#WebWeds: What to Know About Emoji Ad Targeting on Twitter


Note: This was featured as part of our Web Wednesday segment on Charleston’s 105.5 The Bridge. You can catch us every Wednesday morning at 8:20 am ET for your dose of social media & digital marketing news. You can listen to the segment below:


If you pay attention to marketing trends, you’re probably aware of the marketing tactic that uses keywords on social media to target specific advertisements. For example, an athletic apparel brand might target an advertisement to a Twitter user who tweeted about playing basketball. Emoji ad targeting on Twitter, a relatively unknown strategy, uses the popular pictograms as keywords and targets specific advertisements to specific customers based on the emojis in their tweets.

People have used over 110 billion emojis on Twitter in the past four years, and with over 2,000 unique emojis available, emoji ad targeting could be a huge opportunity for marketers.


How does it work?

Two years ago, Twitter allowed brands to target their ads based on the emojis that people include in their tweets. So if you added the popular ???? emoji in your tweet, you could be targeted for an ad by Charmin. Sounds a little ridiculous, but it’s not really, right? Emoji targeting is the same concept as keyword targeting. This strategy is also an ideal fit for the restaurant industry. Tweet about how much you love ????and you might see an advertisement for Domino’s.


Can it drive results?

According to the CMO of 4C (one of six Twitter certified partners to run the campaigns), one of their clients in the restaurant industry used emoji targeting and saw engagement rates increase 260 percent. This means that the number of people who responded to the ad went up 2.6 times over the advertiser’s traditional ads. Typically a 10 percent lift on an ad is a solid result, so this is a huge increase.


What is the downside?

Although emoji targeting is a promising strategy for personalized advertisements, the method is not without its drawbacks. People use emojis to communicate in different ways, and there’s not really a universal standard. When you target an ad based solely on an emoji, you are stripping it of relevant context from the rest of the tweet. Emojis can be used sarcastically and can have many layers of meaning. For example, an apparel company who tried emoji targeting realized that????️could mean throwing shade instead of golfing.


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