Emojis hold sway in ads of hedonic products: Study

It examined influence of emojis on consumer reaction to ads

Don’t write off that smiley face or other emojis as a simple text messaging tool. Including them in advertisements leads to higher purchase intentions and has a positive affect among consumers. This was one of the findings of a study titled ‘To emoji or not to emoji?’, which examined the influence of emojis on consumer reactions to advertising, and was recently published in the Journal of Business Research.

However, the paper has stated that the type of product moderates the “emoji-positive affect-purchase intentions link”.

Gopal Das, professor, Marketing, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, who is one of the authors of the paper, said when consumers see an emoji in an ad for a hedonic product, it makes them feel happier.

Hedonic products are those associated with experimentation, enthusiasm, satisfaction, and pleasure, typically leading to emotional gratification. These could be gifts, entertainment products (films, books), and luxury and decorative products. Consumers said that when they felt happier, they are more likely to purchase the advertised product. Therefore, the paper stated that including emojis is more effective at promoting hedonic products than utilitarian ones.

Utilitarian products are household staples such as food, insurance, basic clothing or household goods.

The authors showed 306 participants fictional ads and sought their response. One set of participants was asked questions in person and the rest were asked online.

Mr. Das’s advice to advertisers? “Use emojis to advertise your products, but make sure there is a good fit between the product that you are advertising and the emoji. If your product is hedonic and fun, the fit is probably good, and advertisers should definitely use them,” he said.

He, however, said that if the product is utilitarian and practical, the fit is less good. “Although there is no adverse effect on using emojis in ads for these types of products, there are no benefits,” he said, and suggested that other advertising techniques would probably be more effective.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 11:16:48 PM |

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