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Using Emojis in Subject Lines or Preheaders

We are all used to getting fun emails that contain emojis in the subject line: a pumpkin for Halloween, a heart for Valentine's Day, etc. Many marketers use emojis to increase open and click rates, and there's no reason why you can't do the same thing in Marketing Cloud.

NOTE While emojis are fun, we recommend that you experiment with them and test them to determine what works best with your audience. It's likely that not every email will (or should) have an emoji.

Finding an Emoji

Finding emojis is easy on your cell phone, but it takes a little more time to find the right one online (mostly due to the vast options available). Many emoji sites offer a vast array of options for you to consider, so it's just a question of finding the one that works best for you. Two that we use regularly are Full Emoji List and Copy Paste Character Design.

Once you've identified your emoji, highlight it and copy it.


Obtaining Emoji Code

Next, you'll need to obtain the code that exists behind your emoji so that Marketing Cloud can read the image and know what graphic to populate. A toll we use to do this is called Subject Line Assistant

If you decide to use this tool, step one will direct you to find your emoji; step two will direct you to copy and paste it into their text box with the rest of your subject line.

Uncoded Subject Line

Next, click Encode it!

The tool will then generate a string of code that you can copy and paste into your subject line.

Coded Subject Line

Test your Emoji

Once you have your emoji code in the Marketing Cloud subject line, be sure to send yourself a test email to verify that the emoji is appearing as expected. 

Although your subject line will appear with the code when you are configuring your test send, the emoji should populate as expected when you receive the email in your inbox.

Subject Line in Code

Emoji Subject Line

Emoji Accessibility Considerations

Emojis should be used to enhance the message, not replace it. Don't use emojis to replace words. Screen readers will read the alt description of the emoji; using the emoji by itself has the potential to completely change the message.

Correct use of an emoji in the subject line: Happy Birthday! Open Your Alumni Gift present emoji. Incorrect use of an emoji in the subject line: Happy Birthday! Open Your Alumni present emoji. 

Don't use repeated emojis. Emojis have alt text embedded in them. Screen readers will read the alt text description for each emoji used.

For example, a screen reader will read the subject line, Register to attend the event pencil emoji pencil emoji as Register to attend the event pencil pencil.

Don't use emoticons. Emojis have an alt text description embedded in them, while emoticons do not.

Do use: smiley face emoji. Don't use: smiley face emoticon.

The rule of contrast accessibility still applies to emojis. When selecting an emoji, be sure to test your emojis on dark and light backgrounds. Do not use a dark emoji on a dark background or a light emoji on a light backgrouund.

Correct use of an emoji on a light background: February is American Heart Month red heart emoji. Incorrect use of an emoji on a light background: February is American Heart Month white heart emoji.