What You Need to Know about Twitter's Custom Emojis: Branded Hashtags & ‘Hashflags’

What You Need to Know about Twitter's Custom Emojis: Branded Hashtags & ‘Hashflags’

Have you heard of Twitter’s custom emojis?

You’ve probably seen this Twitter advertising strategy without realizing it. But, despite that, Twitter tells us it’s extremely effective. For example, video ads that use this strategy get more than six times the amount of attention than video ads that don’t.

Impressive? Absolutely.

This Twitter advertising strategy is called “custom emojis.” It’s also referred to as branded hashtags or “hashflags.”

So what’s it all about?

Basically, a brand can partner with Twitter to create their very own emoji that pops up whenever someone uses a particular hashtag. Pepsi, Coca-Cola, the NBA, and Spotify have all hopped on the hashflag train.

Want a Coke?

Coca-Cola created its own hashflag with Twitter back when they started the “Share a Coke” campaign in 2015. Here’s what it looked like:

Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke custom emoji

Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke custom emoji

Pretty cool, right? When the campaign ran, anyone who tagged their Tweet with #ShareaCoke automatically got this emoji added on to it.



Naturally, it took Twitter by storm. Tons of people joined in, making the “Share a Coke” campaign a massive Twitter success.

And, of course, if Coca-Cola does something effective, Pepsi has to join in, too. So, next, Pepsi created its own custom emoji that triggered during Super Bowl L.

Even Spotify got involved, creating a custom emoji to spread the word when it added the entire Beatles collection to the Spotify library.

Does this actually work?

So a bunch of big-name brands like using hashflags, but do they actually work?

It’s easy to be skeptical about this. I mean, it’s just an emoji, right? How would something so insignificant actually make an ad campaign effective?

But people really love emojis, and Twitter’s stats prove that.

When people see a ton of tweets every day, something needs to make them stop and say, “Wait. What?” Custom emojis do that. Generally, Tweets that have a hashflag get about 10% more attention than Tweets that don’t. (Or, like I mentioned earlier, video ads with hashflags get six times the attention!)

On top of that, custom emojis increase a brand’s Twitter presence by nearly 420%.

Check out Twitter’s marketing analysis.

Let’s just say little emojis pack a big punch, so it’s no wonder Coke, Pepsi, and Spotify took advantage of this advertising strategy. But should you?

Is it worth it?

After hearing the MASSIVE results these custom emojis bring, why should we even bother asking this question? You might be thinking, “Yes! My next ad campaign absolutely needs this!”

Hold up, buckaroo.

Honestly, you shouldn’t create your own custom emoji unless you have a huge advertising budget.  

Why’s that, you ask?

Because Twitter’s custom emoji’s come with a ONE MILLION DOLLAR price tag.

Yeah, that’s right. Pepsi paid $1,000,000 for its hashflag. Sure, it had great results. I have no doubt that shelling out one million bucks was worth it for Pepsi. But my best guess is that you, my favorite marketer, don’t have that much money for a limited-time Twitter campaign.

So should you do it? If you have one million bucks to spend, then go for it! The stats seem to be in your favor. But if you don’t, I seriously do not recommend taking out a $1,000,000 loan.

What do you think about Twitter’s custom emojis? Does it sound worth it? Is it too expensive? Let us know what you think!


More Info

  • Want to learn more about Twitter’s custom emojis? Creative Market lays out everything you need to know.

  • Ready to see all of the custom emojis used in recent ad campaigns? Head over to hashfla.gs.

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