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Emoji descriptions for Android apps may lead to more downloads

A study shows that in some countries, adding an emoji in a description for an Android app in the Google Play Store caused downloads for the app to increase.

Published onJanuary 26, 2017

Emojis, whether you like them or not, have become extremely popular in this mobile-based world. We see them in instant messages, emails, and on our social networking accounts. You simply can’t get away from seeing these icons. But are they useful for more than just messages? According to a new study, they could be used to boost downloads of Android apps in the Google Play Store.

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As part of a test, app developer Novoda inserted the rocket emoji at the end of the short description of the CCleaner app, because that brief report is seen by most people who browse apps in the store. It used the A/B testing tool in Google’s Developer Console to see if that rocket had any effect on downloads. The first test was conducted in Germany and the rocket emoji caused app downloads to increase by 20 percent. The company decided to expand this study by testing the rocket, 100 and bin emojis in the same description, but in seven languages.

The final results, however, were mixed. In addition to Germany, app downloads with emojis in the descriptions did go up by 20 percent in Italy and Poland. Furthermore, different emojis generated more downloads than others in different markets and languages. The 100 emoji was more popular in Italy, while the bin emoji generated more downloads in Poland.

However, those same tests proved to be inconclusive in Russia, Spain and France. The study showed that the difference in downloads for the app was too small to indicate if the emojis in the description had any effect. Perhaps most significant is how app downloads with the English language description were affected. The study shows that the app actually generated more downloads without any emojis. Novoda did say that its test did not localize the listing so that all English-speaking countries could see the same version, so it might be too early to draw a definitive conclusion.

Basically, developers who want to offer their products worldwide should consider adding an emoji to their descriptions

Ultimately, Novado found that app downloads went up by over 4.5 percent with the addition of emojis to their descriptions. However, it added those results came after lots of tests and optimizations to find out which app markets would see such a boost, along with picking the right emoji to use.  It’s currently unclear why emojis work in some places and not in others, but it seems very clear that app developers who want to offer their products worldwide should consider adding an emoji in at least some markets.

Are you more or less inclined to download an app if you see an emoji in the description? Let us know if you click or don’t click in the comments!

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