Emoji are Back in the SERP…What Does This Mean For Your Business?

Kimmys Emoji Post
Kimberly Fishman
April 25, 2017

Wave hello to emoji 👋! After a two-year hiatus, Google has confirmed that it’s allowing emoji to appear in search results snippets again. Considering the fact that 92% of the online population uses emoji, both consumers and digital marketers have something to celebrate 🙌.

Emoji can circumvent language barriers, acting as a universal form of expression that everyone all over the world can use. Still, what does this news mean for the digital marketing landscape? Let’s get our thinking face emoji on.


💗The love-hate relationship between Google and emoji💔 

Emoji were created in the late 1990’s. Since then, they’ve become an inextricable part of our texting habits.

Google took note of this rise to popularity. In 2012, Google began allowing emoji to appear in mobile search result snippets.

In 2015, Google extended emoji use to title tags in the desktop SERP, seen below:


Emoji on the SERP 2015


Digital marketers were thrilled, hoping that utilizing emoji in their title tags would increase CTR and help their brands connect with a younger audience.  Everyone was in love 😍.

While emoji in the SERP seemed successful in driving user engagement at first, some brands began overdoing their emoji usage. Brands were placing an overwhelming number of emoji throughout their title tags and meta descriptions to gain more attention than a text-only result.

Google recognized that rather than improving user experience, this emoji-overload could frustrate users. They pulled emoji from the SERP later in 2015 😢.

Never fear! Google has reintroduced emoji into the SERP—with some new compromises.


Why now? 🤷What’s different?  

To address its prior issues, Google has instated some new limitations to prevent the spammy emoji usage it encountered back in 2015.

Emoji will only appear in titles where they are “relevant, useful and fun.” That’s pretty vague, but here’s an example of some above-board results:


Emoji in the SERP 2017

Emoji in the SERP 2017

Moving forward, brands need to be strategic about their emoji placement and usage. Don’t use emoji in awkward or spammy ways—or else Google may opt to banish them once again.


What does this mean for digital marketers? 💯

Emoji present clear benefits for both digital marketers and their brands.

As Eric Yarnik, Director of Search and Social Advertising, states, “It will be interesting to see how many businesses utilize emoji. Emoji may appeal more strongly to a younger demographic, but advertisers always like new ways to attract eyes in the SERP and increase CTR.”

With the reintroduction of emoji into the SERP, brands could insert emoji into meta data in a way that matches a user’s query, perhaps even more accurately than text alone.

Because of this, Google would have good reason to show these results, and users would have equally good reason to click on them.This change provides a necessary new avenue for attention-grabbing creative in an area that has lacked for invention for years 👍.

However, as with any update, there are some elements that still need testing. Although emoji has become a universal form of communication, there are still some issues with their interpretation across digital platforms. An emoji that looks adorable on one platform does not always transfer to another device.


What’s your next move? 🤔

Here’s the bottom line. Despite minor elements that need some testing, using emoji in your title tags on the SERP is a worthy experimentation.

The sooner you test it out, the better. After all, with over 1,850 emoji to choose from, the opportunities are endless 😊.


Had enough of emoji for one day? That’s fair. Why not learn about how micro-moments can improve your PPC strategy?

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