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Reactions to Facebook Reactions

3rd March 2016

When Facebook announced that they were planning on bringing reactions to its platform, the initial sentiment was somewhat mixed, it seemed many just wanted a dislike button vs a range of emotions.

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Over the past week, brands have jumped on the launch and started to use the new icons, as well as users getting familiar with seeing these emoji faces on the newsfeed. So, what has been the reaction? A quick search on *cough* rival platform Twitter sheds some interesting light.

And poignantly put, how do we and should we as brands and agencies start measuring these little faces?

At present the platform treats a reaction the same as a like. For instance, if a user clicks love and then angry, they hold the same weight and Facebook then categorises that content as something the user wants to see more of. If all reactions are equal, then why have them in the first place? We believe that there is some way to go before we see data and insight that will present the true meaning of these reactions.

In the short term, could we see higher engagement with posts than before due to the range of reactions now available? And will this higher engagement really signal that users are more engaged with the content? Or will the angry face become the surrogate dislike button?

Social KPIs and stats are about to get slammed and we will see a skew in data over the coming months, so if you measure engagement (like you should), be prepared to see a load of anomalies before this settles down and we truly understand what this new user feedback means. Also, expect the inevitable Facebook newsfeed algorithm update, which will no doubt change the rules again for organic and paid content alike.

On the flipside, change is good and it will help brands and agencies be creative once again in how the platform is used to engage with audiences. Whilst measurement and genuine understanding takes time to catch up, as always it will, we’ll start seeing creativity returning to the platform from a brand and marketing perspective.