Warning: things are about to become a lot more emotional.
Facebook have debuted the release of “Love,” “Sad,” “Haha,” “Wow" and “Angry” reaction buttons; the five new animated ways to communicate on the world’s most popular social networking site.
Following a five-month test that began in the Irish and Spanish markets, the Reactions have awakened a new life into the way consumers express their emotions on the internet. Users now have more opportunities to declare their feelings - be it positive or quite the contrary - about posts from friends, brands, publishers and advertisers.
If you’re a brand, this could undoubtedly bring forth the promise of greater engagement. Yet, in contrast, this proclamation of feelings can completely steer away from the safety of consumers only being able to complain, for example, through comments (which can then be easily deleted). Consequently, there’s now a greater environment in which ‘unsafe’ freewill is the foundation, where anyone can express their opinion with a simple ‘hover and click’. It’s different, but is change always a good thing?
"I think the first reaction we would expect is nervousness, because, ‘Oh my gosh, now there are going to be ways for people to respond multi-dimensionally with the things that I'm posting,’" said Richard Sim, director of monetization for ad interfaces and News Feed ads at Facebook. "I think that's a very natural reaction, but as a business, I ultimately want to know how people think about the things that I'm saying."
How does it work?
Simply hover over the ‘like’ button and a new, emotionally-advanced list of icons will appear (or press and hold on mobile). As well as ‘likes’, Facebook will now list the total number of each reaction and all-in-all create a more sensitive terrain for social networking - a huge development from the condemned ‘dislike’ button that hit our screens last September.
What does this mean for data-driven marketing?
Absent-minded-scrolling has stemmed many a complaint with regards to receiving feedback (also known as ‘likes’). In its superior opposition, the new Facebook Reactions mean that the consumer will experience a short pause when choosing an active selection, which ultimately creates a more informed decision where information will have more time to sink in.
"It's a really good way for people to get a high-fidelity signal on how people are feeling about the things that they're posting," said Sim. "For a business, it's great because it will enable us to just do a much better job getting their content to the right people based on this additional signal that we have."
This means users can evolve with better targeting, expansive content and a more suitable range of emotions for all types of posts.