We are in a new era of communication where the use of emojis in email subject lines is now commonplace. 

These tiny pictures represent a collection of meaningful thoughts that we may find hard to express through texts.

They give deeper meaning to our written language.

 It is persuasion without prodding, making a request without asking.

 Professing your undying love without losing your words.

This is the age of the Emoji. 

What Exactly Is An Emoji

Emojis are small icons used to represent an emotion, idea or object.

Social media has become one of the most popular means of communication over the last decade.

Due to the social media era, emojis have become an important addition to messages. 

Emojis add emoticons to text which would otherwise be bland and less impactful.   

emoji symbols

Emojis are used in many ways but primarily to shorten an expression.

They can be used to express emotions where words are not enough. They add color and vibrance to plain text and generally add an appeal to written information. 

Emojis were originally used informally and find their roots in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

They were a way to lighten the conversation between friends and family. 

In more recent years, emojis have found their way into the workspace.

They have become more common in formal communication. 

Emojis are used between employers and employees, clients and service providers, etc. 

A lot of companies are run partially or completely virtual. 

Since many companies operate virtually, sending emails is a major part of communication. 

Many online marketers have started to use emojis in email subject lines to boost open rates. 

This practice has raised many questions. 

Is it appropriate to use emojis in formal communication? 

Will emojis in email subject lines affect the open rate of an email?

Emojis In Email Subject Lines For Your Business

What are the consequences of placing emojis in the subject line of your email? 

Are the effects good or bad?

Emojis as a form of communication is fairly new.

They ease the burden of plain text and have a certain aesthetic appeal.

Despite this, their usage in email subject lines should be moderated. 

Email Marketing specialists should not overuse Emojis. 

Overusing icons in your subject lines has negative effects. It may come off as somewhat comical if overused.

The recipients of your email will not value the information in the email if they think it is not important. 

Email marketers should use no more than one emoji per subject line. Keep things simple.

Don’t just use an emoji just because you can. Ensure that each part of your subject line is congruent. Emojis should add emphasis and spark curiosity.

Studies vary on the effects that emojis have when placed in the subject lines of emails. 

Here’s what you need to know about how emojis will affect your campaign performance.

  1.  Emails with emojis in the subject line tend to have a slightly lower open rate than those without. 
  1. Emojis deepen the relationship between your brand subscribers on your mailing list. 
  1. Emails with emojis in the subject line have a higher click-through rate than those without.

How Emojis In Email Subject Lines Affect Open Rates

The more people you can get to open your emails the better your engagement and conversions will be. 

In other words, if no one is opening your campaigns, you’re not getting the most out of your lists. 

The Open rate for emails with emojis in the subject line tends to be lower than those without.

This does not mean that email Marketers should not use emojis in their subject line. It just calls for moderation and knowing your audience. 

That does not mean that is impossible to get a higher open rate for an email campaign that has emojis in the subject line. 

Here are a few emails with emojis in the subject lines that did really well:

emojis in email subject lines from top marketers

These emails were all from top digital marketers or marketing brands.

How Emojis Affect Brand Relationships

What kind of relationship do you want to have with your subscribers? Consider this carefully before using an emoji in your email subject line.

Keep in mind that emojis are traditionally informal. 

Therefore, using emojis in the subject line of an email removes a degree of formality from the relationship between your brand and your recipient. 

Breaking the ice between your brand and your recipients is good depending on the industry you are in. 

Emojis tend to drive open rates up in industries where the mailing list consists of people who are;

  1. Sports fans
  2. Fashion enthusiasts,
  3. T.V. Show fans
  4. Religious enthusiasts

Mailing lists that target smaller niches may be more receptive to emojis as well.

How Emojis Affect Click-Through Rate

The click-through rate is the rate at which your recipients interact or “click-through” your emails after opening them.

Surprisingly, while emojis in the subject line affect the open rate marginally, the click-through rate is surprisingly higher when emojis are in the subject line. 

The conclusion here would be that adding emojis in the subject line of an email creates more interest in the recipients who open your emails.

This also increases the number of recipients who will take action, by clicking a link, signing up for a new program, doing a survey, etc. 

When To Add An Emoji To Your Email Subject Line

Before you add an emoji to the subject line of your email, you must first consider the purpose of the email.

Are you trying to sell a product? Advertising discounts or promotions? Reviewing a product or service? Relaying some interesting or fun information? Or just expressing appreciation?

If the purpose of your email falls into one of these categories or similar, by all means, go ahead and add emojis to your email subject line.

 Emotive icons fit right in with the nature and tone of these types of emails. 

There are over a thousand emojis that you can choose from. 

Emojis can give context to a particular phrase or line. Emojis strengthen the meaning of a sentence. 

Pick an emoji that is related to the subject line. 

An email of a more serious nature would not require the use of emojis. 

Using Emojis when the message is serious weakens the meaning of the message that you want to deliver to your recipient. 

The following are examples of emails that do not need Emojis in the subject line. 

Emails about policy updates, price changes, website updates, etc.

These are topics of a more serious nature therefore adding emojis is not the best idea. 

Remember, emojis lighten the tone of your message. 

Recipients can miss important policy updates and changes if they misunderstand the intent of your email. 

Creating A Great Email Subject Line

A subject line is a short text that tells recipients what an email is about. 

The subject line is the first thing a recipient sees when your email lands in their inbox.

Most recipients decide if they will open an email or not based on the subject line. 

Therefore, subject lines directly impact open rates.

Email marketers can improve their subject lines by adding emojis. 

The Anatomy of A Great Email Subject Line

A great subject line should satisfy a combination of criteria. 

  • Subject lines should be brief. A short sentence or phrase that states clearly the purpose of the email. 
  • They should be catchy. They can be rhythmic or funny but they must be relevant. 

The goal is to be memorable enough for recipients to have the desire to open and interact with your email. 

Here are a few simple examples directly from the inbox:

emojis in email subject lines

It is good when your subject line can stimulate your recipient’s curiosity. It builds excitement and your subscribers are more likely to engage with your content. 

Here is an example of a subject line written for fans of a tv show 

“Are you ready for the new season?” This subject line is a teaser.

It implies that there are details about the new season of the show that can be accessed by reading the email. 

Split Testing Your Email Subject Lines

Split testing your email subject lines will help boost your open rates and write more engaging subject lines. 

To do this you will need a sophisticated email autoresponder that supports split testing. 

This is particularly useful in the digital marketing space where open rates above 5% are considered above average. 

One autoresponder that allows this is Mailvio

Thanks to Mailvio’s sophistication and split testing capabilities…

Email marketers have constantly been able to get open rates of 10% and above. 

mailvio open rates

Email Service Providers Take On Emojis

Some email service providers do not support emojis in the subject line of emails.

If your recipient’s email client does not support emojis then this will affect the overall look of your email when it is delivered to your subscribers’ inboxes. 

Luckily, most popular email service providers like Gmail and Yahoo do support it. 

Just be mindful that the emojis used may appear different after your recipients open your email. 

To ensure that your emails will look the way you intend, ensure you send a test email before sending. 

Your autoresponder should support email previews on different devices. If not, you might want to check out Mailvio or another platform that does. 


Emojis are little colorful icons that express emotions and represent objects, sports, and other activities. 

The use of emojis in email subject lines is the hip new trend.

Email marketers are using it to engage their recipients and stimulate more interaction with their content. 

Recipients have been proven to interact more with emails that have emojis in their subject lines. 

Open rates vary depending on the industry and the effective usage of emojis. 

There are pitfalls to avoid if one decides to incorporate emojis in the subject line of an email. 

Digital marketers should not place emojis in emails meant to be formal. 

Emojis should be used when you want to establish or develop a relationship between recipients and your brand.

You should consider the audience your target audience.

And that should make your emails more effective and boost your open rates. 

With that said, what’s your favorite emoji? Let us know in the comments box below.


Steven is the co-founder of Mailvio and oversees the operations and technical strategy and implementations. Steven has been an online entrepreneur since he was 14 years old and has been running SaaS companies for the last 10 years.


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