This article was first published on AdNews.
Last year was the year of the emoji, and it doesn’t look like 2016 is going to be any different.
We saw emojis replace words, and whole conversations being had with a few faces, and choice hand symbols. We saw Kim Kardashian release Kimoji which broke the Internet the Apple store rising straight to number one, and the ‘tears of joy’ emoji named word of the year despite technically not being a word.
Brands jumped on the emoticon bandwagon too. Ikea launched emoticons to ‘promote live and understanding at home’, Virgin Active released various squatting, running and jumping fitness emoji’s and Dove gave curly haired girls everywhere emojis they can relate to. Twitter was the primary platform for two emoji campaigns, The World Wildlife Fund using #EndangeredEmojis tweets to raise money and bring awareness, and Domino’s encouraging fans to tweet orders with a pizza emoji. Durex even began a condom emoji campaign for World Aids Day with a series of symbols representing safe sex and condom usage.
A big campaign was from Burger King who enlisted the help of new company Snaps, a platform for connecting advertisers with consumers across messaging applications and devices that specialises in branded emojis. Snaps also developed the Dove branded emojis. The company worked with 20 brands within the first three months of launching, an indication of the interest from advertising in branded visual languages.
Yahoo-owned analytics company Flurry reports mobile app usage rose by 57% in 2015, with personalised apps witnessing the biggest growth of 344%.
The study examined usage from 2014-2015 by recording sessions across various app categories, usage was logged each time a user opened an app.
According to Flurry, the majority of mobile phone usage growth is from Emoji apps because they give consumers the ability to customise conversations via messaging services and social media.
Late last year Apple released its latest software update, which finally gave users the highly anticipated racially diverse emoji’s – and a taco emoji, because who doesn’t love a taco?
Apples update was followed by a range of pop culture emoji keyboard apps, including Seinfeld, SNL, SMS Rage Faces and Hipmoji. There was even a sexting start-up app that released a slew of vagina emojis called Flirtmoji. And don’t worry fellas, apparently there are still penis emojis to come.
Done well, emoji’s are the perfect medium to reach the coveted millennial market, and the aloof Generation Z to whom words seem to be overrated.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and with emojis being the next step in communication, brands are harnessing the power and putting mobile first in the digital world.
So not only can you converse using emojis, you can sext, brag about your workout, raise money for your organisation, or announce your baby’s birth Kimmy K style.
The possibilities are endless.