So which emojis are working out best? If you were asked to name the character you think would boost open rates the most, you would probably name the red love heart. You would be in good company, because it is the most widely used emoji in email subject lines. However, it only sees a lift in open rates of just over 2%. Of the five most widely used emojis, it turns out that the black sun with rays emanating from it saw the greatest open-rate leap of very nearly 15%. Interestingly, this put it above the plane symbol, which will, on average, get 10% more opens. This finding was very surprising, for the researchers as well as anyone checking out their findings was that the symbol that was way out ahead was the humble umbrella. Its use saw a massive 50% leap in open rates.
As any Brit will tell you, as autumn appears to have arrived, an umbrella is probably the last thing we want to be reminded of in an email subject line. Still, if that's what the data is saying, then gut feel probably needs to step aside for a provable statistic.
The one piece of advice passed on by all researchers looking at emojis in email marketing is that they may not be for all audiences, particularly older customers who are less likely than younger demographics to use emojis and so may respond less favourably to their use in marketing communications. It's also worth noting they do not render properly on older version of Outlook. Hence, A/B testing is a must before you go all out on fun characters which, despite what you and I may secretly think, have stood up to researchers' scrutiny.