Emojis - the new keyword?

Emoji compressor

In the time when the Oxford Dictionary nominates laughing/crying (also called Face with Tears of Joy) emoji as the Word of the Year, there is no surprise that Twitter has unveiled a new emoji targeting system that will serve advertisers just as well, if not better than targeted keywords. Welcome to life on the internet in 2016.

This announcement is pretty reasonable though. Brands can already target you based on keywords, but emoji are particularly powerful in terms of a succinct way of expressing your mood – especially when you’re limited to 140 characters on Twitter.

Much like Twitter's existing keyword targeting option, advertisers can now program certain promoted posts to pop up in the timelines of people who have recently tweeted or engaged with — retweeted, liked or clicked the link of — any post containing a given emoji.

This new feature uses emoji activity as a signal of a person’s mood or mindset — unlocking unique opportunities for marketers. Now, brands can:

  • Connect with people based on their expressed sentiment;
  • Target people who Tweet food emojis;
  • Reach people based on their passions.

Neil Shah, Twitter's ads API product manager writes: "Emojis have become a ubiquitous way for people, publishers, and brands to express their feelings. This new feature uses emoji activity as a signal of a person’s mood or mindset."

For example, if you use the French fries emoji, Twitter might surmise that you like and/or want a French fries. If you use a particular flag a lot, brands might be able to better guess your nationality or sports leanings. Or charities recruiting runners who frequently use the training shoe emoji or a skin cancer campaign sending tailored messages to those using holiday related emojis.

In announcing its advertising twist, Twitter used food emojis as an example, but we're expecting to see a massive boost for the wine glasses, lipsticks and confetti business.

It can also help ads be targeted based on whether you’re happy or sad; perhaps you’ll be more likely to buy an item if you’re in a good mood.

Although over 110 billion emojis have been Tweeted since 2014, unlike rival Instagram, Twitter still doesn't allow emojis in the search bar.

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