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The Facebook ‘like’ has shaped the way we interact online, helping us move from individual comments to a quick button-press response. In February 2016, the ‘like’ button got a dramatic overhaul with 5 new emotional responses being released worldwide. The 6 options now available are: like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry. While purely social users can now choose a more nuanced response than a ‘like’ mobile advertising and online marketing experts are trying to understand the impact on business users.
Six months in, it seems that the new Facebook reactions are a hit yet aren’t much used. Many people feel they provide a useful function, allowing them to sympathize without suggesting approval (a friend has had a bad day? Click sad, not like). However, sources suggest that less than 3% of reactions use the new emotions. This isn’t a balanced usage – other sources suggest that over 50% of new reaction clicks are ‘love’ with the other emotions taking shares of the remaining few percent of clicks.
Posts, photos and videos. They can ‘like’ pages and comments but not use the other reactions there. The other types of content haven’t changed so you can’t use the reactions on individuals, pages, or businesses. You can say yes/no/maybe to event invitations, yes/no to joining a community or adding a friend but you can’t like, love or be angry about these things. You can’t use an angry reaction to tag a person, page or company.
If one of your customers or fans takes the time to use one of the new reactions, you should take note as this person has invested more in your site than a standard user scrolling past. If your posts are drawing appropriate reactions then congratulate yourself. If you’re not getting any reactions or are getting a barrage of negative reactions on innocuous posts, then it’s a strong sign that you need to reconsider your content marketing strategy. Moreover, reactions are public so anyone can see who has reacted to your content and how.
Facebook tries to snag users’ attention and keep it long enough to show them an add. In a sense, it’s digital and mobile advertising agency with a nice user interface. The reactions provide extra data to Facebook which could be incorporated into the algorithms used to decide what to display to a user and which ads to show alongside it. For example, if a user has been posting lots of sad faces on pictures of lost pets it might be a good time to show an ad for a pet charity or pet food or similar. On the flip side, too many sad posts might drive a user away entirely. How the algorithms work is a business secret, so this is a theoretical example. It seems likely that customers who interact more with your page will see more of your posts so in this sense, any response is highly valuable.
The ‘love’ and ‘haha’ reactions are probably the most valuable as they are clearly positive and it seems likely that these will be prioritised by Facebook’s display algorithms. However, never forget that the company hires some very smart people and obvious tactics such as ‘click love for a discount’ may be counter productive. ‘Like and share to enter’ competitions are a standard Facebook marketing tool, and seem to be considered fair game. However, it’s best to provide genuine, good quality content and earn your reactions fairly as you want your customers to come back time and again.
Facebook reactions have been treated as ‘likes’ in the initial roll out phase. Going forward, it may be possible to target your campaigns using the reactions alongside other data. For example, you may be able to create a mobile advertising campaign for a bike shop targeted people who are local and angry about traffic updates.
By providing more nuanced data, Facebook reactions are valuable for digital and mobile advertising and marketing. As the reaction data on a post is publicly available, it makes it easy to see which of your own and your competitor’s posts are successful. However, it would unsurprising if Facebook itself reaped the most benefits from this change. The data gathering increase the effectiveness of their advertising and this could be a significant benefit for their clients. As the ad network is generally affordable and easy to use, we’re inclined to ‘like’ this change for professional reasons and ‘love’ it for personal ones.