Commentary

Why Twitter Is Using Emojis To Target Ads

What ad would you serve someone tweeting smiling poop emojis?

Silly as it sounds, this is a serious question for brands and their tech partners to consider now that Twitter is inviting them to target users based on their preferred emojis.

“Now, advertisers can target people who have recently tweeted or engaged with tweets featuring emojis,” Neil Shah, product manager of Ads API at Twitter, notes in a new blog post.

Shah and his team believe that emoji activity can signal a person’s “mood or mindset.”

That makes perfect sense when you’re talking about a smiley face, but deciphering the intended meaning of emojis can be quite complex -- particularly when they come in unique combinations. As with any language, their meaning is also highly subject to context.

To help brands make sense of emojis, Twitter is working with select partners, including AdParlor, Amobee, HYFN, Perion, SocialCode, and 4C.

Fortunately for brands, the most commonly used emojis are simple expressions of emotion. Indeed, Oxford Dictionaries chose the “face with tears of joy” emoji as its “word” of the year, in 2015. According to mobile tech firm SwiftKey, the happy-tears face made up nearly 20% of all the emojis used in the U.S., last year.

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And, we know that emotion is key to stronger engagement. Indeed, Forrester has found that appealing to emotion is key to improving overall customer experiences and brand loyalty, while emotion has been shown to significantly improve the return of investment of marketing campaigns.

Of courses, Twitter isn’t just coming around to the power of little images and icons. Since last October, in fact, the network has reportedly been charging brands upwards of $1 million in exchange for custom emojis.

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