1 March, 2016
You’ll have noticed a new set of ‘Reactions’ buttons on Facebook. An extension of the ‘Like’ button, you can now choose from a range of emojis to show how you feel about a post. You can add a reaction by hovering over the Like button on a PC or by holding it down on a mobile, and then clicking on either Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry.
Reactions will initially work in the same way as a Like – they’ll carry the same weight (loving something won’t mean more than liking it) and by ‘Reacting’ to something, Facebook will infer that users want to more see more of that type of content. Facebook has said this weighting will change over time, as they gather data and develop their understanding of what people want to see, since, clearly, being sad or angry about something doesn’t necessarily mean people want to see more of that in their newsfeed.
This is a potentially exciting development for charities, which often employ emotive and moving content, meaning users may be reluctant to ‘like’ a story highlighting the negative impact of a disease, for example. The fact that people can now express a wider range of emotions will help give a more accurate reflection and nuanced understanding of their reactions – which can be monitored and used to inform future content and campaigns.
It will be easier to see whether people are reacting in the way we want or expect them to, and to analyse which type of content gets which particular reaction. So if, for example, a positive post gets a large number of angry responses, you’re either doing something wrong or reaching the wrong people – and it’s possible that in future Facebook might let you select your ad audience based on different Reactions.
This latest development will hopefully lead to increased engagement amongst Facebook users, but let us know what you think and how it might change what you do.