English Journal Article

To Emoji or Not to Emoji? Examining the Influence of Emoji on Consumer Reactions to Advertising

Journal of Business Research 96(March):147-156 |


In recent years, advertisers have increasingly been using emoji in their promotional communications. However, little is known about how consumers might react to the use of emoji in advertisements. In this paper, we examine the effect of including emoji in advertisements on consumers’ purchase intentions. Two empirical investigations (a laboratory experiment and an online study) provide convergent evidence that the presence of emoji leads consumers to experience higher positive affect, which in turn, leads to higher purchase intentions. We also examined the moderating influence of product type (utilitarian vs. hedonic) on the emoji ➔ positive affect ➔ purchase intentions link, finding that emoji are only effective for promoting hedonic products. The findings of our work offer theoretical and managerial implications with respect to why and when emoji are likely to make advertisements more effective.