Our Reaction to Facebook’s New “Reactions”
25 Feb 2016
This morning, Facebook dove deep into our emotions with the release of the platform’s new feature, “Reactions” — an emotive evolution of the “like” button we all know and love. Instead of the one-dimensional engagement of clicking “like” on a post no matter how it makes you feel, you’ll now have the option of telling everyone how you really feel by choosing from 6 different emotional options or “reactions.”
Image via Reddit by Gifsworld
Not Every Post is Likable
Facebook has been testing out this new feature for more than a year in Ireland and Spain. The company’s developers reportedly took all of the feedback they had been receiving into consideration. Overwhelmingly, the data showed that not every post is likable, and a change was necessary to enhance users’ interaction experience.
You may remember hearing some chatter about a possible “dislike” button in the past, but the social platform has decided to go another route. Thus the new Reactions have been born.
These emotions were not chosen randomly. In fact, extensive research was put into place to narrow down these reactions and determine the most popular and widely used emotions from cultures all over the world.
How the New Reactions Work
To activate the new reactions, you just simply hover over the “like” button and all of the emotions will pop up. Then you just select the one that best matches how you’re feeling.
As it appears, at least for now, Reactions are only available on posts. They are not available on post comments. You also do not have any other options besides “Like” for any business or company page on Facebook that you would like to follow. And yes, you can choose reactions on photos, including profile and cover photos. The new feature is available on both desktop and on mobile through the Facebook app.
Facebook Reactions: A Quick Guide
The six different Facebook Reactions that you have to choose from are: like, love, haha, wow, sad and angry. Each reaction has an adorable emoji to go with it. Get to know the new family members and our reactions on the matter:
“Like” – Don’t worry the famous like button isn’t going anywhere, it just made some new friends. After all, the like button is what started it all, and what would Facebook be without it? So if you aren’t someone who likes to share your feelings, you can keep using the classic “like” button. Although, it may begin to fade out with all these new shiny options for expression. What we like about this new feature is that everyone can now express their true stance on a subject instead of a one extreme or the other approach – like or dislike. This will help marketers reposition content based on the Reactions they see from users. Data is already accessible in Facebook insights and you can see how people are reacting to posts on your page, which is extremely valuable information for brands. Maybe Facebook will start to allow advertisers to target users based on their current emotions. We can only hope. But this is, without a doubt, a social media marketing game changer
“Love” – For the content you like so much that you love it and would hug it if you had the option. What we love about Facebook’s new Reactions is that, when you react to a post, it actually prompts Facebook to show you more of that type of content. So you can basically control what type of content you see by whether you react to it or not. This goes for sad or angry reactions too, so don’t choose angry as your way of saying you don’t want to see something because any reaction will link you to that content. Think about it this way; any content worth a reaction must be worth talking about. WARNING: Whatever you do, do not ask your page fans for “loves.” Facebook announced a new algorithm change and specifically said that posts that ask for loves (or for any type of reaction, for that matter), will be less likely to make it into the newsfeed. The only way to get around this and ask for loves is to do so through video.
“Haha” – To be used when you find something so funny that you are literately laughing out loud and are potentially embarrassing yourself in public. Our Haha moment with the new feature is when we scrolled over the new Reactions through the Facebook app to see that the reactions actually move and each one animates like a tiny GIF. It made us giggle.
“Wow” – We’re not entirely sure if this will be used as a good wow like “wow that is amazing” or a bad wow like “wow, what horrible situation.” We like to think positive, so we’ll take it as a good wow (although we suspect it will be both). What made us say wow about the new feature is that you can see a count of how many people had each type of reaction on each post. You can look even further into it and see which people expressed which reactions.
“Sad” – Most Facebook users will agree this reaction was needed. For all of the heart-wrenching stories where you just don’t feel right pressing “like” about a not-so-likeable situation, you now can express your sympathy. We can honestly say, at this point, there is really nothing to be sad about with the new feature, and we think it will just increase overall user engagement now that people can react to posts beyond just liking them. However, there is a slight chance that with the major increase of engagement, that Facebook could increase advertising costs, and that would make us sad.
“Angry” – Last but certainly not least, and probably the most concerning as far as engagement, we have the angry reaction. Obviously, we would like to keep everything as positive as we can on social media, because who likes to be negative? But of course, it is inevitable that we will come across content that makes us angry, and now we can let the world know. Some of you may be angry because you haven’t seen this feature on your Facebook pages yet, and you are experiencing an acute case of FOMO. Since the feature just rolled out this morning, it may take a little time for it to show up for everyone, so just be patient. You also may want to try logging out and then back in to your Facebook account.
How Will this Affect Engagement? 4 Key Predictions
So how will this really affect Facebook marketing campaigns? At the time of going to press, it’s difficult to tell. But here are a few predictions that can be gleaned from all the talk that’s reverberating throughout the social media marketing industry right now:
- Higher Engagement: By offering more engagement options to users, it’s likely that engagement on Facebook is going to rise significantly.
- Rising Prices on Paid Engagements: In the coming months, expect Facebook’s paid engagement prices to go up along with the increased engagement. Facebook will be looking to capitalize on all the extra engagement this new offering will undoubtedly generate.
- Emotional Discovery and Targeting: This may become the new paradigm of social interaction, wherein certain types of content are served to people who display consistent reactions. Ad targeting likely will be rolled out to target these users as well.
- Bipolar User Engagement: Thanks in no small part to the Internet’s anonymity, users trend toward the extremes when it comes to expressing their like and dislike for certain types of content. Expect this dynamic to become more pronounced now that there’s a very simple way of expressing these reactions.
One thing is for certain: Our interactions, both as users and marketers, will never be quite the same. And as with any new change that arises, we’re sure that there will be mixed emotions (pun intended). So what is your reaction about Facebook’s new “Reactions?”
Jennifer Aquilino is a LeadBuilder® Social Media Specialist. Connecting people and businesses everywhere, one hashtag at a time. Social media marketing OBSESSED. Caffeine-dependent. Dreamer. Online extrovert, real life introvert. Connect with her on LinkedIn.