Emojis have been around since 1999, when they were first introduced for Japanese mobile phone users. They've since become adopted on virtually every social network, including Twitter.

We took a closer look at the emojis in our database to find out how people are using them, which emojis have the highest engagement rates, and which were most popular.

Download full report (33 pages)
  • Most popular

    The three most popular emojis are πŸ˜‚ ❀️ 😍

  • Top engagement

    The emojis with the highest average engagement are πŸ—Ώ 🐬 🀴

  • Animals

    The most popular animal emojis are πŸ™ˆ 🐢 πŸ™Š

  • Engagement

    Emojis are more effective at increasing engagement rates than hashtags.

Most Popular Twitter Emojis

To those paying attention, it will be no surprise that "Face with Tears of Joy" is the most popular emoji on Twitter. In fact, this emoji is so popular that Oxford Dictionaries named it word of the year in 2015. Not just the best emoji; the best word.

The others on this list are also not particularly surprising. Perhaps more of a shock is that a simple smiley face (πŸ™‚) ranks 132nd, while the open-mouthed smile (πŸ˜€) - the first emoji on most lists - was 32nd.

Top Twitter emojis

  • Number of posts
E_emojis_graph_02 Created with Sketch. 10B 5B 0 15B πŸ˜‚ ❀️ 😍 πŸ”₯ πŸ‘ 😭 😊 πŸ‘ 😘 πŸ™ Emoji Number of posts

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Do Emojis Affect Engagement Rates?

Brands and marketers use emojis to try to catch other users' attention, and hopefully get more likes and retweets. The bright little icons should make it more likely that people who see them react.

As we saw with hashtags and handles, the largest group for engagement rates is those tweets containing no emojis. But unlike those other examples, as the number of emojis increases, the engagement rate becomes less predictable.

Based on this data, one could argue that using 11, 12, or 15 emojis would be better than 1, 2, or 3. Although it should be noted that the sample size is smaller once we pass 10 emojis.

Average engagements per number of emojis

  • Engagements per post
E_emojis_graph_03 Created with Sketch. 30k 20k 10k 0 40k 0 5 10 12 15 19 Number of Emojis Average Engagements

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Most Engaging Twitter Emojis

Do certain emojis generate more engagements than others? While it's hard to credit the emoji entirely for these retweets and likes, these 10 emojis have a higher average engagement rate than all the others.

And one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Note: Because this is an average, the sample size for some emojis can vary considerably. For example, the top emoji in this list was used just 10,773 times in our sample, while we've collected other emojis used more than 13 million times (see previous section).

Twitter emojis with the highest engagement

  • Average engagements per post
E_emojis_graph_04 Created with Sketch. 200k 300k 100k 0 400k πŸ—Ώ 🐬 🀴 πŸ‹ πŸ‘΄ ⚰️ 🐨 🌝 ➿ 🀢 🐳 ☠️ Emoji Average Engagements

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Which Emojis do the Biggest Users Prefer?

This graph is really just for fun. It's based on simple question: are some emojis preferred by Twitter users with a higher average number of followers?

Or to put it another way: which emojis are correlated with users with the most followers? There's not much to take away from this graph - it's just a bit of fun.

Emojis used by Twitter influencers

  • Number of followers
E_emojis_graph_05 Created with Sketch. 200k 300k 400k 100k 0 500k ➡ 🚏 πŸ‘ ⏸ 🌩 πŸ”– πŸ“‹ πŸ†š 🎟 🏏 Emoji Average Followers

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Animal Emojis

Another fun one. People love cute animal content on social media, and emojis are no different. So which animal emojis are the most popular on Twitter?

Dogs and monkeys are always popular animals, and both feature in our top three. Some emojis - like the goat and the snake - may be used to represent other ideas.

Goat is commonly used in sports to mean either a person who makes a mistake, or "greatest of all time" (G.O.A.T.), while the snake usually refers to a treacherous or untrustworthy person. Download full report (33 pages)

Top animal emojis

  • Number of posts
E_emojis_graph_06 Created with Sketch. 400k 200k 0 600k πŸ™ˆ 🐢 πŸ™Š 🐾 😹 🐱 🐝 🐐 🐰 🐍 Emoji Number of posts

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