Could a smiley face make more users open your app?

Imagine being lucky enough to stay at the swanky Aloft Manhattan Downtown hotel in New York. Now, imagine being fortunate enough to have such a great night that you wake up with a hangover. You might think the fun ends there.

But no.

When you feel like death at the Aloft, you can text room service for a hangover cure using only emojis. Type in a water drop, Advil capsule and banana – and you’re on the way to recovery.

Obviously the hotel’s emoji-based ‘Text it, Get it’ SMS service is fundamentally a PR stunt. Especially when you consider that other options include ‘The Munchies’ – a combo of a chocolate bar, lollipop, and cookie. Nevertheless, the idea still reflects a fundamental truth about human communication: we like pictures and we like shortcuts.

Emojis score on both counts.

Ever since email and text took over from writing letters, the emphasis has been on speed. So clearly when you make a subtle joke, you could type ‘please don’t interpret what I just said as serious. I wish to clarify that it was meant to be a joke’.

Or you could just add 🙂

Of course, app developers understand this. Take Venmo, the very successful US mobile payment app. Its stroke of genius was making small transactions between friends very easy – and then making the whole process social.

Venmo mandated from the start that users must leave a note when settling a debt. Users have embraced this and often leave amusing and imaginative comments. Inevitably, they use emojis too. Spotting this trend, Venmo added the option to let people auto-complete with an emoji. For example, when someone types ‘rent’, they can choose a pic of a house and a wad of dollars.

It’s a lot of fun. But there’s a business component to it too. In the competitive world of apps, it’s all about encouraging users to stay engaged right?

Just a few days ago, the ability of emojis to do this was revealed in the Mobile Marketing Trends report by Leanplum and App Annie. They analyzed over 2.6 billion push notifications and found that, when messages included emojis, the open rate doubled.

Push notifications without emojis: 2.44 percent open rate. Push notifications with emojis: 4.51 per cent.

Emojis might even increase conversions too. When Leanplum A/B tested, it found a nine percent increase in users who clicked the notification’s call-to-action.

And it seems many marketers are already wise to this. The report revealed the number of emoji-based notifications sent grew by a factor of 163 percent between 2015 and 2016.

Of course, developers who install Calldorado’s Caller SDK have hundreds of opportunities to re-direct users back to their apps. Why? Because they can add these messages to the caller ID screen after every phone call. And, naturally, the notifications can include emojis.