Facebook Reactions – The Marketer, the Data and the Sad Face?

Facebook Reactions is rolled out across the globe, but how will marketers respond? Keep reading to find out more…

How can I explain myself with just an emoji?!

In a world of chaos and mayhem, there is just one man who will stand up to the face of terror. He alone can save us. He alone will fight so that we may survive!! Shame that man is stuck on Facebook amusing himself with the new ‘Facebook Reactions’…

A picture of someone’s dog rolling around in mud just appeared on his news feed. What reaction should he give?! Will it be “haha”, possibly “wow”, or maybe just a plain old “like”. This vital decision means he is unable to save the world. Oh well, if you go down, go down Reacting.

Of course I am talking about the much anticipated update which will soon be on all of our Facebook accounts and, inevitably, trending on Twitter.

In response to the growing demand for a ‘Dislike’ button to go alongside the traditional ‘Like’, Mark and the Facebook boffins have decided to delight us all with ‘Reactions’ – “a panel of six different reactions you can add to a post. The first is, of course, “like,” followed by “love,” “haha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad” and “anger.””

Facebook Reactions

The idea is a user will be able to express their emotion towards a particular post / status / image / video, without necessarily needing to add a comment. Sounds easy enough. We are all much too busy to tell people how we really feel about their muddy dog.

Yet, there is a glaringly obvious issue with this. Still no Dislike button. Mr Zuckerberg has responded to this point, commenting on how ‘Dislike’ can denote negativity, something the platform wants to avoid: “Emotional tone online can be a minefield, often lost in translation or misinterpreted, which is why canny internet users have thought of workarounds”.

So this is the substitute. 6 (plus the like) buttons for the busy-body of modern society. Ideal for mobile use. Ideal for plaguing the internet with even more emojis.

My ironic dislike for the change does have a silver lining though, as from a marketer’s perspective ‘Reactions’ offers a significant shift in the amount and type of data extractable from user engagement on Facebook.

Facebook Insights

We (as Digital Marketers) already use Facebook Insights, as well as other more complex analytics tools, to dissect how users engage with a brand via the platform. Mining deeply into data regarding demographics, behaviour and trends as to create and disseminate effective content and campaigns.

So ‘Reactions’ will not only offer a world of even more data, but it could lead to richer, more targeted content for the benefit of a brand and their audience. Each reaction, whether sad, anger, wow, like, haha, or yay, offers another level of how a marketer can latch onto what works and what doesn’t.

The requirement for instant information via imagery has been amplified by the rise of Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat of late, and now it has gone one step further, for us to completely respond through emojis.

This year in particular, we as a digital culture have been attracted to the use of symbols to convey emotion more than ever before. The emoji has clearly become a part of everyday society, as demonstrated by Oxford Dictionaries “Word of the Year” choice for 2015 (it’s an emoji if that wasn’t obviously). For marketers, it is paramount that we must stay in contact with all these changes – from the written word to the image, the image to the video, the video to the emoji, the emoji to the…? What on earth could be next?!

We would love to hear your thoughts as to what you think about the Facebook Reactions… Get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+!

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