Using Emoji & Symbols in Your Email and Subject Lines

Emojis in Email Subject Lines
Valeriia Dziubenko Valeriia Dziubenko 13 may 2022, 10:14 782
For beginners

Email subject lines have become much more expressive with the appearance of emojis. Our inboxes are regularly flooded with emoticons like 🐶 to 🍟. In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about using emojis in emails.

Why Do Marketers Use Emojis In Emails?

Emojis are becoming more popular among marketers because of their ease of use and expressiveness. By using emojis instead of words, or a combination of both, marketers have discovered a new way to engage and connect with their recipients.

According to a report by Experian, 56% of businesses that use emoji in their email subject lines have increased unique open rates. Besides higher engagement rates, there are even more reasons to include emojis in your subject lines.

Emojis appear only in the subject lines of 2% of company emails sent to private clients. So you can still take advantage to differentiate yourself from the competition. If you use emojis in your subject lines, they will fit better on mobile devices.

Best Examples of Emojis for Email

We take note of the innovative techniques other marketers use in their messaging because we work in email marketing. For example, a high-end running shoe manufacturer best known for their Cloud line uses a single emoji to distinguish their subject line. As a natural extension of their branding, they include a cloud emoji in all their email subject lines. It also makes their emails stand out in the inbox.

Innovative ways to use emojis

How To Use Emoji In Emails?

The most obvious way to use emojis is adding them as a pop of color to set your email apart from the others in the recipient’s inbox. They can be more visually appealing and entertaining than a text-only email. Another typical use of emojis is to replace words with them, which saves space.

If you're trying to notify your audience about a new t-shirt sale, there are a few ways you could do that. "Get 2️⃣0️⃣% off these new 👔👔👔!" is more fun, colorful, and emphatic than "Get 20% off these new shirts!" Anything that stands out in a sea of text will work:

The obvious way to use emojis

Nothing too much — just enough to get people's attention.

Don't Overuse Emojis In Emails

When you use too many emojis in your email subject lines or body, it can appear as if you're trying too hard or, worse, as if you're a spammer. Avoid subjects like "20% off new right now!‼️", because Google's Gmail might route your email to the Promotion tab or Spam folder.

Consider how you and your friends use emojis in text messages, as well as how you observe others using them. Emojis should feel natural in your text and add a bit of flair and excitement. You don't want to overburden people's inboxes with emojis just because young people use a lot of smiley faces.

When Should You Use Emojis?

Your audience/email recipients are a big factor in deciding what emojis to use and whether to use them at all. Emojis are appropriate if you have a younger demographic and sell a fun, light-hearted product. However, if your target audience is primarily older and professional, or if you're selling a B2B service, emojis in subject lines might not be as effective.

The difference between those who will enjoy seeing emojis in their emails and those who wouldn't isn't always clear, and there are a few risks and benefits to consider before deciding whether or not to use them.

The Risks Of Using Emojis In Emails

  • Ambiguity

Emojis aren't a natural form of communication and are more commonly used to express emotions, and not everyone will interpret your emoji in the right way. Your readers can misinterpret an emoji's intent just like you can misread people's facial expressions and body language. This increases the risk of someone misinterpreting your email subject line and reacting negatively.

  • Rendering on OS

Unlike letters and numbers, some emojis aren't standardized, so different apps, operating systems, and services will use different emoji graphics. While many emojis are Unicode and will translate across devices, this is not the case for each and every one of them.

Emoji support table

You can always use websites like Emojipedia to see how they'll look on different devices, but there's still the risk of not having enough emoji support. In addition, the emoji you plan to use might not be available on other keyboards yet, so your recipient will only get nothing.

Suppose the Android keyboard is missing a new emoji set already available on the Apple iOS keyboard. In that case, no one reading your subject line on an Android device will notice your emoji.

  • Triggering spam filters

The biggest danger of all when sending emojis in emails is that misusing or overusing them can make you look out of touch and as if you don't know how to communicate with your audience. Resist the urge to go overboard; otherwise, subject lines like this may end up in the spam folder:

Bad example of sending emojis in emails

Benefits Of Using Emojis

Emojis and emoticons are excellent at capturing people's attention, as we previously noted. If you open an email and only one of the subject lines contains an emoji, that's probably the first thing you'll notice. People are drawn in by the bright pop of color, especially with the new dark modes available on some devices.

Emojis can make your emails appear more natural, giving the impression that you're communicating with a real person on the other end of the line.

What About Your Email Deliverability?

How do emojis affect your email sending and overall deliverability? They can help improve your chances of landing in the inbox. When used correctly, emojis can be fun. But nobody will open your email if it has a sea of emojis in the subject line: you'll get in the inbox, but your engagement rate will suffer.

Remember to consider them an ideal complement to your generally good subject line. The emoji itself isn't the subject; instead, it draws attention by shining a spotlight on it. This focus encourages customer engagement, and better engagement helps your reputation and, ultimately, your deliverability.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do emojis increase email open rates?

Yes, occasionally. Timing, audience, and emojis are all factors affecting open rates. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to emoji usage, and there is no magic formula for improving open rates.

Table of emoji efficiency in email

An emoji study found that some seasonal and themed emojis increase email open rates. Emojis are unpredictable, which makes evaluating their effectiveness difficult.

  • Do certain Emojis in email have more impact?

Yes, different emojis elicit different responses. According to Braze's 2018 research, the most commonly used emoji is "❤️". To avoid being lost in the inbox, use less popular emojis. Why? Because we're all tired of seeing the same emojis in messages. Other research shows that the top 100 emojis used in email subject lines account for 66% of all emojis. Then why not try out some of the lesser-known emojis?

  • How does my email subscriber list affect emoji usage?

Knowing your buyer persona is vital to the success of emojis. They aren't always the same for everyone. Emojis are more popular among younger audiences like Millennials and Gen Z, and research backs this up. For example, a survey found that only 37% of those aged over 65 prefer emoji and GIF communication. We can assume Gen Z's percentage is higher.

  • B2B versus B2C

Emojis in B2B emails are risky and generally inappropriate because such emails tend to have a more serious tone. In fact, 30% of respondents in a survey said emojis are unacceptable in emails, so save them for close business contacts only.

  • Location

A Mailjet study discovered that the reactions to emojis varied greatly between Spain, France, the UK, and the US. When used in subject lines, all emojis tested yielded lower open rates (-11%) in France and had no effect in Spain (0%), but increased open rates (+42%) and (+62%) in the US and the UK.

  • Do emojis boost CTRs?

No. Emojis boost CTR across many platforms, but email is not one of them. Try personalization instead.

  • Should I use emojis in my email subject?

Aside from improving your CTR and open rates, there are many reasons to use emojis.

→ Emojis can say more with fewer characters.

→ Emojis can convey more emotion than words.

→ Emojis in emails still stand out.

Emojis can help in brand recognition. Use an emoji that perfectly represents your brand in an email. Send your own emoji ideas to Unicode.

If you use a new emoji or emoji combination popular among your target demographic, you may see an increase in traffic to your website.

Before Using Emojis in Email

You should always check for four things when using emojis in subject lines:

  • Test emoji subject lines on a small sample of your email list and compare the results to a control group with A/B testing.
  • Set clear emoji usage guidelines for your team based on audience research.
  • Make your subject line stand out even without emojis.
  • Keep a close eye on your stats to avoid overusing emojis and damaging your campaigns.


Email emojis are a great way to increase open rates, connect with your audience more casually, and generally improve your marketing game. Just use them sparingly. It all boils down to who you're trying to reach with your email marketing, why they're getting it, and what effect you want the emoji to have. Email subject line emojis add a splash of color to people's inboxes, but be careful not to go overboard and make your email blasts look spammy.

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