Should You Use Emojis In Your Email Subject Lines?

Unread marketing emails are wasted opportunities.

It’s paramount that your email stands out in a crowded inbox to get opened, and that’s precisely the role of the subject line.

Adding emojis to email subject lines is an easy strategy to implement, and plenty of businesses are doing it to enhance their engagement

Emojis are colourful, cute, funny… They cast expression in a way that words don’t. Not only that, but they take up far less space. Emojis can get a message across quickly, and help your subject line fit on the smaller screens of mobile devices. 

But should you start using them?

The room is pretty split on this one. 

In this blog, we’ll look at the pros and cons so you can work out whether using an emoji is right for you.

Why Businesses ARE Using Emojis


Increased Open Rates

Research shows that 56% of brands using emojis in their email subject lines have a higher unique open rate.


Conveying Emotion

Marketers strive to create emotional responses because they know it sells

Emojis are proven to express or enhance emotions in the virtual world where in-person body language is lacking.


Stand Out From The Crowd

How are you going to prevent your email from getting buried under the next ten?

Keeping subject lines short and snappy helps to draw in your reader… But have you tried using colourful emojis?


Create Intrigue

Emojis are a digital, wordless communication tool and their ambiguity can work in your favour – the curiosity of your reader might just get you a click.

Or on the other hand, some emojis can have meanings that you are unaware of (the peach emoji is often used to mean a bum!). Innocently using a subverted one could in fact, offend your readers.


👀 Have you seen this?

Take a look 👉

😵 I couldn’t believe it

🎁 A gift for you

Not All That Glistens Is Gold

Emoji use increases open rates, but this can also translate to a much higher portion of readers scrolling down to unsubscribe

I know what you’re going to say, and you’re right. Keeping a clean list is imperative, isn’t it? Good list hygiene keeps your engagement and deliverability high and prevents unsubscribes and spam reports.

What can be wrong with that? Well…

Suddenly losing 12% of your squeaky clean list because they were offended by your most recent emoji use is vastly different. It’s a big risk to take.

On the flip side, research has shown that using emojis in subject lines also tends to increase your click-through rate, meaning:


Unfortunately, results also show you’re very likely to see an increase in spam reports. Getting reported as spam negatively affects your deliverability rate, and too many instances may see your account suspended by your email provider.

Hard to navigate, isn’t it? It seems emojis are digital Marmite.

So is it worth the risk? Should you use them or not? 

Will your list of banking executives appreciate an emoji? Do quirky symbols have a place in the industry you work in? 

What do you know about the average age and lifestyle of your demographic?

Think about your brand. Do emojis suit the style of communication you’ve developed? Do they fit with your tone?

How To Test Emojis In Your Subject Lines

So you’ve decided to give it a shot. 

Before you start testing your subject lines, think about:

Remember to send a test to yourself before it lands in your readers’ inbox. Can you see your emoji clearly?

You might also consider sending your draft to a small control group using a variety of email clients to help spot any rendering issues. Does your email subject line look the way you want it to?

If you can answer yes to both of those questions, you’re clear to move on to the testing phase. 

A/B testing your subject lines will enable you to work out which emoji, if any, your readers will accept or engage with. Take two equal groups of your email list and send them the same email, changing one of the subject lines to include your chosen emoji.  

Data is your friend. Track open rate, clickthroughs, unsubscribes and spam reports. Having clear feedback by way of collected data will enable you to weigh up the pros and cons of your new tactics. 

So there we have it…

Should you use emojis in your email subject lines?

There is no simple answer. It really depends on your own individual business

Want more advice on data-driven email marketing? Book a call with me. 

Like this? Sign up for regular marketing tips here:

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin
Share on Pinterest
Share on WhatsApp
Share by Email