I'm still not sure how an emoji qualifies as a "word," but the Oxford Dictionary says it does. Even if you use the "name" of the emoji – Face with Tears of Joy – it's still not a word. Ah, well. I'll just chalk it up to the Oxford Dictionary desperately trying to stay relevant in today's texting-acronyms-constantly world. So, the experts are saying, the "Emoji word of the year reflects importance of visual communication." Luxury Daily reports, "the Oxford Dictionary has named an emoji as the official word of the year, revealing a major shift in consumer behavior towards mobile and visual communication, which is likely to incite more marketers to incorporate imagery in their messaging." "The highly regarded dictionary manufacturer has designated the pictograph titled Face with Tears of Joy as the word of 2015, reflecting the significance visual imagery has in today’s culture," Brielle Jaekel writes. "Marketers have been keen to tap into that, and must continue to do so by communicating with consumers through their language, leveraging emojis and other visual concepts." "The Face with Tears of Joy emoji was the most used image worldwide, prompting Oxford to declare it as the word of the year. Marketers are embracing the trend to better stay connected to their demographics." "While these marketing pushes are fun and interesting, it makes tracking content success rates difficult, especially through social media," Brielle Jaekel writes. "Marketers were able to track brand sentiment through text phrases and hashtags, but with the proliferation of emojis used for conveying emotion becoming so substantial, brands need to determine how to track it." “Marketers need to begin thinking visual-first,” Joe Cecin, president and chief operating officer at Nervve, said. “We know images and video are the best way to reach and resonate with audiences, but marketers also need to understand that this is how customers are beginning to respond. “This certainly does not end with emoji use,” he said. “Customers are posting pictures with products or at locations, quickly replacing text-based reviews on Yelp or under product review pages. “Today, if a customer really likes a new pair of shoes, they will post a picture on Instagram with a caption of the heart-eye emoji. Finding these types of reviews is becoming significantly more difficult, but increasingly important, if they want to accurately measure brand sentiment,” Cecin said. When they're not texting and posting emojis, Smartphone Users are buying stuff. It might even be stuff they saw promoted with emojis. So here are the deets on Smartphone Users, according to AudienceSCAN data. 22% of Smartphone Users plan to buy new cars or trucks in the next year. They are 24% more likely than average shoppers to lay out at least $500 on on children's apparel and shoes. A quarter of users will get NEW smartphones in the next 12 months! These could be additional phones, replacement phones and/or upgraded versions, so get your wireless dealers on the emoji bandwagon! AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.