Reaching Canadians on their ‘emojional’ rollercoaster

Twitter data finds feelings are running high and deconstructs how brands have evolved messaging to hit the right note

Given everything people are dealing with right now (a pandemic, widespread social unrest and political uncertainty), it may be more challenging to connect with consumers. But by understanding the wide range of people’s reactions to 2020′s emotional rollercoaster, many brands are striking the right tone.

New data from Twittertracks the use of emotional words and emojis on the platform. It shows the ten most-popular emojis dealing with emotions all saw at least double-digit usage increases between April and July. Laura Pearce, head of marketing at Twitter Canada, says “people’s feelings are oscillating wildly, brands need to listen and adapt their tone and language to reflect the changing situation. But there are great opportunities out there.”


Pearce says the data reveals that while negative feelings have clearly (and understandably) increased on the platform, positive feelings have also grown, and there is still an obvious appetite for entertainment and emotional engagement. The “lit” fire emoji, for example, saw the biggest increase of all emoji use at 293%, while laughing and heart-eye emojis matched the double-digit increases of sad-faced and crying emojis.

Pearce calls the huge range of emotions on display an “emotional tug of war,” and says navigating it takes understanding and skill. “The highs are high and the lows are low,” she says, adding that Twitter’s new emotional tracking data gives marketers the context they need to “read the room” and adapt messages to consumers’ new expectations.

Brands that are joining the conversation with the right attitude have garnered impressive results. At the beginning of the pandemic, WestJet tweeted a message of unity for its competitors in the air travel industry. Thanks to its positive and unifying sentiment, it earned 1,600 likes, making it the brand’s most-liked tweet so far in 2020.

Westjet tweet


In the latest “Heard Through Twitter” webisode, Twitter Canada’s head of marketing Laura Pearce points to brands that are resonating with consumers now, providing insights for marketers looking to follow suit.


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