Twitter added the ability to search for emoji characters in usernames and tweet messages, according to a report by Mashable. The feature means Twitter users can directly search based on the cartoon characters, instead of their description such as “smiley face emoji” or “black heart" emoji.
- The emoji search extends the capabilities of Twitter from its hashtag search, which allows users to filter tweets based on a keyword and follow discussions about a trending topic.
- Twitter’s search follows GoDaddy’s launch in 2016 of a search engine for emoji domain names after Samoa's top-level domain, .ws, began supporting emojis in its code.
More than 250 brands had created their own emoji keyboards by this time last year, according to Digiday, although little information is available on how popular they are among mobile users.
If hashtag search data are any guide, then emoji search may provide more engagement with a branded message in a tweet. Tweets with a hashtag receive twice as much engagement than those without hashtags, according to digital agency Linchpin.
More than 6 billion emojis are sent each day, and their use is still not completely understood given the varieties of characters and the differences among mobile devices and individual apps. The Unicode Consortium lists 2,623 emoji characters, and that number grows every year. With marketers seeking how to incorporate emojis into mobile campaigns, the search capability does improve their functionality.
The move could be an important one for Twitter, if it makes using the platform easier for consumers and brands. With Twitter's user growth slowing, moves like this help the platform stay current with the latest trends, increasing the likelihood that existing users will stay loyal and potentially attracting new ones.