Emoji usage in TV conversation

By @Joefiish
Wednesday, 18 November 2015

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the word of the year is none other than: 

Emoji usage in TV conversation

Since emoji characters began displaying on Twitter in April 2014, they’ve become a practical and fun way to convey extra meaning and emotion in the space of 140 characters. In particular, we’ve seen emojis used regularly in Tweets about TV, where fans can discuss what’s happening, how they feel about what they’re watching, or add context to their live-Tweeting.



We recently took a deeper look at emojis in TV conversation on Twitter, analyzing Tweets about televised programs coming from the US between April 2014 (when emoji became available) and July 2015 (through the end of the recent spring season).

As of July, around 14% of all TV-related Tweets contain at least one emoji character, up from 9.8% in April 2014 when emojis were first introduced.

Most popular emojis
Not only is the “face with tears of joy” emoji the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year, but it’s also by far the most popular emoji used in TV tweets. It’s typically used to convey laughter, but it doesn’t just see prominent usage in Tweets about comedy programming: it’s the top emoji across all genres, as well as all times of day. Another popular emoji is:

Emoji usage in TV conversation

signaling that users are loving what (or who!) they’re seeing on TV. Here are the top 10 emojis across all the TV-related Tweets we analyzed:

Emoji usage in TV conversation

Emoji usage by genre

TV programming covers a wide range of genres, so we took a closer look at how patterns of emoji use varies by content type. Which ones see the most emojis in Tweets, and which emojis might you expect to see in those Tweets? Across genres, music takes the number one spot, thanks predominantly to Tweets about the now-cancelled @106andPark: on average, 27% of Tweets about that show had at least one emoji (and at its peak, one episode saw 63% emoji usage).

Emoji usage in TV conversation

The top emojis for drama genre Tweets run the gamut of human emotion, with the most frequently used being (in order):

Emoji usage in TV conversation

Though sharing some of the same emojis, the following hand-based emojis are also prevalent in the top used reality emojis:

Emoji usage in TV conversation

With so many performance and skill-based reality shows, Twitter audiences like to cheer on their favorite acts with virtual applause and standing ovations. And official accounts for these shows often use emojis in their Tweets to rally fans to show appreciation for contestants.

For sporting events, we see a unique surge in the usage of ball-style emojis, such as:

Emoji usage in TV conversation

And, since we focused on US-based Tweets, there’s also frequent appearances by:

Emoji usage in TV conversation


Who uses emojis
Perhaps unsurprisingly, emoji fans skew young, with 86% of emoji users being 24 or younger and nearly half aged between 18-24. Across all of those who Tweeted emojis about TV, 57% are female.

Emoji usage in TV conversation

When emojis are used
Emoji Tweets occur in pattern very similar to overall TV tweets: appearing all the time, with the largest spike in primetime. Of the Tweets posted during primetime, over 15% of contain at least one emoji. Overnight and early morning see the lowest density of emoji Tweets.

Emoji usage in TV conversation

Twitter is where people turn to join the fellow fans on the world’s largest couch to share their reactions to what’s on TV. Now, they can express their feelings in their favorite ways for the world to see. Whether it is laughter, love, applause, or one of Twitter’s custom emojis, they are just another way with sharing your thoughts in 140 characters or less.