Anyone who has opened Facebook recently may have noticed some new symbols in the News Feed. By hovering over the iconic Like button, U.S. Facebook users are now able to use a new set of Facebook Reactions to engage with content in a whole new way. Expanding beyond Likes, users can now react by selecting an emoji representing Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry.
In a blog post announcing the new Reactions, Facebook Product Manager Sammi Krug wrote that Reactions are intended to allow users to share how they are feeling about the content in their News Feed. Facebook’s choice in the new Reactions may seem arbitrary, but the company says it has been conducting global research over the last year and has selected symbols to best represent universal reactions. Since October, Facebook reduced the number of Reactions in use, removing Yay from the final list rolled out to U.S. users.
What Does This Mean for FACEBOOK Pages?
For brands, publishers, and marketers, Reactions supply a whole new set of qualitative data points to gauge content performance. For instance, looking at the ratio of Likes to Loves could provide context into just how strongly fans feel about a piece of content.
From a measurement standpoint, Facebook has already transitioned the classification of Reactions in the Page Insights tab, however post data exports continue to classify the engagements as Likes. Whether the Reactions will be separated in data exports is unclear at this point. On one hand, it would be simpler to group Reactions together, completely replacing the Like category of engagement and keeping the data point unspecified. On the other hand, breaking out each Reaction type would allow social managers to easily report on each metric separately and compare by post.
How Will This Affect FACEBOOK Page Posts?
Though Facebook has not confirmed whether or not its News Feed algorithm will be weighing Reactions differently, the addition of new engagement types could benefit reach and total interactions on brand posts. Fortunately, it does not appear that the use of Sad or Angry Reactions will negatively affect ranking in the same way Facebook incorporates Negative Feedback.
From a paid media standpoint, amplified and dark posts optimizing for engagement might see an increase in performance and lower cost-per-engagement results with Reactions as users will be able to share a wider range of engagement with an extra click.
Finally, community managers will now have an expanded engagement metric to help gauge and report on sentiment at a high level. For example, a post promoting a new product that earns a high number of Sad or Angry Reactions along with comments could tip off a brand’s sales team to possible dissatisfaction with the product.
Nina Hale, Inc. is excited to see if Facebook users embrace the new Reactions. The six emojis could standardize our current Internet vocabulary, just as the Like button has done over the last decade. If nothing else, Reactions will help to solve the all-too-common dilemma of engaging with a status update about a controversial subject.
All photos courtesy of Facebook Newsroom.