What is Emoji Analysis?

Why emojis matter in social listening

What is the top emoji used in conversation about my brand’s new product? What beer logos appear most often when the ? emoji is used? These are the types of questions you can answer when emojis are included in your social media analysis.

While “emoji analysis” might sound like a joke (it was on South Park last season), it’s actually a powerful way to help brands understand consumers. When emojis are included in social media analysis, it provides a better view of the entire conversation about brands and products. something that should matter to any brand looking to uncover consumer insights.

Emjoi use continues to rise. More than 90% of online populations use emojis in texts and emails. The same can be said for social media. Scroll through your Twitter or Instagram feed and you’re likely to see a lot of emojis. But for brands, are these colorful little icons really worth paying attention to? Aside from emojis being linked to higher engagement in social posts, what’s the point of analyzing their use?

Why should brands care about how consumers use emojis?

For brands interested in consumer insights, emojis are just as important as words and images.

The Oxford English Dictionary made the popular crying laughing emoji (? ) the word of the year in 2015. While some may view that as a PR stunt for the well-respected dictionary, it also makes clear that emojis are, for all intents and purposes, words. They convey meaning, express emotions, and communicate complex ideas quickly. And in the case of social posts, they are sometimes the most important “words” in a post.

What’s makes emojis even more interesting, though, is that they can also be more than words. As Linda Kaye, a cyberpsychologist at Edge Hill University in the UK, says “We mostly use emojis like gestures, as a way of enhancing emotional expressions.” As more and more people use the growing list of emojis (currently at 2,666 emojis in the Unicode Standard as of the last update in  May 2017) it becomes more important to pay attention to how people are using them in any conversation that matters to your brand.

Obviously the post is positive toward JetBlue and negative toward Priceline, but without analyzing the emojis it would be impossible for your social analysis to determine that. Seeing the whole picture of a conversation is extremely important when using social media data to uncover insights. That means you are missing a lot if emojis aren’t included in your social analysis.

 What is emoji analysis and how does it work?

Emoji analysis is the ability to analyze emojis in social posts the same way you analyze text. That means you can search directly for the conversation around a specific emoji, add emojis as keywords in your search, filter analysis results by emoji use, and see the top emojis that appear in any conversation.

Product launch reaction – iPhone 8

Social media analysis provides a great way for brands to track the reaction to a new product. Apple recently launched the iPhone 8, and social media analysis can help brands understand how consumers are reacting. Looking at the top words AND emojis in the conversation reveals that the ? emoji comes up a frequently in the iPhone discussion.

Filtering the list of posts about the iPhone 8 to view those containing ? shows many posts about people considering whether or not to purchase an iPhone 8. While there are plenty of other ways to measure purchase intent on social media, this quick filter of looking at ?, is a quick way jump to the section of the conversation considering if or what product to buy.

Tracking the use of the beer (?) and hamburger (?) emojis

Some emojis are inherently more relevant to certain brands. For example, how consumers are using the ? emoji would be very interesting to fast food brand like McDonalds while the ? emoji would mean more to Budweiser. With emoji analysis, you can analyze emoji use the same way you would analyze the conversation around any other topic, including burgers and beer.

Here’s a map highlighting where people have been the ? emoji in the last week:

Here’s a list of the top logos that appear in posts with the beer emoji ? :

Here’s the same logo analysis, but this time for the ? emoji:

Here’s a chart outlining the emotions in posts containing the ? emoji:

While these examples show some interesting use cases for having emoji analysis at your disposal, the most important benefit is that you won’t be missing out on emojis in type of social media analysis you are running. Just like you wouldn’t want to miss out on emotionally charged words or images about your brand and products, you also don’t want to miss the emojis in the conversation.

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