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Surfing the emoji 🌊: how emojis can boost user acquisition and retention

by Advanced ASO

Surfing the emoji 🌊: how emojis can boost user acquisition and retention

We all love emojis and use them daily; they represent non-verbal communication that conveys emotions so much better than words could. It is therefore no surprise that app marketers have begun to take advantage of emojis in marketing messages, and it looks like it’s working! Alongside the general best practices when optimizing your app product page, emojis could also play a part in boosting your app’s conversion rate. Read on to discover how!

The Emoji Effect

Using mobile app data from 2017-2018, LeanPlum’s 2018 report generated some very interesting results regarding emoji use in emails and notifications:

  • 16% of emails with emojis were opened, vs 9.7% for emails without emojis.
  • 10.7% of push notifications with emojis were opened, vs 3% of push notifications without emojis.
  • There was a 66% positive increase in open rates of emails that contained at least one emoji, and a 254% increase in open rates of push notifications with emojis, both compared to LeanPlum’s last report.
  • Apps that use emojis in their messaging had 26% fewer uninstalls than those that did not.

As a result, we can see that messages with emojis engage app users significantly more, and this trend seems to be growing. In addition, emojis also improve app retention.

Emojis Can Help Boost ASO

If emojis are so effective in emails and push notifications, why not try to add them to your app metadata? App Store Optimization (ASO) is never boring: add an emoji relevant to your app’s offering to your description to help users visualize what your app does. Very few apps already do this, so this could be your chance to get ahead!

Expert Tip

Avoid emojis that convey sadness, panic, or disapproval. Instead, add emojis linked to happiness, wealth, and excitement to your app metadata.

AppTweak’s Overview tool lets you easily check your competitors’ metadata fields so you can very quickly see if the competition already incorporates emojis in app metadata.

AppTweak's Overview tool lets you easily check your competitors' metadata fields so you can very quickly see if the competition already incorporates emojis in their metadata.With AppTweak’s Overview Tool, we can see that the game ‘Dragon City’ currently incorporates an emoji in its short description.

With AppTweak’s Conversion Rate Benchmark feature, you can also compare your app’s conversion rate to other apps in the industry!

Emojis and App Store Guidelines

In February 2018, Apple increasingly began to reject apps that incorporated emojis in their metadata, causing a lot of ambiguity regarding App Store guidelines on emoji use.

Now, Apple guidelines officially recognize the right to use the emojis in your metadata, albeit in a specific and controlled way. Article 4.5.6 of the Apple guidelines states: “Apps may use Unicode characters that render as Apple emojis in their app and app metadata. Apple emojis may not be used on other platforms or embedded directly in your app binary”.

As a result, we would recommend only incorporating emojis on the App Store in the app description, just to stay safe! On the Google Play Store, emojis are permitted both in the app description, app title, and app subtitle. In any case, emoji use should be relevant to your target market and demonstrative of your app functionality.

Discover our top tips to optimize your app’s long description on the Google Play Store


Emojis could be a great way to attract the attention of app store visitors and drive traffic to your app over competitors’. However, be careful when incorporating emojis in your app metadata! On the App Store, restrict any emoji use to the app description; on the Google Play Store, emojis are allowed in the app description, title, or subtitle.

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Gwenaëlle is Business Development Manager at AppTweak. She thinks exciting times are ahead for mobile marketers and is always looking for the next amazing app to install on her phone!