the UK, and 17% in the USA, according to a SwiftKey Emoji report. The same report shows a breakdown of emoji use across the world, with the French apparently using the heart emoji more than four times the average, whilst the chart below (taken from the report) shows that the cheers emoji appears to be the most popular alcohol related emoji across these countries.

alcohol emoji

Whilst emojis have been around since the 90’s, it wasn’t until Apple included them within their iOS software release in 2011 that they became more popular, not just among younger users but they are now also used for marketing purposes, with many big brands adopting the trend to promote their services.

Social Media Emoji’s

Twitter created ‘Hashflags’ a few years ago, and they have since used them more regularly, such as for the Barclays Premier League, the release of the Star Wars movie, and some brands are following Twitter’s lead by having hashflags on their hashtags, such as Spotify’s #BeatlesonSpotify, and Beats by Dre headphones using the hashtag #GetBeats.

           get beatsbeatles on spotify



How are marketers using Emoji’s in their advertising campaigns?

Well known pizza brand Domino’s have created an ‘Easy Order’ process, where users can simply text or tweet the pizza slice emoji to order their favourite pizza. Consumers simply need to create a pizza profile to be able to use the service – although unfortunately this is not yet available in the UK.

domino's emoji

Also using the emoji craze, American car brand Chevy created a press release entirely from emojis, alongside the launch of their 2016 Cruze. Not only did this make the press release much more attractive to look at, but it sparked an 18x higher engagement rate on Twitter, according to a case study at the Social Mitten Conference.

chevy press release

Budweiser also used twitter to share their emoji’s shaped as the American flag to celebrate the 4th of July. The tweet currently has over 145k retweets, and almost 110k likes.


Bud Light Emoji

What does 2016 hold for emojis?

Who knows, but I’m sure that the emoji craze will be here for a while, and brands will continue to become ever more creative with their emoji use.

If you’re still misunderstood when it comes to the term ‘emoji’, or how and where to use them, there’s a very useful site to help understand, none other than an Emojipedia. Otherwise feel free to contact us and one of the team will be more than happy to offer advice on your digital marketing campaigns.

Sophie Burrows
As a Senior Digital Strategist, Sophie's role is focused around working with clients to achieve their business objectives, through a mixture of digital marketing channels. Having worked closely with clients in a variety of disciplines over the last five years, Sophie has gained an invaluable insight into what makes for a successful campaign. Applying a strategic process along with deep analytics insight has made Sophie an in-demand digital strategist.