After years of discussion within Facebook HQ, this month finally, saw the rolling out of the ‘reaction emojis’. Since 2015, when the ‘dislike button’ started to circle as a possibility, Facebook have spent months testing and researching the best options for additional reactions. During the testing period Facebook learned a great deal about how people reacted to posts and comments. Originally they had intended to add ‘yay’, but instead felt that, it would be more aptly including within the two emotions of ‘haha’ and ‘love’.
When discussing the adding of a dislike button, Mark Zuckerburg himself remarked;
‘Over the years people have been asking for this… we have now come to understand... that people aren’t looking for an ability to down vote other people’s posts, what they really want is to be able to express empathy.’
‘Like’ it appears, simply wasn’t cutting it, for example, imagine all those instances when a friends loved one died, or they updated their status with a comment on the Syria crisis, I mean, you wouldn’t exactly ‘like’ that kinda status would you?
Whilst not trying to encourage Internet trolls to ‘dislike’ pictures of you, Facebook came up with a compromise, and I have to say, I like the way they’ve approached it. With a certain degree of thoughtfulness and research.
Facebook product manager, Sammi Krug explained;
“We understand that this is a big change… for more than a year we have been conducting global research including focus groups and surveys to determine what types of reactions people would want most. We looked at how people are already commenting on posts and the top stickers and emoticons as signals for the types of reactions people are already using, to determine the which reactions to offer.”
So, you may be asking at this point what reactions are now available (if you’re not using them already of course!). Well they’re:
Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry.
To use them, hold down the like button (if you’re using a mobile device) or hover over it (If you’re using a PC or laptop)
Whilst you can easily imagine how you would use them on your personal profile, what about business, how does it affect your brand?
New quantative ways to measure sentiment
1. Firstly, reactions offer new ways to measure sentiment, before your customers could ignore your post, like it, share it or comment. Now they can show 5 other ways of reacting. This is especially useful if you have created a post you wish to be amusing, outrageous or thought provoking. Facebook have even added a reaction count for each in their Facebook insights tool. Cool huh?
Better insight into your customer's needs
2. Secondly, you will gain a better understanding of your customers. As we have discussed many times before, knowing your customer’s needs and your target market is essential to creating posts that are successful in their aim. Reactions offer a new way to measure sentiment and gauge how an audience is reacting to your page’s content or sponsored post.
A decline in comments?
3. Thirdly, these emotions could lead to a decline in comments. Why write a few sentences, when a simple click will do? Will this be a bad thing or good? Comments over all other methods allow you the deepest insight into how a customer is feeling. Whilst at first it may appear bad, this qualative data will give way to more quantative measurable data, and after all people are more likely to use the ‘reaction’ buttons than they are to leave comments. More data therefore, can only be a good thing.
‘Reactions data’, therefore, could be a potent new tool for advertising.
Facebook’s own research has shown that its news feed algorithm can make users happy or sad by showing them a greater proportion of positive or negative posts. Further research might even help the company create a mix of happy, sad, amazing, funny and infuriating posts to keep users coming back for more. In terms of advertising it will mean marketers will need to come up with a number of different posts based on those emotions in order to feature highly within the new algorithm.
If you have any feelings or thoughts about Facebook’s new emotions then please let us know, we’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
Kelly the Marketeer x