Let’s face it, emojis are cute. And cool. And whether you like it or not, they’ve become an essential part of modern communication. I mean, how else are you going to express your sassy side over text? 💁‍♀️ Or showcase that your favorite animal is the tiger? 🐯 Or show any emotion at all? 🥹

Type it out? Absolutely not. That’s just #EwDavid.

Why should you when there’s an emoji for basically everything?

Emojis have graced our phones since the 1990s, evolving from the emoticon that started it all, :-). But did you know that there’s an unofficial holiday celebrating these wonderful, colorful little symbols? World Emoji Day is on July 17 and it’s quite an emojional day.

Keep reading to learn all about World Emoji Day and how you can partake in it this year!

What is World Emoji Day?

Believe it or not, World Emoji Day exists.

While it started as an unplanned, not-so-big thing, World Emoji Day has evolved into an important day for brands and companies across the world.

Much like emojis themselves, which were inconsequential, but now hold power over modern communication.

World Emoji Day is on July 17 and is the dedicated day for most brands to make product announcements or releases for anything relating to emoji.

Emoji day has become a fun day for brands and consumers alike to revel in the joy of emojis.

A brief history of emojis and World Emoji Day

Yes, there was a time before these cute little, yellow-faced animations graced our screens. A time when people couldn’t use monkeys to cutely express their shame 🙈.

Before emojis, there were emoticons. And before that, the text was just plain boring.

Emoticons were a concept first put into practice in 1982. A computer scientist, Scot Fahlman, suggested that text-based symbols, like 🙂 and :-(, could replace language. But this wasn’t the first time smiley-face symbols were thought of to replace and enhance text.

In the 1960s, during an interview with the New York Times, Vladimir Nabokov, a Russian novelist, said that he often thinks special symbols representing a smile should exist.

It took years before these symbols became mainstream, though. Only in the 1990s did companies begin experimenting with Fahlman’s symbols.

Eventually, phone and software companies began using these text symbols in various ways. By the time the 2000s rolled around, the 12-by-12 black and white emojis became well known, especially in Japan.

As phones and messaging apps developed, the use of these first emojis grew. So much so that the Smiley Company developed the Smile Dictionary. It was the beginnings of the emoji keyboard we know and love today.

By 2004, mobile providers across Europe and the United States began discussions on how to introduce their own emoji sets. At first, emojis weren’t taken seriously. But when Apple and Google began developing a uniform emoji set, things changed.

In short — we now have a massive emoji set that’s become its own language.

What about World Emoji Day?

As emojis evolved, they became an integral part of day-to-day texting. Part of that evolution was the introduction of cat faces in 2010, 198 flags in 2014, and somewhere along the line, the addition of a calendar emoji.

Thanks to that emoji — World Emoji Day was born.

Emojipedia founder, Jeremy Burge, created World Emoji Day in 2014. His reason? Because it was a bit of fun! He also admits that he knew someone would create an emoji day as it seemed the trend wasn’t going anywhere.

As odd as it seems, the chosen date wasn’t just pulled out of a hat. He chose July 17 because the emoji calendar on the iPhone shows that date.

On the very first World Emoji Day, Burge told the Independent that there were formal celebration plans. Or plans at all, other than picking a date.

The next year, #WorldEmojiDay was the top trending item on July 17 on Twitter. It made such an impact that by 2016, Google updated its calendar emoji to also show the number 17. By 2020, almost major platforms updated their calendar emojis to show July 17.

While there’s no formal celebration, people and brands love celebrating this day of emojis in their own way. In 2018, the Washington Post suggested readers only communicate with emojis in honor of World Emoji Day.

Other brands have used the day as a promotional tool. For example, in 2015, Pepsi used the day to launch PepsiMoji. It included an emoji keyboard and custom World Emoji Day Pepsi cans and bottles.

Since 2017, Apple has used World Emoji Day to announce any updates and expansions to the iOS emoji range. Most other major companies, including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, do the same.

World Emoji Day has taken the world by storm. Each year it gets celebrated in new and unique ways.

How to promote World Emoji Day

There’s no set way to celebrate World Emoji Day. But you should take advantage of its massive reach and celebrate it. There are a few fun ways to celebrate and promote World Emoji Day.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, you can create your own emojis to share on World Emoji Day. Or you can inform your followers on social media that you’ll only be ‘speaking’ in emojis for the day.

If your brand is launching a product around the same time as World Emoji Day, consider using it to your advantage. You can share teaser posts with a description of the product using only emojis?

Want to know how you can get the most out of World Emoji Day this year? Sign up for a free trial of Sprout Social to boost your World Emoji Day and other social media holiday engagement.

World Emoji Day frequently asked questions

Emojis have become an important aspect of our daily communication. And while World Emoji Day is relatively big on social media, a lot of people have plenty of questions about it.

When is World Emoji Day?

Because not all platforms have updated their calendar emojis, many people are confused about when World Emoji Day is.

World Emoji Day is on July 17.

Why July 17?

The date may seem arbitrary. But, believe it or not, there is some logic behind it.

The creator of World Emoji Day chose July 17 because that’s the date that appears on Apple’s calendar emoji. He says he originally wanted to use November 21 — the day Apple brought emoji to iPhone. But he believed that July 17 was just perfect.

How is Emoji Day celebrated?

While World Emoji Day isn’t an official holiday, it’s still a day that’s widely celebrated.

There’s no set way to celebrate World Emoji Day. For example, Apple and Google often use the day to announce updates to their respective emoji keyboards.

But some companies and brands hold in-person events. In 2017 the Empire State Building, for example, was lit up in “emoji yellow.” That same year, a Guinness World Book record was almost set for the largest gathering of people dressed as emojis in Dubai.

In 2016, Pepsi even held a World Emoji Red Carpet event, which was attended by many A-list celebrities.

Go forth and have a great World Emoji Day!

Because we’re so used to them, we take emojis and the value they add to our conversations for granted 😔. But why not take the time and celebrate them, along with the rest of the world, the next time World Emoji Day rolls around.

Learn more about how you can create a fun, emoji-filled social media campaign! 🥳