5 Tips for Using Emojis in a Subject Line

ePublications Developer
Published 2/21/22
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An emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion. These can be included in your email subject line to strategically draw the eye and, if used correctly, can increase your open rate.

In a 2020 study, 33% of people chose to open an email with an emoji in the subject line, 9% opened an email without a subject line and the remaining 58% were not opened at all. With this data, these findings suggest that when users choose to consider opening an email in a mixed inbox (emoji vs. no-emoji), they were more likely to direct their attention to an email with an emoji in the subject line.

When using an emoji in your subject line, there needs to be a balance; too many can trigger spam filters and harm your deliverability. Using them at the wrong time can also negatively impact how your email performs. For example, if your brand deals with serious matters, an emoji can take away from the professionalism of your message.

Here are five tips to effectively use an emoji in your subject line:

1. Keep emojis relevant

Studies show that emojis can improve your open rates but that doesn’t mean you should include random emojis at the end of your subject line. The emoji you are using should be relevant to the content you are sending.

A subject line example:
Incorrect: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 
Correct: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

2. Don’t replace words with emojis.

Although you can save space in your subject line by replacing words with emojis, they can easily be hard to comprehend. The last thing you want is for your subscriber to scratch their head to try and decipher what you mean in your subject line. An emoji should complement the words in your subject line.

A subject line example:
Incorrect:  to the new year!
Correct: Cheers to the new year! 

3. Don’t overuse emojis.

Consider an emoji in your subject line the same as an exclamation point. Using more than three emojis is starting to push your luck. In general, you should try sticking to one or two emojis unless it’s necessary. Adding more than that can come off looking spammy to your subscriber, and there could be negative effects to your open rate.

A subject line example:
Incorrect: Fall is a Brilliant Time to Visit 
Correct: Fall is a Brilliant Time to Visit 

4. Emojis render different across the board.

It’s important to remember that different clients and devices render emojis in different ways. It’s always important to test your subject lines so there aren’t any surprises in how they display. Emojipedia is great place to find emojis to use.

5. Consider your content and audience.

Paying attention to who you are emailing can help determine whether it is appropriate to use an emoji or not. For example, if you are a professional company in a B2B industry, using an emoji might not be the right choice. But if you are a B2C company who is more upbeat and bubblier, using an emoji in your subject line could be more successful.