Here’s Why You Should Stop Using Emojis In Email Subject Lines

If emails are your primary marketing instrument, you know the value of a good subject line. Your subject line and header must intrigue people enough to open the email, actually read it, and, ideally, do whatever’s asked in it. Using emojis to help convey your message might improve your rates, but it can also backfire. Badly.

We know you are just trying to be creative or maybe impress your boss with this “fresh” new approach. But there’s a couple of things you have to consider before launching headfirst into this new trend.

Trending doesn’t always mean good

Since the creation of the first emojis in 1999, they’ve understandably become one of the most popular things on the internet and, like every popular thing, immediately got picked up by the marketers only to be shoved right in our faces.

Trends are a double-edged sword. On one side, you can use them to ride the wave of popularity, getting both high open and reply rates. On the other, getting on board with any trending topic is a gamble. You never know how your audience is going to react to it - they might enjoy it or straight up hate it. But what does a decision to use emojis in subject lines entail? Here’s what problems you might face.

Problem 1: Targeting Costs

Targeting is nothing new. If you are a banking solution company, sending your clients an email with a poop emoji in the subject line probably won’t be encouraged.  

The success of using emojis boils down to precisely targeting your audience. Creating a campaign, you want to target those who might be interested in your product. With emojis, you’ll be adding a layer of complications, having to consider whether your target audience will respond to a trend so deeply rooted in youth culture.

Emojis still carry a tone too specific to be widely used in big campaigns. Therefore, you’ll have to either narrow your audience and neglect potential sales leads (which is obviously unacceptable) or create two separate flows - with and without emojis, which can lead to higher costs. Ask yourself whether your audience is ready for emojis and are you ready to spend more if they are not?

Problem 2: Clash of generations

The good thing about modern society is that we love new things and we embrace change pretty easily - from buying new Apple devices each year to using new slang words that seem to appear on the Internet every hour. Internet’s influence on culture alone changes the way we see things on a daily basis. The problem is, that’s not the case for everyone.

Does your grandma struggle with emails? Can your grandpa set up a Netflix account? See, while many representatives of that generation do their best to catch up with the progress, not all succeed. Considering the average age of an American CEO is in the late 50s, your emoji strategy may not be met with cheer. Big business is ruled by a physically and mentally mature audience. This might create a problem for B2B companies. Sure, there are lots of startups run by young blood and if you want to make them your targeted audience, it’s fine. Just bear in mind that startups and fortune 500 companies are not the same thing, and if you want your business to succeed not by sheer luck, you’ll have to advertise to much more grown companies. Here emojis won’t work.

CEOs, CMOs, heads of sales departments are old-school professionals with years of experience. What they expect in their emails is 100% business with a personal touch, not a peach emoji.

Problem 3: Compatibility Issues

The form of our email is just as important as its content. We need to consider how our headline will appear for the user: if it’s too long - the idea won’t be communicated, if it’s too short, we may not pique the recipient's interest. This issue is especially relevant for mobile devices. This is one of the reasons people started using emojis in subject lines in the first place - the possibility to express words, phrases or whole ideas through a couple of icons just seemed too good to overlook.

Then the problems began.

  • OS

Emojis in your subject lines will behave differently on different systems, so you will have to either hope everything works out or test your subject line on every platform. As many Android users know, some emojis may not appear at all, and instead turn into a black and white box. If your emoji does appear in the subject line, it might still lead to some confusion: some emojis look completely different on different OSes, leading to misunderstandings.

  • Email Client

Besides the OS, you need to make sure the user’s email client properly renders the emojis on their side. Email clients most notorious for rendering emojis incorrectly are Microsoft’s Outlook, Apple email services and Google’s Gmail. They have issues rendering specific emojis, so thoroughly test all of them.

This isn’t the only technical issue with emojis. While email sending services like’s Email Drip Campaigns allow you to insert emojis into the subject line and email body using code, many services don’t. Make sure you final email displays the way you want it to.

Problem 4: Making bad even worse

Emojis enhance the existing text of your subject line. Meaning, if your headline is catchy, attractive and informative, a clever usage of emoji can truly help. However, the opposite is also true - badly written headline garnished with an inappropriate emoji will turn people away from your email, or, perhaps, even your company.


There’s time and place for everything. That goes for emojis too. While emojis are fun, sometimes even cute, they were mostly made to be used for messaging your family and friends, not your potential clients or business partners.

We understand that as a marketer you need to always find new ways to catch people’s attention, and yes, you are trying to make your subject line appealing. Emojis might be appealing to a specific audience, but this audience is not yet big enough to use them in massive campaigns.

To make a right decision about this you have to ask yourself a number of questions: Is all this hassle worth it? Is it worth the time and money? Is this for my audience? The cons that can arise from this simple decision might just outweigh the pros. Choose wisely.