Digital POV: Twitter - Emoji Targeting and Stickers

Twitter is introducing a new way for advertisers to target users who have tweeted with a specific emoji or engaged with tweets containing a certain emoji. In addition, Twitter is also joining Snapchat, WeChat, WhatsApp and Messenger, by giving users the ability to add stickers to their photos before they upload.  

Details and Implications
Emojis help convey emotion, intent, sentiment and direction with tiny picture characters. The new development by Twitter means that if a user uses a pizza emoji for example, pizza shop owners would be able to target them (assuming they had a love of the odd slice). The new targeting capability opens up some obvious opportunities around sentiment as well as product specific targeting. ‘Love’ or ‘Heart’ emojis for example would be a natural add for retailers tweets around Valentines holiday for example. 

The introduction of stickers takes this concept one step further, as they are essentially visual hashtags. Clicking on a sticker will bring up a real-time feed of all other images using that particular sticker, just like a hashtag on a post. At present, targeting users who add a particular sticker isn’t possible and hasn’t been talked about, however given the move to target with emojis, sticker targeting could follow.

Advertisers will of course benefit from the additional targeting layer emojis provide, used in conjunction with their current targeting capabilities. Stickers will also help brands to detect trends and react in real-time. However, at this point Twitter is unable to provide audience size for any particular emoji, meaning testing will be key to successfully developing an emoji targeting strategy. Furthermore, emoji targeting is currently only available through a few select partners - AdParlor, Amobee, HYFN, Perion, SocialCode and 4C.

In the past 12 months Twitter has been frantically adding new features in an attempt to keep the stock market and its investors happy by growing its user base. The addition of both emoji targeting and stickers should be welcomed by both users and advertisers.

For advertisers, the increased targeting based on emojis and stickers should increase brand engagement, especially as Twitter’s own research has shown that emoji users are 20% more likely to @reply than the average Twitter user. However, although 110 billion emojis have been tweeted since 2014, using them for targeting advertising is new and there is still a significant amount of testing to be done to determine specific audiences and potential targeting strategies.