The Rise and Rise of Emojis – Is The Way We Communicate on Social Changing?

2Emojis: Another language that is easy to learn but hard to master for brands. Whether we like it or not, the way we communicate on social media is changing. Just last year, Oxford Dictionary named “Face with Tears of Joy” Word of the Year 2015.  SwiftKey also found it to be the most popular emoji across the world. So what is it that is so appealing about emojis in the digital age?

 

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Facebook is perhaps the most notable platform to have recently jumped on the bandwagon with their “Reactions”. In light of the modern man’s hectic lifestyle and our wish to communicate as shortly and simply as possible, “Reactions” seems to be the next logical step in our digital communication.

The fact of the matter is, our attention span is decreasing significantly and has been ever since the introduction of YouTube over a decade ago. The YouTube generation is now the Vine generation and as videos have become shorter, so has our language to communicate in the digital realm. The fact that the amount of content we can potentially consume a day is billions of hours in length, displays we simply have too much choice. This, in turn, has led directly to emojis becoming more prominent in our daily lives and busy content-consuming schedules.

The reason “Face with Tears of Joy” gained the aforementioned title is perhaps because one does not simply use just a single “Face with Tears of Joy” when expressing laughter. In many ways, it seems to be the evolution of “lol”. For many, to express extended laughter, we would increase the number of o’s in “lol”; e.g. “looool”. Google noticed this trend and created an algorithm designed to measure a video’s comedic potential on YouTube. After all, before “Gangnam Style” and the upsurge of music video views, it was “Charlie Bit My Finger” that reigned supreme as the most viewed YouTube video. This, alongside the estimate that 80% of the whole Internet will be online video soon, gives us a sign of where things are heading.

 

Video & Real-time

It’s noteworthy to mention Snapchat Lenses here as well, as this has almost brought emojis to real-time videos. It has also inspired further emoji-style live face-tracking apps, such as Face Swap Live and MSQRD. This is important to note, as the inclusion of a video that revolves around the sender will certainly amplify an emoji to much stronger personal levels. Similarly, with the recent implementation of Periscope into Twitter’s live feed, the potential for live emojis is enormous. The real-time factor here is the unique selling point – something others will certainly follow. For example, Facebook Mentions has live feeds for public figures and is gearing up to create these for everyone soon.

From a business point of view, this development has made the market difficult to target with traditional ad spending, as emojis are unsurprisingly hard to measure. This high engagement is seemingly slipping through the nets of advertisers everywhere. So with the introduction of Facebook Reactions, how will it affect targeting on what is arguably the best platform for digital target marketing? Will brands be forced to measure “likes” against “loves” and ultimately aim for the latter? How will this affect ROI and what exactly is a “love” worth for brands? This is surely somewhat of a déjà vu for companies as they recall measuring the value of a “like” for the first time.

No matter how difficult it might seem, we all need to address the continuous rise of emojis as an industry. At Mindjumpers we work with content production on behalf of clients every day and can help you figure out how to best keep your communication in tune with the ever-evolving digital language.

 

Live Streaming and the Demand for Now

blogLive video has been something reserved only for significant occasions in the past, whether it be a big TV event or an important news story. This is all changing now as social media gives the power to the people and makes it easier than ever to broadcast without a TV deal.

So where are we currently? It seems all the giants have joined the party now – YouTube is the latest to jump on board by adding the ability to live stream directly from your phone. It’s important to note here how different YouTube’s audience is to Facebook and Twitter’s – subscribers on YouTube are there predominantly to watch videos, and considering YouTube’s experience within video in general, it will be interesting to see how these two compete most of all.

Tumblr on the other hand seems to have taken a slightly different route by allowing third-party apps to stream live video straight to its service. A very open-minded approach that bears witness to the fact that social is embracing the live streaming movement.

 

Real-Time Marketing

So what does this movement mean for brands? In an age where we have access to an overloading amount of content, content marketing is taking a new form – “real-time marketing” will now gain a larger footprint than ever before and the fundamental difference is the urgency it demands from viewers. This in itself is extremely valuable, considering the sheer amount of content we’re already drowning in. Viewers are also less critical and less demanding when it comes to live video. The fact that it’s live is the biggest factor and it doesn’t play out the same way when you re-watch a video that was originally live. Therefore, viewers end up chasing the video as soon as they’re notified of the stream, instead of “saving it for later”, which in turn also eliminates the potential for it to be lost in the billions of hours of content it’s directly competing with.

 

Quality Control

I’d also say the whole removal of picture-perfect images that Snapchat brought to the table has eased us into live streaming our own content – it may not be perfect, but who cares? You can now also broadcast live to Facebook from MSQRD, which is extremely Snapchat-like. So will the fact that absolutely anyone is now able to stream their lives have an effect on the overall quality of this type of content? Compared to the quality control TV has had over the years, it’s almost non-existent on social media. Time will tell if we want to see our friends live stream themselves doing nothing or whether a stream needs more of a purpose.

All things considered, live streaming will soon be a standard form of expression via social, much like it’s become a standard form of communication over the years with Skype and FaceTime. It’s time for brands to take a good look at their strategy and embrace the live streaming age that’s only going to grow from here.