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Add Emojis to Your Links and Stand Out From The Crowd

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Taking Custom Short Links to the Next Level: Add Emojis to your Links and Stand Out From The Crowd.

Emojis are all the rage, right? 

Communication is constantly evolving, and emojis are quickly becoming part of our modern language.

So, in keeping up with the trends, we’ve taken it one step further…

Oh yes, we’ve developed a feature that allows you to add emojis to your custom short links

rebrand.ly/😎

Pretty cool right? 

But first… 

Let’s go back for a moment, and see where this all began.

The Dawn of the Emoji

An Emoji is an ideogram or smiley used in electronic messages. 

Before the emoji as we know it today, people had started using parentheses to express their emotions in text. These basically included the smiley 🙂 sad face 🙁 or winky face ;).

Some sources say that they were used as far back as 1982 by Scott Fahlman. Scott was a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, and, in response to the group’s members wanting to determine a signal that a post was either meant to be humorous or serious, he responded with this suggestion:

hubspot-scott-e-fahlman

Other sources suggest the use of the smiley as early as the 1960s in a poem by Robert Herrick “To Fortune” – But this isn’t true. Some even say that it was Shakespeare who invented the emoticon 🙂

robert-herrick-emoji

More notably, it was Shigetaka Kurita who developed the first prototypes of the actual emoji in the late 1990s in Japan. 

He was working on the first mobile internet platform, who’s goal was to provide internet service on cellphones.

During this project, he proposed that using pictures or symbols would be an important feature, as it’d help get the messages across, especially with the limited screen space available then.

In his own words:

Everything was shown by text. Even the weather forecast was displayed as ‘fine’. When I saw it, I found it difficult to understand. Japanese TV weather forecasts have always included pictures or symbols to describe the weather— for example, a picture of sun meant ‘sunny’. Being so familiar with this culture, Kurita thought “I’d rather see a picture of the sun, instead of a text saying ‘fine’. “

His proposal was accepted and he began developing the first set of 176 emojis.

He got inspired by going into the city and watching how people expressed themselves. 

These emojis offered an easier way to express oneself, and in Japan this form of expression was an immediate hit.

emojis-shigetaka-kurita

Since then, emojis have become a part of our everyday communication.

Over 1000 Smiley Emoticons become Available for Download.

Around the same time, Nicola Loufrani, CEO at SmileyWorld started experimenting with animated smileys for mobile.

Enhancing them for more interactive use in digital. This lead him to create the first graphical emoticons and compiled an online “emoticon dictionary” with categories “Classics, Moods, Expressions, Flags, Celebrations, Fun…”

By 2000 this dictionary could be downloaded by phone in smileydictionary.com

Apple Propels the Emoji into Future, and Brands catch on.

In 2011, Apple introduced a hidden feature that enabled smartphone users to use emojis. You can imagine what a hit this was, with the smartphone-boom. Being able to use emojis  and  in your text messages instead of just text gave people another creative way to express themselves.

Now they’re available on almost every device, and have become a easy way to add expression and swag to your type.

In recent years, big brands have started using them too. And it’s easy to see why. In an age of excessive communication, words have become all-to-familiar. And these groovy little emojis definitely jazz them up, and stand out.

coca-cola-emoji-billboard-URL

The Emoji is Rewarded by Oxford.

Emojis have added a fresh touch to modern communication. 

They’ve had such an impact in fact, that in 2015 Oxford Dictionaries named the “Face With Tears of Joy”  the Word of the year: noteworthy.xyz/😱😂😱

 That’s right, for the first time ever, Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a pictograph.

oxford-woty-emoji-banner

I personally love this emoji, and use it all the time. No text laughs quite like the “Face With Tears of Joy” emoji 

The Emoji and the Link

The emoji has been used in the link before.

In 1995, a guy named Bob registered the first domain [snowman-emoji].com. He was able to do this as it was done before the dotcom registry imposed their crackdown on emoji domains.

product-hunt-emoji-link

The next emoji domain was registered in 2011: http://💩.la

Since then, one of the most notable use of the emoji domain has been by Coca-Cola.

The brand bought the domains for the smiley emojis, and used them in one of their “spread happiness,” campaigns.

If you visited any of these URLs, you’d be sent to emoticoke.com. Just looking at the billboard, you can see how effective the  is in adding an extra layer of happiness.

coca-cola-emoji-billboard-URL

In 2015, Linkmoji launched, a fun project that allows you to turn text URLs into emoji links. People just copy the link they want into a text box, click a box, and and out comes a new emoji-only URL.

For example: www.rebrandly.com becomes http://⚡🍟🔑🐘🌽🐶🍌🏉.🍕💩.ws

linkmoji-rebrandly

But, the emoji-links that Linkmoji generates are completely random. So you have no control over what emojis you are using in your links.

As fun as this is, it’s only the first step. 

At Rebrandly we’ve taken it a step further…

Here’s How We Are Celebrating the Emoji

At Rebrandly, we quickly realized that the era of the Emoji was only just beginning, and decided to make it one of our next big steps.

We’re all about giving the link the attention it deserves. And with the link being an essential tool of communication, why not jazz it up with emojis too? 

After a few months of hard work, we’ve now got a 4th way to customize your short links: 

We want people to be able to completely customize their links, using their brand, a specific domain extension, and a custom URL slug.

But beyond that, we want to give people a tool that let’s them go that step further.

And the emoji is the perfect progression.

With this feature, brands and individuals can add emotion to their links, say more with less, and stand out in the crowd.

emojionlinks

This is a huge step in the link evolution.

Here are some reasons why the emoji link is where it’s at:

It’s Cool 

Adding an emoji to your link adds swag to your links.

rebrandly.xyz/Video

rebrandly.xyz/😎Video

Which do you think looks cooler? Enough said.

It’s another way to express yourself 

One of the reasons most people like emojis, is because they make it a little easier to express ourselves. Instead of describing how you feel with words, one or more little symbols can get the message across so much better.

whoop.xyz/FunnyGif
or
whoop.xyz/😂😂Gif 

It adds personality to your links 

You can use the emoji to add personality to your branded links.

If you’re a market research company, you could use the detective emoji  in your links.

If you’re a fitness trainer, you could use a weights emoji  or the ever-popular muscles emoji 

By using specific emojis in all your links, you could even start creating an association to your brand. The emoji starts to become one of your brand assets.

Just like coca-cola can claim the , Apple could totally claim the .

It’s new 

Adding an emoji to a domain is not a new topic. You can purchase emoji domains, and you can create (random) emoji links with linkmoji.

But… now you can actually create completely customized short links with emojis, and have full control over which ones you use.

The link goes from being long and ugly, to short and random, to branded, to branded with pictures… or emotions – depending of what kind of message you want to send out

We are sharing content with links all the time. Here is an opportunity to not only customize your links from top to bottom and use graphics to express yourself with less.

It’s funny 

Add some drama to your text.

It’s short

This is the reason Emojis were created in the first place: They conveyed a message using fewer characters.

Instead of: Thunder&Rain, you could simply have 

FreshPizza becomes Fresh

MobileNumber becomes 

UK Telephone becomes

It’s a clever way to stand out

In the Information Age, words have been used over and over again. Here’s a chance to stand out in a whole new way, with visual stimuli.

Instead of apple.com/music/, they could be using apple.io/for their short links.

Clever, short, colourful – visually stimulating.

How to Add Emojis in Your Links

Okay, so how do you actually create your emoji-fied link?

We’ve made adding emojis to your links super simple.

When you find a URL you want to customize, go to the Rebrandly iOS App, Chrome Extension or Dashboard. The regular window pops up, and in the URL slug panel you will see an emoji-button. This is how to open up the emoji library and choose which ones you’d like to use. Simple as that.

To make it even simpler we’ve created a demo video for you:

Of course, to create emoji-fied links, you will need sign up for a free Rebrandly account here  Rebrand.ly/❤ 

Now that You’ve Got your Emoji-fied Link, Where Can You Share it on Social Media?

Once you’ve got your emoji link, where can you use it?

Developing this feature has many technical challenges, so we’re working hard at quickly making it compatible with all platforms.

Currently it’s compatible with most platforms, like:

link-emoji-web-compatibility

We’re continuously running tests on the compatible platforms to make sure emoji-fied links work optimally on all of them.

The end goal is to make these links work perfectly everywhere.

We’re reaching out to the incompatible platforms to assist us in making this possible. It’s just a matter of time, so bookmark this page and check back, as we will keep it updated as all of the large social platforms come on board.rebrandly-emoji

This is a fun feature, but it also presents a huge opportunity for brands to stand out in the noise. It gives you the ability to add emotion to your links, to communicate more with less, and to stand out with more than just words.

Final Thoughts

What an exciting time to be living in! Emojis in links could just be the next best way for you to engage with your customers in a memorable and fun way.

So what do you think? Will you be taking emoji-fied links for a spin? Got any creative ideas on how to use them in your links?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Originally Posted: November 8th, 2016.

Post Updated: October 25th, 2017.

Sian Lloyd
Marketing Specialist at Rebrandly. A marketer with a strong creative and branding background. With a passion for healthy branding, she focuses on creating useful and memorable experiences for customers.
  • The oldest emoji isn’t the snowman (the http://www.i❤.ws page the screenshot was taken has been updated). It was ♨.com, ♨.net, and ☮.com. Hope that helps.