The new Facebook “reaction” buttons are here. Instead of simply “liking” a post, one can choose from a range of emotions in the form of emojis. Facebook users now have a completely new way to engage with everyone on the platform; from friends and family to brands and politicians.
Consumers can now help corporations better understand their feelings about certain products. The various reactions may also drive user engagement and change the way Facebook users interact with brands altogether. Though Zuckerberg purposely chose not to include a dislike button, people may choose to use the new “angry” or “sad” reaction as opposed to a negative comment when responding to brands. We will have to wait and see whether these positive or negative “reactions” will change consumers’ purchasing habits.
The newly released Facebook “reactions” present a good opportunity for political candidates to see how certain messages perform among their Facebook audience. It is possible politicians may be able to use the new feature as a way to gauge audience sentiment and continuously rework their messaging. At this point it is tough to know whether campaigns would invest energy into “reactions” since further analytics have not been made available. Though reactions probably will not replace the expensive ad and message testing candidates pay for, it becomes yet another way to refine a campaign and makes social media platforms even more vital for campaigns to use.
According to Facebook engineering director Tom Alison in an interview with Buzzfeed News, each reaction will be counted in the same way the Facebook algorithm had already been counting likes, though this could change in the future. Alison also indicated that, at the moment, Facebook does not plan on offering ad targeting based on how people react to posts; however, when Facebook and other digital analytics tools that measure sentiment adapt to the update, knowing what reactions are commonly used by an individual will eventually be valuable information to advertisers.
Within the world of digital communications, Facebook’s new rollout provides a lot for us to think about. We have a new way to help clients relay and tailor their messages, and we are excited to see how “reactions” will impact brands, organizations and this year’s elections cycle in the upcoming months!