Use of Emoji as a Marketing Tool: An Exploratory Content Analysis

  • Mathews, Stanley (Fashion Merchandising Design Program, Central Michigan University) ;
  • Lee, Seung-Eun (Fashion Merchandising Design Program, Central Michigan University)
  • Received : 2018.04.01
  • Accepted : 2018.06.17
  • Published : 2018.06.30


The purpose of this exploratory study was to enhance the understanding of how brands tilize emojis in their marketing practices. A content analysis was conducted utilizing Google News as a search tool to access articles containing information pertaining to the use of emojis by brands. The combination of keywords used for the search were "emoji", "business", and "marketing". The search was narrowed down to the period of January $1^{st}$, 2014 - November $29^{th}$, 2017. This method generated a total of 604 trade publications with 55 of them providing information pertaining to specific brands and their use of emojis in their marketing strategies. A content analysis of trade publications has revealed that a variety of marketers have utilized emojis in their brand marketing practices. The entertainment, service, and food/drink industries have predominantly utilized emojis in their marketing practices, and their primary purpose for using emojis was to increase consumer engagement. Brands applied most of these emoji marketing strategies to an online or digital setting, whether it was social media pages, mobile applications, or any other form of computer-based marketing. Although there are limitations to this exploratory research in terms of its methodology, the findings of this study provide interesting insights into the potential of emojis as a marketing tool.


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