Brands leveraging custom emojis garner higher receptivity and engagement on campaign hashtags: Rishabh Sharma, Twitter Next
These are a few of the most used emojis on Twitter between Jan 1 and June 30, 2021Twitter
How brands have been leveraging on the use of emojis to build a stronger connect with its audiences

Brands leveraging custom emojis garner higher receptivity and engagement on campaign hashtags: Rishabh Sharma, Twitter Next

How brands have been leveraging on the use of emojis to build a stronger connect with its audiences
  • Ahead of World Emoji Day which falls on July 17, we take a look at how emojis have become a very important part of our everyday digital conversations.
  • Brands have realised the emoji connect and many have been upping their emoji game on digital platforms to build a stronger connect with its target audience.
  • We speak to Rishabh Sharma, Head - Twitter Next, India who tells us how Twitter is innovating and offering more emoji fuel to brands to help them build more engaging campaigns for the platform.
Over the years, emojis have become an important part of the language we use on digital platforms. Emojis are universal, they transcend languages and cultures, and bind us all together through the emotions that they often symbolise.

If some studies are to be believed, around 92% of all people online use emojis to communicate. And why not, they help add color, emotions and at times even suspense to our conversations.

Over the years, brands too have realised the power of emojis and many have experimented in different ways with emojis to build a stronger connect with their consumers. Platforms have also launched custom emojis to further drive personalization and strengthen connect with their audiences.

Twitter is a platform that has, over the years, experimented with emojis. Many brands that have innovatively used emojis have found success on the platform too. Ahead of World Emoji Day, we caught up with Rishabh Sharma, Head - Twitter Next, India, to understand how the use of emojis on the platform has evolved over the years, and to take a look at the campaigns of a few brands that have got it right. He also shares a few tips to help brands get their emoji game right on Twitter.


Q) Emojis have become an important part of how we communicate in the digital world today. How have brands been using emojis to build a connect with consumers?
In order for brands to create thumb-stopping messages, visual expression is a key ingredient in the mix. How we communicate socially and express our emotions has drastically changed in the digital world and people using the Internet are driving the rise of this visual language. Emojis on Twitter are a big part of this. Today, brands across categories and markets are leveraging Twitter’s branded emoji to add visual personality to their campaigns, becoming part of the conversation.

Our internal studies show that brands leveraging custom emojis garner higher receptivity and engagement on the campaign hashtag. Brands are investing in creating a fun, appealing creative element that is unique to their campaign, product or message, and in return receiving organic endorsement when the people on Twitter use the branded hashtags in the Tweets.

Q) How have you as a platform been customizing emojis to help brands communicate better?
Our focus remains on partnering with brands to understand the theme of their marketing campaign, the message they are aiming to communicate and then advise them on the use of a custom branded emoji. The creative canvas is wide open for all brands to create something unique and personal for their audience. Some of the ideas we’ve experimented with include launching custom emojis that are designed through crowdsourcing, creating intrigue by exploring dark mode emojis or even asking the people on Twitter to unlock content by pairing emojis together.

Q) What are some of the most effective brand campaigns on Twitter that have been heavily driven by emojis and have seen success in the past few years?
Through the years, we have seen varied usage of emojis as the format has now become staple for brands in the country. Whether you’re launching a new brand, product, app, message or promotion, adding a visual identity makes the hashtag come alive.

Oppo India is live with a custom branded emoji for their upcoming launch of Reno6, and the design highlights the core feature of glow in the model.

Last month, we saw Netflix India ( @NetflixIndia) creating a swell conversation on the timeline as they went live with an emoji for the movie ‘Jagame Thandhiram’ and created a connection with the audience in the south celebrating Dhanush.

Amazon Prime Video ( @PrimeVideoIN) India recently launched ‘The Tomorrow War’ campaign on Twitter, where our teams collaborated to delight the streaming fans with a #WhiteSpikesHunt emoji. An emoji that will only appear once you switch off the lights on Twitter a.k.a dark mode.

Spotify India ( @spotifyindia) continues to lead with a language of expression, as they activated the much loved branded emoji for two successive World Music Day campaigns across the year.

Q) How are you as a platform also making your emojis more diverse and inclusive?
Emojis are embedded in the conversational culture on Twitter - their usage has grown with conversations on the service. Over the years, we’ve introduced several customised emojis to support diverse conversations. For entertainment enthusiasts, we’ve released custom emojis for movies like #Mersal, the 25th anniversary of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, and shows like Bigg Boss. Sports conversations are massive on Twitter, and we’ve encouraged these with emojis for the Cricket World Cup and for the IPL. We’ve also introduced several emojis for festivals like Diwali, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Eid, Vishu and Puthandu to cater to diverse audiences pan-India, and also for occasions of national importance like Republic Day. We even crowdsourced an emoji for Diwali in 2016. Like many others, our recent #AssemblyElections2021 emoji could be activated with hashtags in multiple languages. Earlier this year, we released the #WeAreWomen emoji on Women’s Day, to support conversations from the women community across the globe.

When we look at branded emojis, we’re catering to and partnering with a dynamic set of brands across categories, ranging from OTT and media & entertainment category, BFSI, Auto, E-commerce, Fintech and more. For Uber India’s ( @Uber_India) Valentine’s Day 2019 campaign, #LoveMovesForward, we partnered with the brand to introduce a Pride Heart emoji to spearhead love and acceptance, and build on their broader mission of ‘Move Forward’. The conversations on Twitter are evolving, and we make sure that reflects in how we’re contributing to these conversations.

Q) What are some of the most effective emoji-driven formats that brands have been using on Twitter?
We’ve been experimenting with formats to help brands engage more meaningfully. We have partnered with a number of brands to create what we call an Emoji Engine - and it has worked really well from an audience engagement lens. With the help of third party partners, we create a customised bank of emojis that serves people a personalised experience. When someone engages with an Emoji Engine campaign by Tweeting with an emoji, they’re rewarded with customised content that is tied to that specific emoji. Several brands have used the Emoji Engine to drive entire campaigns. BMW India also gave people an exclusive peek into #The2 through an Emoji Engine. Netflix India’s #NetflixMatchmaker, which was based on the insight that customers actively seek content recommendations on Twitter, shared binge-worthy recommendations that match the mood of the emoji Tweeted with the campaign hashtag. Flipkart’s #BigBillionDays campaign also used an Emoji Engine - wherein each emoji Tweeted was rewarded with suitable discounts and offers available in the flagship e-sale.

Q) How can brands further up their emoji game on Twitter?
As we continue to innovate with upcoming formats, and experiment with the existing creative canvas on Twitter, few guiding principles below can always enable the brand marketing teams to amplify the usage of emojis on Twitter.

  • Think Upstream. Emojis aren’t just symbols that add receptivity to a brand’s hashtag but have the potential to kick-start an idea, and integrate multiple media touchpoints for a brand to connect with the audience on and beyond Twitter.
  • Shareable Message. When a brand invests in activating an emoji, it's equally important to focus on launching this with a shareable Tweet copy or CTA formats to establish an organic connection with the audience.
  • Beyond Products. With the increasing usage of emojis across all campaigns, the opportunity always exists to go beyond product-specific designs and push the creative envelope to design for cues that are core to the theme, and how your audience might connect with the message.