Instagram’s Emoji Hashtag Will Impact Visual Commerce

In our internet world, language has evolved in a way that emphasizes the compression of ideas into the smallest places possible. On April 27th Instagram’s newest feature may prove to be one of the final nails in the coffin of traditional communication. Pick your favorite past author- if they aren’t fully rolled over Bobby Knight style, then Emoji Hashtags might just do the trick.74-crappy insta
Prior to April 27th, Instagram was searchable by hashtag and user handle only. Digital Marketing Strategists, especially Social Media & Community Managers should take notice of this change. This change is foundational to the way we communicate on what is quickly becoming the internets leading visual commerce source.
In response, some marketers have made the argument that “What Instagram has given us, in short, is our own crowdsourced visual library of the potential meanings of each emoji character.”These marketers site quantitative studies on the frequency of hashtag use within Instagram, concluding that “the positivity of the top used emoji suggests Instagram is where we go to share beautiful, uplifting images that make our hearts swell or make us :(“. You can see the top 10 Emojis from this report below.
Studying emojis and their frequency sheds light on the pictures they’re being used to caption and the intention of the user when posting the image. This is certainly helpful for marketing studies and in understanding the intentions of users but the inexorable rise of eCommerce, with the established ROI that accompanies User Generated Content, will most certainly take advantage of Emoji Hashtags in the near to immediate future.As UGC product validation leads to increased sales with higher order values, gains in customer trust and brand loyalty, as well as increased ROI from social media, the following example shows how emojis are to become the next social proof pipeline for digital marketing strategists.75a-insta collageAfter a search of #(red shoe emoji) that yields over 7,000K pictures and videos, its clear that the emoji social proof pipeline is loaded with quality consumer generated content. In additional to the visual customer assets, there’s already a high volume of brands posting images of their products with the #(red shoe emoji) in the image discribtion.

As brands catch on to the way consumers share images with emojis it will be interesting to see how brands attempt to monopolize a certain emoji for their product promotion.

Beyond the land grab race for emoji brand association, top brands are also creating emojis of their own and putting serious money behind their promotion. Last week AdWeek featured anarticle on Mentos and their “ementicon” campaign. Mentos unvieled their 10 “ementicons” emojis as a way connect their community and make brand communication on social channels even easier that a traditional hashtag.

“We’ve seen messaging, emoticon and emoji use skyrocket across platforms globally,” said Ben Shaw, strategy director for BBH in London, Mentos’ agency. “Creating branded emoticons, or social stickers, allows Mentos to participate in a space that can be difficult for brands to penetrate.”

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The difficulty brand penetration into the emoji world is an obstacle well articularted by Ben Shaw, but continuing along with the #(red shoe emoji) example makes it clear that brands have already penitrated the emoji space.

With the search of the #(red shoe emoji) is a customer generated marketing asset from one of BANGS Shoes brand ambassadors. From the que of content made searchable by the emoji search feature, brands can filter the hundreds of thousands of posts per day to a more manageable amount to identify useable content for their brands.

Without a hashtag opt in, such as a #BANGS2015 or another brand promoted call to action, digital marketing strategists will need to obtain and manage the digital rights to this new source of UGC.

StoryBox provides scalable and effective digital management solutions to help brands make emoji curated content useable and brand safe. Through these customized solutions, your brand can remain protected while you engage with fans and receive authorization to use their user-generated content, images, and videos. The team at StoryBox is dedicated to helping brands request the rights needed to amplify the use and reach of user-generated content, images, and videos, on your brand’s website, social networks, ads, and other marketing applications.

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Finishing up the #(red shoe emoji) example, its apparent that Instagram’s Emoji Hashtag feature will impact visual commerce and digital marketing strategy. Quantitative marketing studies directed at intentionality and frequency of use have already been a focus of some marketers, and a few fast moving brands are begining to promotoe emojis of their own to tap into this social sharing visual space. Taking emoji hashtags one step further, brands now can increase their ability to search, find, and display brand safe customer created content by using Instagram’s new feature.

For more information on how brands can use customer created content:

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Topics: Visual Content, User Generated Content, Visual Commerce