Emoji Analysis noun (pronounced ih-moh-jee uh-nal-uh-sis)
Definition: Social listening’s newest frontier in which researchers mine and analyze emoji social data, which can be linked to emotions commonly associated with ideas, brands, products or categories.
Used in a sentence: Our emoji analysis showed a lot of gold stars, clapping and check marks around the idea of “New Year cleanse,” suggesting people are trying to motivate themselves and others to stay on track.
First known usage: The emoji itself first appeared on Japanese mobile phones in the late 1990s, but data mining and analysis of the ideograms only emerged around 2005. Facebook’s rollout of emoji reactions in 2015 created more emotion-linked data to mine, as social listening took hold as a way to drive understanding through analysis of what people choose to share online.
The Buzz Index: The term and practice are still relatively new, but likely to increase in usage as brands seek to carve out unique emotional space with the audiences they strive to serve.
As Seed Insights Strategist Catherine Salzman says, “Often what we are looking for with social intelligence is how people feel about something. That’s the power of emoji analysis. Digging into these associated images can help uncover hidden meanings, emotional nuances or corresponding themes about a brand or category.”
And if you need any further evidence of the term’s relevance, check out this 2016 clip from South Park, in which future Seed employee Heidi says, “People can hide behind fake names, but the way they use emojis gives them away.”
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Additional reporting by Catherine Salzman.