The targeting of Twitter users by advertisers based on emojis may seem silly, but if the link between emojis and personal tendencies proves real, Twitter’s advertising clout will skyrocket.
As emojis have become an ubiquitous part of online conversations – over 100 billion have been used on Twitter alone since 2014 – they’ve evolved into an integral part of the information or sentiment conveyed. Thus, Twitter’s announcement of adding emoji keyword targeting, rolled out in July, represents a groundbreaking development for advertisers seeking a youthful, social media conversant audience.
Twitter’s emoji keyword targeting will be accessed through select partners such as Amobee, Perion, HYFN, AdParlor, SocialCode and 4C.
If a picture says a thousand words, then emojis, if read correctly, say a lot about the personalities and tastes of the user. Twitter’s new feature will not only target direct users of emojis, but also anyone who has engaged- liked, re-tweeted or clicked on link- with a tweet containing such.
The use of certain emojis would seem to indicate a natural predilection toward particular products. For instance, usage of the taco, burrito and hot dog emojis would catch the eye of Taco Bell, Chipotle and Wienerschnitzel, respectively. A musical note or headphones may be of interest to concert promoters and a dog or cat emoji could trigger ads related to the pet industry.
Aside from emojis depicting specific objects or animals, many of the small icons represent moods. Twitter will work to help advertisers understand how to decipher these faces to appropriately match users to products and services.
A person consistently using cheerful emojis might be targeted to receive ads for party planning companies, exotic vacations and certain movies. Emojis depicting laughter may elicit ads for comedy clubs and those showing flirtatiousness could lead to displays from dating sites.
Twitter will need to monitor the effect that this new advertising will have on its users. Just as ad blockers have been developed to prohibit advertisers from overrunning one’s online experience, if and when Twitter users become inundated with advertising within their personal accounts, an app may be developed providing them with emojis that cannot be tracked by marketing companies. Twitter might be smart to restrict the amount of these ads so that users don’t radically change their habits out of annoyance.
Twitter has had trouble with profit growth, the app having lost over $2 billion since its founding a decade ago and the only bright spots being sponsored tweets and partnerships. The exploitation of a much-loved alternate language- emojis- could be a game changer with regard to the social network’s ad revenue.
“Emojis have become a ubiquitous way for people, publishers, and brands to express their feelings,” says product manager Neal Shah, of Twitter. “This new feature uses emoji activity as a signal of a person’s mood or mindset — unlocking unique opportunities for marketers.”
Shah may very well be right, as one should never underestimate the attachment of today’s social networkers to those amusing, colorful objects and creatures. In fact, they have their own holiday. July 17 is World Emoji Day.