December 24, 2017

Emojis in Email: Make Sure You Do It Right

Reading time about 7 min

According to recent numbers, 92% of the connected world uses emojis in email, text messages, and other digital communications.

In the past couple of years, emojis have evolved from simple happy and sad faces to include just about every emotion, object, or idea that you can imagine. You can find them everywhere from cakes to pillows, to movies and TV — so why not also include them when you send your email campaigns?

emojis in email

Before you decide to include emojis in your marketing messages, make sure you know what you’re getting into! This article will walk you through all of the potential problems and things that you need to be aware of if you plan to successfully use emojis in email.

Appearances may vary

Emojis don’t always look the same. Their appearance will vary based on a number of factors, including:

  • Email provider (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.)
  • Brand of device
  • Internet browser

Because of this, an emoji that perfectly matches the sentiment you want to express on your screen might not work as well for your contacts. A classic and well-known emoji “fail” that exemplifies this concept well occurred when Sesame Street posted this tweet:

For most users, this worked great — unless you had a Samsung device, in which case you saw this:

emojis in email: normal cookie monster

Although we can’t list out all of the different variations for each emoji, we’ll show you a few examples so you can know what to look out for:

emojis in email: Samsung cookie monster


Here is another example where Samsung comes out a bit differently than other providers. Instead of portraying an air of skepticism or lack of interest like the rest, Samsung opted for a playful (if not mischievous) smile.

emojis in email: eyeroll

Weary Cat

Scared? Disappointed? Disillusioned? The expression of this cat changes drastically across different variations. You may use it to express crazy disbelief in the massive discounts for a sale — but some contacts will inevitably end up with a face that looks more disappointed or sad.

emojis in email: weary cat face

Mozilla took it one step further and replaced the cat with a sleep-deprived fox (somebody get him a cup of coffee!).

mozilla weary cat emoji

Live Long and Prosper

Be careful how you use this one if you want to avoid causing a heart attack among your trekkie customers. The emoji looks like the normal Vulcan salute with the exception of LG, which comes off more like a strange wave.

emojis in email: vulcan salute


This one probably won’t cause too many misunderstandings or mishaps, but it was certainly interesting to see the different representations of a leopard.

While HTC opted for an almost hieroglyphic representation, Apple chose the hyper-realistic National Geographic version. Google, on the other hand, chose a design that looks more like a cute beanie baby.

emojis in email: leopard

Video Game Controller

I’m not sure if anyone at Samsung has seen a video game console before — their iteration of this emoji looks more like a thermostat from 1990.

video game controller emojis in email

How can you test emojis?

If you want to make sure that the emojis you’re using in your emails are conveying the right message, it’s a good idea to look up how they will be rendered across different devices and environments.

For that, you can use Emojipedia, which has all of the different emojis listed by their names and by category, as well as images that show how each emoji will look on different types of technology.

Also, if you have an Essential (Bronze) account of higher in Sendinblue, you can consult your engagement statistics to see what types of email clients, browsers, and devices your clients are using most. Then, you can adapt your emoji strategy accordingly.

Rendering problems with obsolete technology

Every year, new emojis are developed and added to users’ keyboards. But these new characters don’t always show up for users on certain phones or browsers. That’s why you need to be careful when using new emojis. If your contacts don’t have technology that supports that character, they will just see a blank square.

You should also be careful of certain technologies like Windows XP, which don’t render emojis at all. Although the number is small, there are still many people in the US using this outdated software, so you should always be careful.

Keeping this in mind, it might be better to only use emojis to illustrate ideas you’ve already communicated rather than using them to fully replace words.

Best Practices

Users with older technology receiving the above email won’t be able to understand what the subject line is supposed to say, which could hurt your open rate.

Using emojis in email is just the first step — you also have to do it right!

Here are a few examples to show you exactly how emojis can help increase open rate in the inbox:

Third Eye Pinecone

third eye pinecone email emojis

Third Eye Pinecones’ emails always do a nice job of standing out in the inbox and emphasizing the objective of the email or the overall brand image. The emojis they use also ensure that even if users have technology that doesn’t render emojis properly (or at all), the message is still clear.


angellist email emoji

AngelList uses emojis on occasion to highlight an important aspect of their subject line. In this case, they want to show that their job offerings are at startups that are growing at an incredible rate — which is why they used the upward trending chart emoji.

Again, this works very well because even if the emoji doesn’t show up, it doesn’t take away from the meaning of the subject line message. The emoji only serves to attract extra attention and hopefully increase the open rate.

Jins Eyewear

jins email emoji

Jins does a great job of using emojis to highlight the urgency of a particular deadline. This is one of the best ways to urge contacts to open and convert quickly.

There are plenty of other egaging newsletter examples who use emojis in the content and subject line. Take a look in your inbox and you’re sure to find something.


Using emojis in email has become more and more common — especially as younger consumer groups like millennials gain more spending power.

By looking at what your competitors are doing, and following the emoji usage trends on Twitter, you are sure to find inspiration for your emoji strategy.

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