The Future of Emoji: The Fastest Growing Language of All Time

Language and the Machine


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“Language and visualization go as far back and 30,000+ years to cave art. Ultimately, it really did lay the foundation of modern communication, but also demonstrated the ability for abstract thought,” said Brandon Hillier, Director of Sales, Central Region at Emogi. “Humans are visual creatures… Our brains have evolved to understand images.”

At Social Media Week Chicago, Brandon spoke about how emojis impact messages and consumer sentiment. He also took us into some ways in which marketers and brands can best use them.

Below are some takeaways from the session. To watch the entire talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events, presentations, and interviews, sign up for SMW Insider.

Humans and Images

First, Brandon introduced us to the “picture superiority effect,” which holds that, “people retain 65% of what they see and 10% of what they read over the same period of time.” He also showed us examples of brands using images over text, like Ikea’s image-only instruction manuals, and Google’s visual representation of their logo. Because of their homepage logo, Google is “seeing an increase in time spent by 36 seconds per user and also seeing increased search results as a result of the doodles they frequently put up.”

Mobile Messaging and Emojis

Brandon spoke about how messaging apps are becoming more popular than social networking apps; people are using emojis more than ever before. “Emoji are the fastest growing language in history.” Increasingly, emojis are becoming the preferred language to communicate for all users. Because of this, “we’ve seen major mobile messaging apps innovating with emoji to expand app functionality, differentiate themselves, and develop user loyalty,” said Brandon. One example: mobile messaging apps have continued to add gender diversity to their emoji characters.

Branding in Mobile Messaging

Brandon discussed some ways in which brands can utilize emojis. “Emoji conversations can reveal brand sentiment, brand association, product launch, and product offering awareness.” Marketers are increasingly building mobile campaigns with Emoji, like Pizza Hut writing their entire menu in Emoji.

Session takeaways:

  • The most used features of messaging apps: sending photos, videos and emojis.
  • Emoji use has increased rapidly since Apple added the Emoji keyboard to iOS in 2011.
  • Emoji are a powerful and highly desired vehicle for branding to consumers.
  • How Emojis have moved beyond just advertising enhancements.

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