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Is Twitter's $1M price tag for branded emojis worth it?

Twitter?s $1 million price tag for branded emojis during the Super Bowl suggests takers such as Anheuser-Busch and PepsiCo see significant value in the still-new marketing tactic, but others should get a handle on measurement before diving in. 

The two big marketers are likely to receive a big awareness pop during the Super Bowl on Twitter through the new emojis, but not necessarily due to the big event, but because the idea is still new to users. For other marketers thinking of foraying into Twitter?s emojis, it is vital to think about how to effectively measure its reach and return on investment. 

"For all but the largest advertisers, $1 million is a significant portion of their annual social budget," said Ben Hovaness, director of social at Resolution Media. "Advertisers need to carefully weigh the opportunity cost of diverting those funds from working media.
"Branded emojis offer advertisers a certain amount of creative differentiation, but of course, as more advertisers use custom emojis, Twitter users will become accustomed to seeing them," he said. "As with any investment in creative production, the value realized is dependent on the level of media investment."

Emoji culture
Emojis have made a significant mark on consumer culture throughout the past year and advertisers have flocked to incorporate their own versions and keyboards to better connect with their audiences. Twitter?s high cost for its branded emojis reveals the faith that marketers are putting into emojis and what an impact it has made on consumer behavior. 

For the method to continue being an effective tool in connecting with users, marketers need to frequently follow its results. As per Twitter?s branded emojis, Resolution Media would likely conduct a test with a control group and one exposed to the campaign, and compare. 

Another developer Zignal Labs recently launched a widget in which marketers can track emoji use on Twitter to determine consumer sentiment. The solution leverages usage analytics to better decode what consumers are feeling regarding predetermined topics. 

While Coca-Cola, Starbucks and Dove have also previously leveraged Twitter?s emojis, the tool is still new to users and is likely to draw in significant attention during the Super Bowl. Anheuser-Busch will be sharing two separate emojis for its Budweiser and Bud Light brands, while PepsiCo will be sharing an image of Pepsi can with floating musical notes.  

Emoji measurement
The Oxford Dictionary named an emoji as the official word of the year, revealing a major shift in consumer behavior towards mobile and visual communication, which is likely to have incited more marketers to incorporate imagery in their messaging (see more).

"Measuring the value of any new creative format is always an interesting challenge," Mr. Hovaness said. "Fortunately, we have spent a lot of time building the capacity to partner with Twitter on sophisticated measurement. 

"In a case like this, we?d conduct an A/B split test that aligned with our measurement KPIs for the buy, brand effect, sales lift, etc., and evaluate the performance difference," he said. "That would give us quantitatively sound guidance about the value of these custom emojis."