Last week Twitter introduced an emoticon-based targeting option, a feature that allows advertisers to target users based on tweeted emoji keywords. The niche targeting feature is available through Twitter’s official API (application programming interface) partners just in time for World Emoji Day on July 17.
Twitter’s Ads API product manager, Neil Shah, boasted that more than 110 billion emojis have been Tweeted since 2014. Emojis have become such a prevalent element of the 21st century that the Oxford Dictionary even recognized the ‘sobbing emoji’ as the 2015 word of the year.
This ubiquitous digital communication trend taps into users’ emotions and interests, but the targeting accuracy has been called into question. The initial launch of emoji-targeting only allows brands to target one emoji at a time and is strict to Unicode emoji characters. Further, superfluous emoji use is commonplace among Twitter users and could skew targeting results.
However, since Twitter lacks the depth in evaluating users’ personality profiles (unlike Facebook’s in-depth profile), advertisers can capitalize on tailoring ads to Twitter users in real-time with emoji targeting. A 2015 study found that 92 percent of the online population uses emojis, so this trend of “immediate advertising” can be particularly valuable for brands that associate with a specific emoji. The official Twitter blog cited emojis for twittering being very advantageous for food companies, especially those that sell tacos or hamburgers.
Supporters of emoji-targeting contend that emoji use has become a staple in how millennials communicate online, and certain emojis have become synonymous with their literal meaning. Across the majority of social channels (including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), a “heart” symbolizes a positive expression. Similarly, the ‘heart-eyes’ emoji has become tantamount to saying “love” on digital channels.
Twitter emojis are a symptom of today’s digital minimalism and our generations’ emphasis on brevity. At Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference last week, the company revealed a feature of the latest iOS 10 update that suggests relevant emojis to replace specific words and phrases in a message. Now, if only WordPress would get on board…