Using Emojis in Ad Text Boosts CTR!

May 27, 2015
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Emojis have become ubiquitous in text messages, private online messaging, and even blog posts and other written communications. But did you ever think Google would allow them in AdWords ads?

Emojis in ad text

We recently discovered that AdWords is, in fact, allowing emojis in some ads. Our data scientist Mark Irvine ran some tests this week using (willing) client accounts and we have some early - and promising - results to share.

Mark noticed that there was no real rhyme or reason as to which emojis were accepted and which were rejected by Google as “punctuation errors.”  He did get this one through for testing and as you can see, it was served about 10% more than the non-emoji ad. It also received 4 clicks to the other ad’s 0!

Emojis in ad text click-through rate comparison

It’s not just smiley faces, either. What better way to sneak imagery into a text ad for a donut shop than with a donut emoji?

Emojis in ad text example

Advertisers have a lot more emoji options than smiley faces that they may be able to incorporate into their ad text. Check out this sampling of some of the more popular emojis below:

Emojis in ad text emoji list

As you can see, you've got your standard smileys, as well as some representations of various types of people (and professions). Look a little closer, though - notice the sheer variety of emojis you could put into your ad text? We've got body parts, hand gestures, clothing, animals (LOTS of animals), plants, technology, weather symbols, the phases of the moon, and a whole bunch of chart, graph and app icons.

You may notice that the ubiquitous "smiley face poop" emoji isn't in this list. (I'm not sure you'd have much luck getting that one past Google in an ad anyway.)

How to Insert Emoji in Your AdWords Ads

UPDATE: There have been some questions in the comments about how to actually do this. The easiest way is to just google “copy and paste emoji” and go to a site like this: http://getemoji.com/
 
Then go create an ad as you would normally, then copy and paste the emoji you want into the ad creation text fields.

As previously mentioned, the ads sometimes get disapproved, but we've found that sometimes it gets approved. I have no idea why that is. But I can assure you that we have emoji ads running. Here’s a screenshot from today:

how to use emoji in ads

Note how the winner is in this virtuous cycle. Due to the higher CTR, it gets higher Quality Score, which means better ad position and lower CPC, which means even higher CTR.

Have you seen any emojis in PPC ads? Would you consider using them yourself?

UPDATE #2

It's come to our attention that this is against Google policy, though we haven't gotten any warnings. They will probably make it harder to get these approved and multiple attempts could get you flagged. Attempt at your own risk!

 

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Comments

Sean Van Guilder
May 27, 2015

Any word with regards to this being only for mobile ads?

Larry Kim
May 28, 2015

it works on desktop and mobile provided that the font supports emojis i believe. i have no idea what font i'm using but i can see the emoji's on my desktop. i'm using the default windows installation.

Lisa Sanner
May 27, 2015

Interesting test. Might work really well if relevant and for the right audience. But I cringe seeing random smiley faces all over the place. Lose some credibility and trust IMHO.

Does the mis-spelling of "Selection" bother anyone else? That extra character should work.

ran
May 28, 2015

according to my testing it does not work

Larry Kim
May 28, 2015

we had to try a few. as mentioned in the article, we have no idea why some were disapproved and others OK.

Glenn
May 28, 2015

Yes, I would like to include them, How do you insert them into your copy?

Larry Kim
May 28, 2015

use the emoji character codes

Jason Thomas
May 29, 2015

Can you create custom parameters within ads to insert these character codes? Could you do that through WordStream? Still learning and this emoji insertion is proving challenging.

Jillian
May 28, 2015

The emojis use extra characters too, not sure if it's for all emojis or just some, but at least one that we tried was counted as 2 characters.

Lynelle
May 28, 2015

Any advice on how to actually implement these? We just tried and Google denied us. Not sure if there is a certain code somewhere or certain symbols to copy and paste?

Larry Kim
May 28, 2015

i've updated the post at the bottom to include information on how to actually do this.

John
May 28, 2015

When attempting to post emojis into the ad text, an error message shows up stating that it does not follow Google's standard punctuation policies. Are you simply copying and pasting the emoji image itself and nothing more, or is there a specific emoji character code needed?

PaulO'Connor
May 28, 2015

Try using the {param} feature to bypass the filter. Google can't see what isn't "in" the ad. I use this method for inserting prices and CTRs for retail clients who want granular copy amends on a sometimes hourly basis. Having individual ads would result in a dilution of QS over multiple ad units which can be disastrous for googly targeted long tail phrases. Using the {param} feature means I can apply changes without creating myriad new ads so all of the weight is passed through fewer entities in AdWords.

Elisa Gabbert
May 29, 2015

Nice tip

Paul O'Connor
May 29, 2015

I've clearly got CTR on the brain. I meant CTAs in my previous post.

Jake Burgess
May 29, 2015

After calling Google AdWords customer support the rep did some digging for me and called me back with an answer. Officially speaking, both the Policies and Ad Review Team said using emojis is against Google's terms specifically under the provision of using non-standard charachters.

However, the rep did confirm that some emoji ads were slipping through the filters although she did not know why. The rep also told me that while against Google's guide lines you won't lose your advertiser account over it they will just disable your ad at some point when they catch it. She basically said try to submit the ad and if it goes through fine, if not there's nothing more you can do.

Elisa Gabbert
May 29, 2015

Thanks Jake, good to know this isn't account-banning material.

Dan
May 29, 2015

I still cant get it to work... I have tried {Pauls} advice but still cant make it work.

Every time I get:

This ad doesn't follow our policies. Here's what you need to fix:

❤: Non-standard punctuation

I've tried it at the start, middle and end of each line but no success.

Please if anyone can help I would be very appreciative! (crying emoji) ;-)

Thanks in advance!

Larry Kim
May 29, 2015

try different emojis

John S
May 29, 2015

Sorry guys. Emojis are non-standard characters and not permitted in AdWords ads. There have been times when emojis snuck through the cracks, but that has been clamped down. For more information on this policy, please view: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6021546

Dwayne
May 29, 2015

I'm having the same experience as Dan and I've tried eight emoji's in various spots...
Hmmmm...

matt van wagner
May 29, 2015

Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should, and this is not allowed.

Be forewarned that, according to Google, "...advertisers will be given a chance to fix the violation. Repeated offenses lead to permanent suspension​. It is a flag on the account."

Why would you want to risk your (or your client's) accoun for some chickenshit gimmick like this?


Larry Kim
May 29, 2015

hi matt, We just learned it’s against policy and added a warning to the post. have a good weekend. :)

Adam
May 29, 2015

I've had no luck getting this to work. I've tried about 30 emoji's, even used the donut emoji since it worked for you. I wonder if Google already nabbed this bug in the butt?

Earl Netwal
May 30, 2015

I failed as well after multiple attempts. It would be nice and I do have a couple of clients for whom some of them would be perfect fits. But alas while I got one "Twitter" approved one through it got denied on review.

Yuyun
Jun 04, 2015

Hi Larry, I tried to insert emoji to mine, but like the other ones, I just failed many times. But still I want thanks to you to sharing this informative article, now I knew new things like this idea to insert emoji in my ad text. Thanks, Larry.

Alex
Jun 04, 2015

I think the key for approval is % , $ and more .... displays I tryed with the characters and the emotion are all aproved ....greetings from germany

Eric Ellen
Jun 09, 2015

Interesting. Google is always concerned about the quality of user experience. Thats why they suspend tens of thousands of accounts perhaps every year. But now they are allowing something as silly as Emojis into ads?! Yeah it will improve CTR but its cheesy. I'm surprised Google allows it now.

John
Jun 09, 2015

They are not. Emojis are not allowed.

Brian Combs
Jun 10, 2015

As of this morning, it won't even let me save an ad with an Emoji. Kicks it back instantly as having excessive punctuation.

Elisa Gabbert
Jun 10, 2015

Guess the party's over!

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