Why Email Marketers Should Use Emojis in Subject Lines

Posted by Philip Storey on 26/05/16 13:08
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"63% of Brits are more likely to open emails with an emoji in the subject line."

It is becoming increasingly popular for email marketers to use emojis in their email subject lines. Before you start thinking that this is a mere gimmick, you might want to take note of recent research from Mailjet, which revealed that 63% of Brits are more likely to open emails with an emoji in the subject line.

Marketers are responding to popular social media trends and behaviours, whilst using key data that suggests that emojis can have a big impact on open rates. Enchant discusses the growing popularity of emojis and the reasons why email marketers should think about using emojis in their email subject lines:

Emojis part of everyday digital language

Like it or not content writers, emojis are becoming ingrained in digital content and social media culture. They are already beginning to displace common words and text speak acronyms in everyday use. Say goodbye to “LOL” and say hello to: Screenshot 2016-05-26 12.53.16 . The “face with tears of joy” emoji was even named “word” of the year by Oxford Dictionary in 2015.

Facebook recently introduced emojis into their Reactions feature, where users can not only "like" a post or comment, but can use one of several emojis to express their feelings.

Facebook reactions

Visual resonance

Emojis are so popular because they are instant expressions and are fun to use. Importantly for marketers, they have big visual impact, whilst still carrying a message that drives straight into the recipient's consciousness. They evoke an immediate response and help categorise the mood of a piece of content. This is important for email marketing purposes.

Mailjet’s research showed the best results were generated from emails with the “face with tears of joy” emoji (41% open rate) and “loudly crying” emoji (39% open rate) in the subject line.

Even simple emoji additions to subject lines can highlight a point or just grab the attention of email recipients. Here are a few examples of usage from the likes of Go Ape, Hotels.com UK and Mango:

Go Ape



Storytelling with emojis

Emojis have the power to tell a story and it has become a growing trend in digital media to use multiple emojis to show a range of emotions over a period of time. BBC Sport often asks fans to join in debate on Twitter and post a set of emojis that sum up their performance in a match, recent form or over a whole season. Using a string of emojis can conjure up the emotional journey

BBC Emojis

Season in emojis

Suitability and sarcasm

Email marketers must make sure their emojis are suitable and appropriate for the content they are pushing and for their audience. Otherwise it could muddle the intent of the content or confuse the customer. Some marketers use contradictory emojis for the purpose of sarcasm. That might work in the UK, but other international audiences may not respond so well to this strategy. In fact, the success of emojis in email subject lines was not as strong in America, with an increased open rate of 43% as opposed to 63% for the UK.


It’s natural for email marketing to incorporate the use of emojis in email subject lines, given the popularity of emojis in Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social channels. They have strong visual and emotional impact and research backs up the success of increasing open rates. They also save you crucial character space when conceiving a succinct, clickable subject header. Be sure of the appropriate usage and carry out A/B testing of emojis to learn the best way to utilise them for your email marketing strategies.

Related articles:

The Ultimate Guide to Using Emojis in Email Marketing

Topics: Email Marketing, Email marketing campaigns, Email marketing strategies, Email subject lines, emoji, emojis, subject lines, email marketing subject lines

Philip Storey

Written by Philip Storey

Philip Storey is the Founder and CEO at Enchant Agency. Philip is an email marketing specialist in London, UK. He has enabled hundreds of brands to improve their email marketing. Beyond marketing, Philip is a business coach, personal and professional development coach and mentor to business leaders and senior marketers.

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