June 5, 2015

The changing face of digital communication – are emojis the future of online advertising?

It’s hard to believe that texting is no longer the quickest way to communicate. Have “lol,” “omg” and “ttyl” gone out of style? Brevity and clarity are two underlying principles that allow social media to thrive. As users’ attention spans diminish, it becomes increasingly important to relay information in the most clear and concise manner, thus giving rise to the need for emojis. Distributed on iPhone keyboards in 2011 and Androids in 2013, these character icons have altered people’s natural communication tendencies in just a couple years. With distinctive words associated with each emoji, the sender’s intentions become clear in a simple, visually appealing icon. For example, a heart emoji clearly signifies love and affection, while an image of clapping hands conveys appreciation and praise. Why send “ily” when you can send a beautiful red heart icon instead? Emojis have not only penetrated our texting conversations – they have also populated our tweets, comments and captions. Like emotions, emojis are universal and can be understood by people around the world, regardless of their spoken language. Companies such as Domino’s have recognized the potential power of emojis for branding and buying. In a recently launched campaign, the pizza franchise has made it possible to purchase a pizza by simply tweeting a pizza emoji. Screenshot of a post on the Domino’s Twitter account. Domino’s has unlocked a market with a promising future; emoji use could be the ideal opportunity for companies to redefine their brands in the simplest way possible and also target the 18-34 demographic. In addition to cutting transaction time down to mere seconds, Domino’s gets free exposure out of it. If I were to tweet @Dominos with a pizza emoji, my Twitter followers will likely be inspired to do the same. So what might this mean for the future of advertising?  While by no means can emojis replace text completely, implementation of these icons will be a crucial complement to more traditional text advertising, as emoji use continues to rise. With nearly 40% of captions and comments on Instagram containing emojis in the Untied States – and an even greater percentage in other countries – these icons highlight three key elements that enhance a user’s purchasing experience: simplicity, speed and universality. Photo from Instagram-engineering.tumblr.com Although it’s hard to say whether this method of advertising will become widespread, Domino’s has paved the way to new possibilities by capitalizing on convenience. Which brand will be next to hop on the emoji bandwagon?