PAID Custom Emojis on Twitter?

If you have used Twitter in the last year, you have probably seen some of the custom emojis that are hashtag-activated.

If you haven’t, here’s how it works. When you put a specific hashtag in your tweet, a featured emoji appears.

Here are some examples of custom emojis:

custom emojis lovewinscustom emojis tswift  custom emojis star warscustomemojis tgit  customemojis pope customemojis fashion week

Custom emojis have been used for political statements, music artists, movies, television shows, New York Fashion Week, the Pope, and more. The possibilities are endless for brands and organizations to create an image that represents. The problem is, Twitter is not giving organizations the option to create or commission their own emoji at this time. Twitter knows that its users like to use emojis, so what is better than creating custom emojis that can only be used on their platform?
Well, what’s better for Twitter is making a profit off of those custom emojis. Surprisingly, up until recently, Twitter didn’t make any money off of these custom emojis, even though they are great visual branding tools. Twitter has sponsored hashtags, so why not have sponsored emojis along with them?


Coca-Cola is testing out these custom emojis as advertising units through Coke’s #ShareaCoke campaign. This could be the beginning of a very profitable tool for Twitter. If this campaign is successful (meaning it’s engaging people and creating a larger volume of tweets with #ShareaCoke) then Twitter has mentioned future plans for using these emojis as a service. This would create new value in emojis that wasn’t previously tangible.

Do you think that this campaign will be successful? If it is, would you consider paying for a custom emoji on Twitter for your brand?

If you have questions about tweeting with hashtags or emojis to benefit your business, contact us to #TurnTheLightBulbOn.


Laurel White | @laurelnwhite92

About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.


  1. Harley Crawshaw says

    I really enjoyed your blog this month, Laurel! I never really thought about the “Twitter Emojis” being used to promote a brand or business until reading this! Good job! 🙂

  2. Charging for custom emojis isn’t a bad idea for generating revenue, and it’s definitely not a new idea. I used to be active on the forum at many years ago, and one of the things they let you do was buy custom smilies (albeit usually mildly offensive ones), which are basically emojis except what we called them back around the turn of the millennium. On a side note, I’ve literally never used a hashtag. Okay, I might have made up a silly one like #ohlookthisisahastag but I’ve never created a “real” one or looked one up. I just have some vague idea of what they’re supposed to do. You darn kids and your interweb hashy things!

    • Dave Mack, thanks for sharing! I had no idea that this was an idea that was used in the past! I didn’t always use hashtags, but once I really got into using Twitter, I started using them more to take part in different conversations!

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