This Multi-Year Study of Emoji Use on Twitter Has Some Interesting Findings About Brands and Industries
Some jobs seem like so much fun, such as that of agent Scott Boras, who is trying to secure “stupid money” for prize free agent Bryce Harper, and that of the publicists for speculated lovebirds Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. If you ask us, though, the best current vocation belongs to the team at Brandwatch Analytics, which recently released a two-year study on emojis and their influence on and use by 100 brands on Twitter. Covering almost 6.5 billion tweets, the report painstakingly addresses how businesses, among others, “will analyze the use of emojis on a macro scale in real-time.”
Spanning Sept. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2017, the findings offered enough conclusions for Brandwatch Analytics to compile a 39-page summation, yielding what Drew Neisser, CEO and founder of the marketing agency Renegade, dubbed “a must-read for modern marketers." Simply put, then, emojis are a perennial part of commerce-concerned communication, a seemingly natural product of the fact that 95 percent of online users have called on the digital pictures and pictorial symbols.
Emojis, so says the Brandwatch report, have become the internet’s most popular language, and since the beginning of the study, there has been a 49 percent increase in the volume of tweets that contain a brand name and an emoji.
This was quite a read from @Brandwatch: The Emoji Report. I was somewhat averse to using emoji when doing social media copy (sorry @Kuv_A!) but we can no longer deny that emojis have become part of our language now. https://t.co/noPBB32IHx
— Margaux Flores (@mrgxflrs) June 11, 2018
According to the summary, brands have hopped on the emoji bandwagon in earnest, leading the Brandwatch team to consider which brands’ overall business practices generate the most glowing emoji engagement through Twitter and which industries best compel the masses to include positive pictures and symbols when evaluating their services. In other words, the study looked at how certain brands and industries inspired emoji use in tweets from consumers, rather than how the businesses used emojis themselves. For anyone with a stats obsession, especially someone who helms a business or is looking to bolster a brand, the study should become to that person exactly what Neisser considers it.
— Marketo (@marketo) January 24, 2018
First of all, inspecting 6,400,278,100 emojis on Twitter is quite an exercise in discipline. Since the social media platform places a character limit on text, one would figure that emojis would be ubiquitous in tweets, and the Brandwatch team proves that by noting that it analyzed “a statistically accurate 10 percent sample of Twitter.” Through clear-cut demarcations of positive-versus-negative emojis determined by Unicode’s classifications, the report tackles such distinctions as the most positive and negative states and countries, while also looking at distinctions among male and female users who called upon emojis to express emotions. Being obsessed with branding, though, we place the biggest emphasis on seeing whose consideration (or lack thereof) for consumers led Twitter members to select emojis to offer praise or rebukes.
— Jennifer Bonney (@jenbonney) May 2, 2018
Since, as the report mentions, the volume of tweets that contain a brand name and an emoji grew by 49 percent since the beginning of the two-year study, we wonder just how many brands received mentions. But regardless of that, it was interesting to see Pantene crowned the champion, which Brandwatch attributed to influencer engagement. Being primarily a shampoo brand, the company will likely look to repeat its success the next time a tweet study occurs.
The top 50 list provides a potentially engrossing way for observers to ponder why certain brands register so high and while others might need to hold meetings about the public’s perception of them. All entities strive for 100 percent customer satisfaction, so, with its 93.9 positive emojis tally via the study, Pantene can say it is head and shoulders above the rest. (Shampoo pun intended.) Jameson (93 percent positive), Subway (90.5 percent), InterContinental Hotels (89.6) and Tesla (87.6) rounded out the top five brands. On the industries list, hotels generated an 82.5 positive emojis rate, the highest of any industry, while apparel placed second at 81.3. Consumer banks, perhaps not surprisingly, ranked lowest.
Since nearly a year-and-a-half has elapsed since the study period ended, one wonders what the totals might look like relatively soon. Perhaps, one could argue, companies will look to gain consumers’ trust by making good on these findings and including more emojis in their own tweets, thus potentially leading end-users to reply with emojis of their own. Also, maybe businesses, brands and industries can begin, when constructing tweets, to add emoji depictions of their products so as to see if the visual aids can move some goods. While there is the risk of appearing tacky when doing so, if they have their wits about them, they will be able to predict how their audiences might respond, and could likely see more positive emojis creeping into consumers’ reactions to their dealings with the brands.
Since the Brandwatch report notes that emojis, due to their expansion to almost 3,000 options, “will start to replace everyday words and phrases” and that “brands, in particular, are set to garner the most value from emoji analysis as it provides a real-time look at how their brand, products and services are perceived online compared to their competitors.” It will be interesting to see how often companies come to call on them on Twitter and to gauge what added legitimacy they will come to obtain. We always hear how the promotional products industry thrives on fun, so wouldn’t a meteoric rise in the use of emojis help to fuel that perception? Let’s hope companies give that question a smiley face response