How Twitter's Emoji Targeted Ads Might End Up Just Being Annoying
How Twitter’s Emoji Targeted Ads Might End Up Just Being Annoying
How Twitter’s Emoji Targeted Ads Might End Up Just Being Annoying
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And the 2015 Word of the Year goes to: smiles.

That’s right, an emoji is the word of 2015We now live in a world where we prefer using less to say more. Social media platforms such as Twitter have induced this quick, to-the-point mentality. With such a restricted number of words, it is harder to express complex sentiments.

Emojis, however, can convey feelings and innuendos more efficiently over social media. The marketing and advertising spheres have recently figured that since these emoticons contain so much meaning, why not use them to target specific audiences?

Just in time for World Emoji Day, advertisers can now use emojis to target individuals who have tweeted a certain emoji or individuals who have engaged with tweets that feature that emoji. Essentially, this is the same as searching for users who have interacted with specific hashtags, but targeting only one emoji at a time.

Twitter Ads Product Manager Neil Shah has stated that “over 110 billion emojis have been Tweeted since 2014,” which makes them ideal for such targeting. Yet with so much usage, they can’t possibly all relate to real needs or desires, can they? A recent analysis actually suggests that this connection may have more merit than previously thought, as emoji usage may impart at least some level of purchase intent.

This capability is therefore an enormous opportunity for marketers who can now target their advertisements to individuals with similar sentiments, interests, and personalities to spark not only more, but better engagement. Advertisers can receive permission to use this new targeting technology by communicating with Twitter’s official partners.

Although this new feature will surely help marketers and connect users, I wonder what ripples the change will cause down the line. Ad blockers have been created to keep advertisers from overtaking the Internet. Likewise, it is possible that once consumers become overloaded with advertising on their personal Twitter accounts, an app may become available to provide them with emojis that cannot be traced or searched by marketing companies, thereby defeating the point of the feature.

As stated earlier, this targeting relies upon the premise that consumers are more likely to purchase when in certain moods, such as when they are happy and excited. However, if these cheerful users are identified by their emojis and then swamped by ads, their mood may quickly change to annoyance or unhappiness. Twitter might be wise to restrict the amount of ads per user or per tweet so that users do not lessen their Twitter usage or adapt to the new methods by using less emojis in general.

Most of all, it’s crucial for advertisers to remember that an emoji is not enough to fully understand a user’s intent for posting. A smile emoji could have been posted sarcastically in an upset tweet, a crying emoji could have just been tears of joy.  When testing this new method be sure to set other parameters in to make your ads more accurate including things like user interests and city.

So from now on in, you may want to consider how relevant or reflective your emoji use is of what you want or of whom you want to engage with.

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About the Author

Katalina Bock
Katalina Bock is a senior at Duke University studying Psychology, Markets & Management Studies, and Dance. She is currently interning with Renegade, focusing on strategy and management of digital marketing initiatives. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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