Aro Digital ran a survey to learn how Kiwis use emojis in 2022!

Our creative whizz Galena Ilg asked New Zealanders about their emoji and social media usage. All up we had 752 Kiwis answer the survey, with 5,264 emojis submitted. Shout out to everyone who shared their digital habits with us, we hope it was the most fun you’ve ever had with a survey!

Introducing… the Emoji Insights Dashboard

You can now access insightful data from our emoji survey. We built an interactive tool, because we're data nerds. You can filter responses by age, gender and region, to see how different groups of Kiwis use emojis. Go on, have a play, and find out what insights you can glean.


In the survey, we prompted different emotional reactions with five iconic Kiwi moments. Without explicitly telling our survey participants what emotions we were looking to evoke, we asked New Zealanders to react with an emoji.

7 Insights from Aro Digital’s Emoji Survey 2022

Here are a few interesting things we observed with your survey answers!

1 - Cities vs Regions: It appears that city slickers are feeling more 😎 than the regions, people in the regions see other Kiwis as feeling more 🤔
In both cities and regions, the 😴 mood is pretty apparent, with 😊 as a close 2nd.

2 - Favourites: Our most-used emojis are pretty in line with what’s popular internationally. Top choices include: 😂🥺🥰😍😭🤣

3 - Cringe:
Over 45s considered the "cringe" GIF funny and silly 😂 While younger people reacted more with the grimace face 😬

4 - Funny: 
Interestingly, more males took the "funny" moment literally with an eggplant emoji 🍆

5 - Sad: 
Most people opt for the same emojis to express sadness 😭

6 - Cute: When reacting to cuteness, Kiwis use a range of options 🥰😍🥺
Did you know that this cute face 🥰 was released in 2018? Described by Emojipedia.org as expressing feelings of love, infatuation, and adoration, it’s no surprise we’re feeling a little 🥰 with our humble kiwi bird! 

7 - Cool: Amongst non-binary survey-goers, a popular vibe is 😎


What's the mood of Aotearoa? 

Most people are feeling good 😀 but see most of New Zealand as feeling... not-so-good 😬

Here's how Kiwis described their own emotions:


And here's how Kiwis thought others were feeling:


Hot Tips for Using Emojis in Your Copywriting


💛 DO add a bit of emphasis and ✨highlight✨ keywords with emojis. 

💛 Give your lists pizzazz and use them as bullet points. 

💛 Place them where you’d usually pause or breath 🌬 so that it acts like a comma!

💛 Express yourself with an emoji to get your message across. 💖

💛 Or even a combo of emojis. 🌞🐬😎☕

💛 Unsure how to put something into words? 🤔 A picture speaks a thousand words. 

❌ DON’T use a comma after an emoji 😬, like this.

❌ Never put a full stop after an emoji 👉.

❌ Don’t randomly put ⏸ in 🍫 between words, it 🍔 messes with the pacing. 

❌ Skin tone emojis don’t work in emails. 👱‍♀️🟫 They end up looking like this.

🎓 Want to learn more about harnessing emojis or digital marketing question? Our Aro experts can provide free advice. You're welcome to book in for your hour to ask us anything!

Popular social media platforms for Gen Z vs Millennials

From a marketing perspective, it’s awesome seeing where Kiwis like to hang out. You can get this social media insight via the Platforms infograph. It’s interesting to see that even neighbouring age brackets like “18-24” and “25-34” have different habits. Millennials frequent Instagram and Facebook, while Zoomers are more TikTok-orientated than Facebook. We can see that generally, the older the platform, the older the user. And for both Gen Z and Millennnials, Instagram is currently king.

Millennials' Social Media Channel Usage

People born between 1981 and 1996 love Instagram and Facebook, but not so much TikTok (yet).


Gen Z's Social Media Channel Usage

People born between 1997 and 2012 frequent Instagram and TikTok, with Facebook usage fading off.

Future Emoji trends

We love to make data fun and easily digestible. Our goal is to understand the ''state of the nation'' across Aotearoa. From the survey data we received, our analytics gurus created this fantastic data visualisation tool. Prior to the emoji campaign, we didn’t have an accessible way of seeing how Kiwis use emojis. Soo, here at Aro Digital we decided to make one ourselves! We’re planning on running the Aotearoa Emoji Survey annually. Over time, we’ll not only have snapshot data, but we can also see how emoji usage evolves. Stay tuned via our social channels - you can find us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Tammy Kuo
Copywriting Specialist

Tammy was crowned “Aro’s biggest fan” before she was even on the payroll! Her journey from Aro friend to Aro whānau came full circle when she joined our team full-time in 2022. Before Aro, Tammy toured Aotearoa and taught small Kiwi businesses how to boost their digital marketing game. Her larger-than-life smile and tenacious spirit are a delight to have in any room!