Facebook finally released their 6 ‘Reaction’ emojis last week and all users should now see them. As you scroll your newsfeed you will see the ‘Like’ button as a call to action on every post and this will still be the default reaction, but holding down (mobile) or hovering over (web) the ‘Like’ button will reveal the other options. From now on each post will tell you how many people ‘reacted’ in total and not just ‘liked’ a post, to get the breakdown on each ‘reaction’ simply hover over the emoji and the individual statistic will pop-up. Reaction metrics, except Likes, aren’t available with Facebook’s API yet but they are available in the platform’s native Insights Dashboard. (The reaction data will be available to ZoomSphere customers as soon as Facebook opens the API up for software tools.)
The Reactions feature makes it easier for mobile users to react to content without having to type a comment on their device. Good, because it should encourage more interaction thanks to the wider number of ways people can interact to express more personal responses. Bad, because the Reactions feature makes it easier for users to convey their feelings without having to type a comment on their device – which means that people may actually comment less.
The like button, from the beginning, has been the key source of data for brands. By liking content your customers are telling Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm to show them more of it. However the like button has never told brands much about how people really feel about a given post, and this emotional spot is key for effective selling. Business analysts Forrester revealed that emotion was the primary factor in customer loyalty across 17 of the 18 industries they studied. Facebook Reactions give users six options for describing how they feel about a piece of content, and in turn about the brand. The boost for brands is that being able to better gauge the emotional experiences of customers gives them more opportunities to drive loyalty.
“Reactions gives businesses a really crisp way of understanding on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they’re posting”
Richard Sim – Director of Monetisation – Facebook
Pinpointing the E-Spot has always been key for any marketer, and a brand’s Facebook page will now gain more precise insights about what drives a customer’s emotion. This new data will be better for measuring sentiment than a simple ‘Like’ on a post. Reactions provide a simpler method for brands to automatically detect the emotion generated by a piece of content. Previously, a post and comments on a Page could be a discussion about a serious issue for a brand that is making people unhappy and it could generate ‘Likes’ simply because it resonates with people, but it didn’t tell marketers how they really feel. Now it will be easier for businesses to react better to conversations about their brand because the emotional responses are right there for them to see. Brands can now start to devise strategies that can elicit a particular emotional response to drive more engagement with their brand. They can experiment and hit customers right in the E-Spot!
Advertising is about eliciting emotions from consumers, and Facebook has delivered the opportunity to collect this data instantly on a plate. Previously this data could only be achieved by slow processes of evaluating reviews or asking customers to complete complex feedback forms. While this gives deep data, it is time consuming and doesn’t suit all business models. Giving users six reaction options means that brands can start to gather more degrees of data on how users are reacting to content. There are issues around how Facebook will weight these reactions in applying then to its current algorithms. After all, specific reactions don’t immediately mean that you want to see more or less from a certain Page or type of post. A post about Donald Trump may make you angry but it doesn’t mean you want to know less about US politics. Facebook has seems to recognise that the key to its long-term success lies in collecting ever more data on how its users react to the posts they see in their feed. The company can uses this data to personalise newsfeeds and much of the same data goes into the software Facebook uses to decide which ads its users see in their feeds.
“Over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.”
Sammi Krug – Product Manager – Facebook