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How to use emojis in subject lines to skyrocket email conversions?

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Published by Abhishek Raj

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Using emojis in email subject lines is not new. Marketers all over the world have been using emojis to differentiate their email subject lines and attract customers who wouldn’t notice them otherwise. But you can’t just add a random emoji to your email subject line and expect to skyrocket conversions. In this article today, we will share the best practices along with Do’s and Dont’s of using emojis in subject lines to help you boost your email marketing efforts.

Why Use Emojis In Email Subject Lines?

According to Merriam Webster, Emoji is a small image, symbol, or icon used in text fields in electronic communication to express the emotional attitude of a writer. This means that using emojis in subject lines express the very nature of your business. Not so long ago, it used to be exclusively an element of colloquial speech and interpersonal communication as a study proved that over 90% of digital population use emojis.

Companies realized this trend recently and started using emojis as part of their own Business-to-Customer communication. They use emojis in email subject lines to address potential consumers in their email more naturally, having in mind the following benefits:

1. Emojis grab readers’ attention

People are visual beings, and it’s easier to grab their attention using images rather than plain text. If you use the right emoji at the right moment, you can expect an email to produce much better results than usual. For example, have a look at this email screenshot where Readdle, a mobile app company, has skillfully used the rocket emoji to communicate speed and improvements in its updated iPhone apps.

rocket emoji in email subject line
Email screenshot

2. Increased brand awareness

A lot of world-known brands like Pepsi, McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza already designed their own special emojis. It increases brand awareness because it makes people notice you even if they don’t want to read your emails. Have a look at this branded emoji set developed by Pepsico, the largest beverage brand in the world.

Pepsico brand emojis
Pepsico brand Emojis

3. Saves crucial space and time

An average email subscriber is not much of a reader. When you add an emoji to the subject line of your email, you save yourself space and save your subscribers time they take to read the headline. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Emojis In Subject Lines For Marketing Campaigns

Emojis can give extra power to your email marketing efforts, but they can also become counterproductive in case you don’t prepare for a good strategy. That’s why it is important to know the do’s and don’ts of using emojis in your subject lines as an effective marketing tool.

The Do’s of emoji usage in subject lines ✅

1. Align emojis with brand image

There are 3,304 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of March 2020, but it doesn’t mean that you have to use every single one of these emojis in subject lines to advertise your brand. You must use only those emojis in your email that fit your brand image and the values it represents. For instance, if you target students and high school kids, it is alright to use funny icons. But if you want to send a message of professional authority, don’t add that poop emoji to the subject line.

2. Split test the effectiveness of emojis

Emojis don’t have the same kind of productivity in each campaign. For this reason, you should choose sample audience and test it on a 50/50 basis. Send text-only emails to half of this group and emoji-based messages to another half. If results turn out to be positive, you are free to use emojis in subject lines for all the subscribers.

3. Send it when it means something

Pointless emoji symbols in subject lines will probably make receivers unsubscribe from your mailing list. You need to choose the topic wisely and be precise with your timing to make the use of emojis work to your advantage. For example, according to a research report by Return Path, emails with an Irish flag emoji had a read rate of 27% prior to St. Patrick’s Day, which is 8% more than non-emoji emails. That’s what we call a well-planned emoji that resonates well with the readers.

4. Put emojis at the beginning of the email subject line

Because of limited screen dimensions and sizes, most devices (especially mobile) don’t display long headlines, so your subscribers can see only around 40 characters. You should pay attention to this fact and try to put emojis at the beginning of the subject line of your email. This way, the emojis will be the first thing users will notice, which was your idea in the first place.

The Dont’s of emoji usage in subject lines ❌

1. Emoji overuse

Okay, you’ve probably figured out the magic of emoji usage in email marketing by now. However, it doesn’t give you the right to add these emojis to all of your email subject lines. Such a tactic would be counter-effective and you could start losing subscribers soon enough. Instead, try to be analytical about it and exploit emojis only when you are sure it won’t hurt the brand image.

2. Avoid testing

Emoji testing is a two-fold process. It serves to check the effectiveness of this method, but it also has the purpose to eliminate technical barriers. Different devices and operating systems recognize emojis in many different ways and you need to test each email to make sure that they won’t appear as random letters or meaningless images.

3. Forget to analyze competitors

Sometimes you will come up with the perfect emoji-based email marketing idea and work hard to put it into practice, but only to find out that your competitor did exactly the same thing a few weeks ago. It won’t only be the waste of time but also a professional embarrassment. Therefore, you need to monitor your competitors’ campaigns and see what you should and should not do with emojis in email marketing.


Using emojis in email subject lines can drastically increase your campaign productivity. However, it is difficult to come up with the best solution in all situations and you need to make sure that emojis match your style, resonate well with your email subscribers, and to your overall marketing strategy. In this article, we showed you the most important do’s and don’ts of using emojis in subject lines for an effective email marketing. Keep our tips in mind and let us know in comments if you have more suggestions to share with our readers.

This was a guest article by Warren, a marketing enthusiast and a blogger at Best Essays, who loves music. If he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands, he’s probably embracing new technologies and marketing techniques online!

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About the author
Abhishek Raj is the founder of Budding Geek. He is an inveterate blogger with a decade of experience in the internet technology & online marketing industry. Abhishek takes pride on being featured in some of the top industry websites like Marketing Land, Social Media Today, LifeHacker & ProBlogger.

3 thoughts on “How to use emojis in subject lines to skyrocket email conversions?”

  1. Thanks Abhishek it’s really awesome and helpful i will surely try to use emojis in my email’s subject let’s see how it’s work’s for me btwn thanks i really appriciate your help for sharinf this post

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