E-Laughter Shake Up: LOL is Dead

Tell me it isn’t so! “LOL” is dead! In now: “haha” and “hehe.” Oh, and emojis too. As summer comes to a close, today I share new research from Facebook that takes us to the lighter side of today’s vernacular. While you might think that an “e-laughing” movement from LOL to haha is silly (well, it is), it reminds us, as direct marketers, that our culture, language and customers continue to reinvent and evolve.

Tell me it isn’t so! “LOL” is dead! In now: “haha” and “hehe.” Oh, and emojis too. As summer comes to a close, today I share new research from Facebook that takes us to the lighter side of today’s vernacular. While you might think that an “e-laughing” movement from LOL to haha is silly (well, it is), it reminds us, as direct marketers, that our culture, language and customers continue to reinvent and evolve. This can impact your copy, especially if you’re marketing to people, irrespective of age, who think of themselves as current with the times.

Our conversation is evolving. E-laughing is one visible evolution, and you can expect it to migrate into printed messaging. The Facebook research reveals that 15 percent of people included laughter in a post or comment during a study of one week’s worth of comments across Facebook last May. The findings:

  • 51 percent use haha (or hahaha, or multiple ‘ha’s)
  • 34 percent use emojis
  • 13 percent use hehe
  • 2 percent use LOL

“Haha” conveys different levels of laughter. “Hahaha” is funnier than just “haha.” And “hahahahaha” (or higher) approaches deranged laughter (perhaps another relic of the past is “ROFL — rolling on the floor laughing”).

If you think these findings are skewed to a particular age group, that would be inaccurate. The research says this trend spans ages 13 to 70, although emojis tend to be used more by younger people.

Then, there is geography. “Haha” and “hehe” are more popular on the West Coast and emojis are used more in the Midwest. Southern states are still a bit more fond of “LOL.”

The research even breaks down the data by state (check here to see what e-laughter your state uses most). If you’re in California, you’re more likely to say “hehe.” If you’re in New York, emojis are used more. In Texas (where I live), you’ll find us laggards are still using “LOL.”

So back to a more serious side, what, if anything, does this mean to direct marketing and copywriting and content?

  • If you’re trying to be contemporary, stay in tune with the evolution of language, whether it’s use of e-laughter symbols or other word or abbreviation uses.
  • Watch for trends online first (especially on social media), then observe if or how it migrates to print.
  • With 15 percent of people using e-laughter in posts or comments online, if your product lends itself to humor, test it. Historically, marketers have avoided humor because of the risk of backfire, but maybe it’s time to venture out.

Finally, if you truly want to show you’re trendy, stop using LOL!

Author: Gary Hennerberg

Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.

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