Non-face emojis in digital marketing: effects, contingencies, and strategic recommendations

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Non-face (NF) emojis are increasingly used to complement or substitute words in digital marketing messages, yet the effects, mechanisms, and contingencies of this communication strategy remain underexplored. In a large-scale longitudinal study of Airbnb listings, we show that NF emojis (vs. simple text) lead to an increase in eWOM volume, an effect we replicate experimentally. This effect is qualified by important boundary conditions whose underlying mechanisms are investigated in two additional experimental studies. At the message level, using multiple substitutive (vs. complementary) NF emojis reduces message evaluations and eWOM volume due to reduced processing fluency. At the source level, seller quality further moderates the interaction between emoji function and emoji number: for premium sellers, using multiple NF emojis reduces message evaluations and eWOM volume irrespective of their function due to reduced perceptions of competence. We distill these findings into detailed managerial guidelines for using NF emojis in digital marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-597
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Digital marketing
  • Emojis
  • Marketing communications
  • Multimethod research
  • Online sharing platforms
  • Textual paralanguage

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