Did you know we now have access to 2,823 emojis… and yes, if you’re wondering, that number staggered me too. But as a growing race of humans who use digital and online communication as our main form of socialising, it’s a number we should’ve definitely expected.

In 2019, the focus on emojis is going to be surrounding accessibility. We’ve already seen a huge increase in people-based emojis, which lets the user decide on skin tone and overall look for a diverse option of representation. Now, we’re about to launch new emojis like a person in a wheelchair, sign language, support and assistance dogs, gender neutral people, and even the period emoji (which some find controversial, but hey, for almost 50% of the population it’s a common occurrence, so why not?).

But have you ever wondered what our use of emojis says about us? 

 

As creatures who tap into our emotional side and love visual representation and iconography, a lot of the time our emojis can reveal a much deeper level of our thinking than once imagined. Take for example the image below which highlights the top 100 used emojis over the past year, via texting, Instagram and Facebook.

Universally, regardless of language or background, we choose to laugh the most. The laughing emoji symbolises our everyday reaction to life and social situations, and I must admit I use this one at least once a day. Also commonly used, and a little bit heart warming, is our love for love. The vast array of colourful heart emojis are ranked as some of the most popular, followed by the ‘love heart face’, ‘kissy face’ and ‘blushing face’ emojis.

One would love to hope we’re a pretty positive bunch of people, but life isn’t without its downs, too. Our most frequently used emojis with negative associations include the classic ‘tears streaming down the face’, ‘broken heart’ and ‘stressed out’ icons.

The below graph showcases just how much we use our emojis, and which percentage of ‘positive’ vs. ‘negative’ we really use.

The statistics surrounding our use of emojis also coincides with world events, such as Presidential elections, major events like the Olympics and trending TV shows or movies. Take for example the below:

  • The largest volume of negative emojis was recorded during the month of the American election (8th November 2016). During the week of the election, negative emoji use grew to 28.9% (a two year high) 😢😡
  • Fear emojis spiked to an all-time high in the run-up to the EU referendum. However, use of fear emojis dropped dramatically following the result 😨
  • Sad emojis spiked to an all-time high in May 2017 due to the Manchester terrorist attacks
  • Joy emojis spiked on Dec 25th, 2015 and 2016 due to the Christmas season 🎅🏻

From this, analysts can predict trends and study emoji use to determine months when we are more happy, sad or angry than others. But why does this matter? Well, this information can be used to highlight peak times of the years where humans are most likely to spend money (in times of joy), order more take away food (during periods of sadness or fear) or stop spending money (during major negative periods like elections, world news or inclement weather events).

 

We can also study the connotations and associations of emojis with corporations and businesses, which can result in new marketing campaigns, major operational changes or suggestions to improve services. Check out how some of industries stack up against each other:

  • Airlines perform badly over social media and are highly associated with negative emojis (over 30% of social media posts were negative) because of flight cancellations, lost baggage, poor experience and issues with connecting flights ✈️
  • The hotel industry leads the way with positive emoji association (82.5% of social media posts are positive) given their implementation of reward schemes, customer service, hidden incentives and added bonuses, including discounts or small items for visitors to keep (looks like those hotel slippers pay off after all!) 🏨
In conclusion…

Today, 95% of all humans who have online access have used emojis, making it the internet’s most popular and universally inclusive language. Over 5 billion emojis are used per day on Facebook alone. As the world’s fastest growing language with access to majority of humans, we’ve come a long way since the emoji inception ten years ago. You can expect the study of trending emojis to impact marketing and big business more than you’d think, and look forward to more personalised emojis coming your way in future. But for now, sit back, relax, and send those peach emojis without hesitation.