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Should You Use Emojis in Email?

Like it or not, emojis have become part of our language. I say, “our language,” but emojis have gone beyond the English language and they’ve become universal throughout all languages.

But as a business person or entrepreneur, you’re probably wondering if it’s okay to use them in your communications or marketing. After all, emojis aren’t “professional” right?

You probably won’t soon be using emojis in legal or financial documents, but today I want to talk about using them in a specific context - email, specifically.

I came across this article from Search Engine Journal titled “Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Do They Affect Open Rates? [DATA].”

Now, I must admit - I’m a bit of a nerd, so when I saw the “[DATA]” tag I knew I had to write about this.

I’m a big believer in not guessing when it comes to marketing and instead, I like to use educated guesses based on data.

After all, who wants to gamble on their marketing dollars - I sure don’t and I don’t want to gamble my clients’ marketing dollars either.

So, let’s look at what this article has to say.

The study that the article is about examined 3.9 million emails and looked at their subject lines.

The article goes in depth about the findings and you can read the specifics here, but here are the major takeaways:

  • Emojis in a subject line had a lower open rate than their non-emoji counterparts.
  • Among subject lines with emojis, the subject lines that had the emoji at the beginning, as opposed to the end of the subject line, had a higher open rate.
  • Subject lines with emojis had a more likely chance to have the email recipient unsubscribe.
  • Emoji subject lines had a higher “report abuse” rate than their non-emoji counterparts.

So, what does this mean?

According to the data found in the article, it appears that you should not use emojis in your subject email subject lines.

It looks like doing so makes your email come off as scammy and leads to readers not only unsubscribing, but also reporting your email address - leading to a lower reputation for your future emails - something that is very important for both delivery and making sure your emails don’t end up in the spam folder.

Sure, it would be nice to look at different results among demographics to see if age has an effect on how readers perceive emojis in email subject lines, but I wouldn’t want to risk my email list with a study like that. 

For the time being, it looks like you shouldn’t use emojis in your email subject lines.

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