Should You Be Using Emojis in Your Subject Lines?

Should You Be Using Emojis in Your Subject Lines?

Written by Erin Fisher

Emojis are a fun, lighthearted way to add to your message, and they’re everywhere. From texting to Twitter, they’re here to stay. They’re expressive and they use minimal space—what’s not to love?

How about using emojis in email? More specifically, do emojis in the subject line lead to more opens?

It’s no secret that businesses are vying for attention in their customers’ inboxes, and emojis can help make yours stand out. Not only that, but the right emoji can be a valuable branding tool.

Whether emojis increase your open rate will depend a lot on the sort of business you’re trying to promote and your recipients.

Who is your audience? For Business to Customer (B2C) businesses, emojis could be exactly what you’re looking for, but be careful. Not everyone is using a device or email service provider that will properly display the emoji you’ve chosen, and receiving a non-descript box instead won’t have the same effect.

How do you know if an emoji is going to come across to the majority of users? One trick is to stick with the classics. The simpler ones, like the classic smile or the cool sunglasses, have been around for so long that nearly every system recognizes them.  Emojis will differ between Apple iOS, Android, PCs and other devices, and not every email service recognizes the newer emojis. You can also use inbox preview tools. Some email service providers offer these or you can use a third-party tool like Email on Acid.

The simple solution? Test, test, test! You’ll want to run tests of any emails using emojis in the subject line, and you’ll want to test them on as many operating systems and email providers as you have access to.

Another trick? Think about your audience. Are you a retailer selling fast fashion to under-30s? Or is your clientele Gen X or Baby Boomers? This will affect not only whether your readers see emojis as a positive way to get the message across quickly, but may also be a good predictor for the sort of operating system they’ll be using. The younger audiences are likely to be checking email from their phones, which will probably show them whichever emoji you choose, while older audiences have a greater tendency to  be working from a PC.

If you’re producing Business to Business (B2B) email, you might want to skip the emojis altogether or use them sparingly. Emojis in B2B subject lines can actually hurt reply rates, which is the opposite of your goal. 

Where B2C emails are all about building up your relationship with the customer, B2B emails should try to look professional and polished, which emojis can detract from. That doesn’t mean it’s never okay to use emojis in B2B email, but the emoji should be chosen based on whether it adds to the subject line and matches your message perfectly.

To learn more about which emojis will show up with which email providers, check out this article.

Do you think you’ll benefit from using emojis in a subject line? Have a look at our blog post discussing how to use emojis in your subject lines.