The Most Popular Emojis in 2020 Marketers Use to Drive Engagement

Victoria Kurichenko

A surprising 72% of people worldwide believe it is easier to express emotions using emojis. This fact is all that marketers need to come up with an effective message.

Have you ever wondered how much digital content is created daily? Here is a shocking truth:

  • 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram daily.

  • 306.4 billion emails are sent and 5 million tweets have been made every day this year.

  • In the last two years alone, an astonishing 90% of the world’s data has been created.

You see, people worldwide create an astonishing amount of informational content users cannot even consume. Every marketer seeks to create content that engages readers, that makes them open, read, like, reflect on, and share it. Without the engagement, the content serves zero purpose. However, all means are good to achieve the goals.

Emojis in a tweet can increase engagement by 25.4 percent. Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the likes by 57 percent, while the number of comments and shares can grow by 33 percent.

As a marketer, I am actively using various emojis to drive engagement and improve email click-through rates. I am going to show you some examples of how emojis can indeed influence the open rate. But first, look at some fun stats of the most popular emojis in 2020.

10 Most Popular Emojis in 2020

With the social distancing people express their emotions to others in text messages more than ever before these days. Here is a top list of the 10 most popular emojis used in communication and social media in 2020.

1. 😂 Face with tears of joy

This is the emoji equivalent of LOL (laugh-out-loud). It is used to express emotions that are impossible to keep inside when something ridiculous happens. Imagine you ask someone to date you on Facebook, or you return home to pick up a backpack, but eventually, leave without it. LOL.

2. 😭 Loudly crying face

This one may signal a person is in grief, but it is also frequently used to express other feelings like non-stop laughing or overwhelming joy.

3. 👇 👉 Pointing fingers

As a marketer, this one is my favorite. Whenever I create Twitter or Linkedin posts I often include the pointing finger to direct users to the call to action or a link.

4. 🤣 Rolling on the floor laughing

This is reserved for truly hilarious instances, where you cannot hold your emotions back.

5. ❤️ Red heart

This one is a universal and never-ending signal of respect and love. You may want to use it to praise your mom’s photo on Instagram or thank customers for staying loyal. The heart emoji is an effective sign of passing love from the other side of the screen.

6. 🔥 Fire

This is for alarming news, slang for things people find attractive, short-time offers, promo campaigns — everything marketers want to point your attention too. This one indeed drives engagement.

7. 😍 Smiling face with heart eyes

Whether you are in love with a new album of your favorite artist or choosing a new pair of shoes, the heart-eyes are there to express excitement and joy.

8. 🙏 Folded hands

This conveys a feeling of belief that someone will get better soon, a hope that a client will return or a user will complete your target action. This one can be effectively used to ask for a favor and express support.

9. 😊 Smiling face with smiling eyes

This is the face of happiness, self-satisfaction, a moment when you achieved or helped someone and your actions have been praised.

10. Smiling face with hearts

A true expression of love shared with the closest friends, family, and significant others; you use this when bae does something special or you get a long-wanted gift for a birthday.

How to Drive Engagement With the Help of Emojis

A surprising 72% of people worldwide believe it is easier to express emotions using emojis. This fact is all that marketers need to come up with an effective message.

Emotional stories are more likely to resonate with people, thus they get bigger traction and often go viral. The more we care, the more we relate to the story, and the more we are likely to remember it.

As a marketer, I often deal with email campaigns and can ensure the subject lines with emojis often have higher open and click-through rates than the plain text.

This email aimed to spread the word about a new ebook and make more people download it. These are the email newsletter stats:

  • The number of recipients: 4,026

  • Open rate: 22.12%

  • CTR: 6.46%

With the average industry open rate 17.8% and the CTR 2.6% (stats from 2019), I was extremely happy to see a huge improvement in the email campaign performance. To some extent, I agree that the actual offer might have attracted users, but the emojis helped to stand out among hundreds of unopened emails in the mailbox.

I also want to compare its performance to an informational email newsletter I weekly send to the users. This one was sent during the pandemic in April 2020.

  • The number of recipients: 3,692

  • Open rate: 27.13%

  • CTR: 4.41%

In my case, info text emails get up to a 3% click-through rate, but this one performed well regardless of the general title and absence of emojis. A possible reason could be the timing of this email. As I have mentioned above, it was sent during the pandemic, when multiple companies switched to remote operation and workers struggled a lot adjusting to a new routine.

Email subject line and the timing are what matters the most. Your readers will only decide on your offer if they open your email. If not, no one cares how good and appealing your offer is.

Emoji Marketing on Social Media

Emojis are universal. Their meaning does not change from country to country, thus they can be effectively used on social media by various brands to attract potential customers.

Take a look at this emoji ad from McDonald’s. No matter which language is used, we all get its meaning: Having a bad day? Go to McDonald’s and get happy again. I’m loving it!

McDonald's emojis with

World-famous companies get even more creative when it comes to emoji usage. Would you be comfortable to, let’s say, share a condom emoji to talk about sex? No, I’m not joking now! A study from 2014 shared surprising stats where 84% of 16 to 25-year-olds people said they would prefer to talk about sex using emojis.

Guess what Durex did? Yes, they used the power of emojis to spread a word about safe sex and raise awareness for World AIDS Day.

Durex condom emoji campaign. #condomemoji

#CondomEmoji was a global social media campaign back in 2015 to establish Durex as a major player in the worldwide fight against HIV and AIDS.

This is what Lama Mansour, a brand manager of Durex Canada, said about this campaign:

“The Durex brand stands for loving sex, but loving it in a safe way, so the emoji campaign ties into our brand benefit and positioning.”

Most emojis are straightforward, thus feel free to include them in your email subjects as well as social media promotion to boost performance. However, make sure you know the meaning behind them, because obvious things for you might not be that obvious for your clients.

For instance, 60% of people assign a sexual meaning to 🍑, while only 4% perceive this emoji as a peach. If you do not want to create buzz around your brand with biased emoji meanings, here is an Emojipedia for you. (Yesss, such things exist!)


The way we communicate with each other changes day-by-day. People want to type less but express themselves in the best possible way, this is where emojis come in handy and replace plain, unemotional text.

Emojis are no longer considered inappropriate or informal. Companies around the globe utilize the power of emojis to catch users' attention, encourage interaction, higher click-through rates, and a better response rate from the customers.

“Emojis are by no means taking away from our written language but rather accentuating it by providing a tone that words on their own often cannot. They are, in a sense, the most evolved form of punctuation we have at our disposal.” — Emmy J. Favilla,

I hope you learned something new and had fun reading this post.

Article originally published to Medium

Written by Victoria Kurichenko