Around September last year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was trying to make the like button more empathetic. Since February 24th, 2016, Facebook users around the globe can ‘react’ to posts in their news feed rather than just like’ them. Reactions involve emoji icons for love, laughter, shock, sadness, happiness or anger.
Facebook first rolled out the feature across Spanish and Irish markets (as they have less international friend networks) before launching it all over the world. This was confirmed When news about Facebook filing a new patent about emojis broke out.
Earlier, there were only three options for a user to respond to a post: the “like”, “comment” and “share” buttons. However, users wearing increasingly raising concerns that the like button alone was insufficient to express their feelings for, if it’s a negative post for example.
The new ‘Reactions’ have an array of emotions that users can use to respond to posts. Mobile users also faced difficulties in typing out responses for posts. Now instead of just ignoring the post, an appropriate emoticon can be used. Facebook also expects that this will increase engagement among mobile facebook users.
A Milestone Change in the History of Facebook
From an internet marketing and user engagement POV, this change will create waves. Brands usually look at engagement rates just on the basis of likes, shares and comments. This is, to an extent, a blunt metric, as negative engagement, if not substantial, is hardly measured. Users can now convey actual emotions and feedback to brands that market on Facebook, and brands can measure user engagement and response at a much deeper level now.The real thoughts and feelings can be expressed in a much better way now with Reactions.
According to Forrester research, the average brand delivers 7 positive experiences for every negative one. Their study reveals that it is essential to measure emotional responses to content rather than just impressions, likes, comments and clicks. The Walt Disney Co. is among brands that pay attention to emotional responses to all forms of content marketing.
But there is a concern that emojis may lead the way to less engagement with content. Having a suitable emoji would cause them to respond more, and comment less. Often text-based comments are how brands start conversations and gauge user feedback.
Here’s what some of the social media biggies in our space said about the new feature:
— Larry Kim (@larrykim) February 24, 2016
— Marketing Land (@Marketingland) February 24, 2016
Our Internet Marketing Director Steve received a notification early morning yesterday his mom had ‘reacted’ to her granddaughter’s photo
This is how a notification for an emoji interaction looks like. The once ‘liked’ your photo will from now on be ‘reacted’ to your photo.
Using Coveted Emojis
Mobile users just need to hold down on the like button to access the popup with all six emojis. Desktop users can hover over the like button to access emojis.
For now, all emoji uses will be tracked and logged as usual likes in Ad Manager. In the coming days, Facebook might roll out additional analytics to distinguish and track usage of different emojis.
How this great new feature changes facebook usage remains to be seen.