It’s no secret that people love their emojis. Today, virtual conversations — from chats with friends to exchanges with relatives — pretty much always seem to involve emojis. But how do emojis influence dating? Dating app Clover decided to find out.
“We’re always analyzing data and trying to figure out ways to optimize success rates for our users,” said Clover’s CEO and founder, Isaac Raichyk, via email. “We were curious to see how frequently emojis were being used how they might impact the first contact experience.”
To discover how emojis can shape the dating scene, Clover then looked at 90 million messages from 3 million different users.
The results suggest that that emojis can definitely help move things along at first. Women respond to initial messages that use emojis 5% more frequently. For men, the inclusion of emojis made an even greater impact: they reply to opening messages 8% more.
The top emojis women respond to include “Sassy Girl,” 💁 “Hungry Face” 😋 and “Tongue-Out Face” 😛, while the emojis they ignore include the “Phallic Eggplant,” 🍆 “Clapping” 👏 and “Flexed Biceps” 💪.
And the top emojis men reply to include “Smirking Face” 😏 and “Laughing Crying” 😂. They didn’t respond to the “Vulcan Salute,” 🖖 “Ring” 💍 or “Crying Face” 😢.
Still, only 10% of opening exchanges include emojis. That’s a bit surprising, given that a reported 92% of the online population use emojis. “Considering 82% of our users are aged 18-34, we were pretty surprised,” Raichyk said.
Raichyk mostly attributes the low emoji use rates at the start of an interaction to initial nervousness. “We think people might not be using them in opening conversations because they might be a bit self-conscious and playing it safe,” he said.
In spite of Clover’s positive findings on emoji usage, Raichyk recommends not going overboard with emojis when flirting on a dating app.
“We recommend using one or two emojis per message. Using more tends to negatively impact the response rate,” said Raichyk. And, he, added, “The number one rule is to be yourself, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there — being original and humorous certainly helps.”
Lauren Padilla is a student at Johns Hopkins University and a USA TODAY College digital producer.