4 Reasons Emojis Are the Superhero Your App Needs

By Brittany Fleit | April 10th, 2017

Emojis 😀 😜 😉 — they have a sort of irresistible charm.

Chances are, you use them every day in texts to friends, work Slacks, and social media posts.

But why do we love emojis so much?

For one, emojis are great for conveying tones, facial expressions, and emotions. According to scientists, when a person sees an emoji in a message, their brain lights up the same way as it does when they see a human face. The brain recognizes emojis as non-verbal information, and processes them as emotions. Emojis have the power to change the mood of the reader.

To understand the impact of emojis in mobile marketing campaigns, we analyzed 2.6 billion push notifications and published our findings in our report Winning App ❤️ (& 💸) With Emojis.

It turns out, emojis are good for much more than just sending texts. Emojis can actually increase your most critical app metrics. The kinds of metrics that make or break your mobile success.

All you have to do is add emojis to your push notifications.

Think about it. If an app sends 👌 , 🙌 , or 😂 in a push notification, it is more likely to make people feel good and they would want to click on it.

Are you under-utilizing emojis in your app strategy? Here are four major mobile metrics push notification emojis can impact.

1. Emojis Boost ⬆️ Engagement 85%

When we analyzed the open rates of push notifications that contained emojis, versus push notifications that did not contain emojis, there was a definite increase.

Push notifications without emojis saw a 2.44% open rate. Push notifications with emojis saw a 4.51% open rate — an 85% increase, indicating that emojis are a powerful tool 🔧 for app engagement.

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That’s not all. When the open rates of push notifications that contained emojis were analyzed on the iOS and Android platforms, both saw an increase in engagement due to emojis. iOS push notifications with emojis are opened at a 50% higher rate. Android push notifications with emojis are opened at a 135% higher rate.

But Android — which generally has a higher open rate than iOS regardless — benefits even more. Our theory: because Android push notifications stick around in the notification tray longer, users have more time to notice 👀 the emoji and open.

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2. Emojis Lift 💪 Conversions 9%

Now that we know that using even one emoji in your push notifications can increase opens, let’s examine whether emojis have a direct impact on a call-to-action within an app. Mobilityware is a mobile gaming company that develops addictive card and casino hits. It ran a push notification A/B test to understand the impact of emojis in its messaging campaigns. The push notification offered players the chance to collect bonus chips as a re-engagement strategy. The A/B test was simple: one notification included an emoji and the other did not. The results? In the push notification that contained an emoji, Mobilityware experienced a nine percent increase in users who clicked to claim their prize. The test indicates that emojis can lead to an increase in conversions.💰 🤑 💵

“Our users engage with push notifications on a much higher level when they contain emojis. Not only do users open messages with emoji more often, but they’re more likely to execute the call-to-action which, for us, provided a lift in engagement metrics like DAU and DAU/MAU," Alex Tarrand, Mobilityware, said.

3. Emojis Increase 🚀 Retention 28%

The state of app retention is far from ideal. By day one — 24 hours after a user downloads an app — apps have lost 79 percent of users. By day 90, apps have lost more than 98 percent.

That’s why retention is critical. Acquiring users is expensive; you want to protect your acquisition investment and retain as many as possible. Luckily, push notifications are a great way to attract dormant users and lure them back into your app. In fact, sending push notifications can increase your retention by 20%.

One such app, a popular mobile marketplace for second-hand items, ran an experiment with emoji push notifications. For US users on Android smartphones, its day two retention rate increased from 25% to 32%.

Not only do emoji-powered push notifications increase engagement and conversions, but emojis encourage users to stick around after downloading. In this case, the app found that emojis led to a 28% boost in day two user retention. This is a huge win during a critical point in the user cycle to ensure continued app adoption.

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4. Use Smarter Mobile Messaging to Improve Time ⌛️ Spent In-App

In the past two years, time spent in apps has increased 95%.

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How do you bring those users 🔙 ? Through compelling, creative push notifications.

As global app store revenue has increased over the years, and there’s more at stake, mobile marketers are becoming smarter about sending messages that respond to user preferences.

From personalization to emojis, sending content that resonates on an emotional level can help you drive more ROI in your apps.

To help you get started, here are some high-performing emojis that can boost your push notification engagement and conversion rates.


Have you used emojis for push notifications? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section!

Brittany Fleit
Brittany Fleit is a Content Marketer at Leanplum, the marketing cloud built for the mobile era. She enjoys writing, hiking, and drinking wine while curled up with her ornery cat. Follow her at leanplum.com/blog Twitter handle: @leanplum

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