NEW YORK: Marketers are seeing stronger results from messaging campaigns that include emojis – those little digital cartoon characters – even as the number of emoji marketing campaigns continues to increase, a new study has shown.

According to Appboy, a mobile marketing automation firm, the number of consumer messaging campaigns that included emojis increased by more than 600% over the past 12 months.

Specifically, more than 800m emoji messages were sent in June 2016 compared with just 145m sent in June 2015, and it appears brands have improved their targeting of consumers who are more likely to be interested in receiving them.

Appboy said that, since June 2015, the open rates for iOS and Android push notifications containing emojis increased by 210% and 1,063% respectively year-on-year.

Furthermore, conversion rates associated with emoji messaging campaigns also increased 135% over that time, based on its poll of 500 consumers. However, Appboy accepted that other factors in individual campaigns could have influenced these conversion rates.

But the overall theme of the report is that consumers are, for the most part, receptive to emojis because more than 64% of the survey sample reported that they like or love emojis compared with just 6% who dislike or hate them.

A full 87% use them in their own personal texting and messaging, the report found, while 68% receive an emoji-style message from friends or family at least once a day.

Of particular note for marketers, 39% said they found it "fun" when brands use emojis in their communications, yet 60% receive emoji-related messages no more than once a month and 35% don't receive them at all.

Overall, the majority of consumers welcome brands sending them messages containing emojis, although the survey also found that a significant minority regard emoji-marketing as inappropriate (11%) or childish (12%).

"That means that marketers who want to take advantage of emojis in their messaging should make sure they're taking steps to avoid sending emoji campaigns to customers who don't respond to them," the report advised.

Appboy's findings were released ahead of "World Emoji Day", which took place on Sunday, and coincided with separate analysis from Twitter about the most popular emojis used by different nationalities.

The light-hearted research showed that Americans, Canadians and the British favour a weary face, but Turks tend to favour a more classic smiley face.

Australians and Germans like to use the thumbs-up sign, while Italians and the French live up to their romantic image by most often using heart-shaped emojis.

Data sourced from Appboy, Daily Mail; additional content by Warc staff