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Reactions have arrived

Last fall, Facebook began testing a new feature called “Reactions” – the social platform’s answer to a call for moving beyond the Like button – because let’s face it, we don’t actually like everything we Like. Last week, that feature went live globally, and we now have five new Reactions in addition to Like.

reactions

In a previous post, when Facebook was still in its test phase, we reflected on why Reactions matter and the potential impact for page managers. While Facebook has ditched “Yay,” the same opportunities and challenges exist for Page managers.

For those who manage Facebook Pages, Reactions will offer greater insight into what your audience is thinking when they read your post, but the challenge will lie in determining how to adjust your content accordingly.

For example, what if a post generates a lot of reactions, but those reactions are Wow or Angry? Does Angry that mean your audience is upset with you or with your content? If your post is calling attention to a lack of legislative support for an initiative you support are those who engage with your content angry with you, or with their legislators for not taking action? In the political arena, does Wow mean “Wow, this is great, I agree!” or “Wow, this is insane, how could someone say that?!”

There has always been a certain degree of nuance in understanding what engagement really means on social media. As we collectively explore and experience Reactions, we’ll have to do more of our own analysis to understand the multitude of Reactions and what those Reactions mean to our followers. For now, Facebook is not using an analysis of Reactions to drive changes to the News Feed or advertising. All Reactions will be treated the same as Likes, meaning Facebook will infer that when you React to a post, you want to see more of that type of content (same as a Like), and Reactions will have the same impact on ad delivery as Likes.

However, over time, Reactions are likely to change the way content is prioritized in the News Feed, and the kind of data that will be available to Page advertisers.  Ultimately, all of these Reactions will mean we have greater insight into what consumers want, and be able to create content and ads that resonate even better.

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