How Will Facebook’s New Emoji Reactions Affect Marketers?

We all know the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but in the age of the internet, we know that this isn’t necessarily advice one always follows.  Refuse to change and you could become Myspace, change too often and you can spark severe outrage, like Twitter has recently. While Facebook is known for changing their looks, they tend to fall on the slow and steady spectrum of making changes. Most recently, they have announced that they are rolling out a new emoji reaction buttons to revamp their “Like” feature. In the next few weeks, not only will you be able to like something, you will get five new reactions: Love, Angry, Sad, Haha, and Wow. These interactive buttons will allow for numerous reactions to a post, rather than a simple like or comment.

What does this mean for the Like button? The “Like” function has become synonymous with the branding of Facebook. According to statistics, the 1.6 billion users on Facebook hit the Like button nearly 6 billion times a day. Well, the like function will still be there. Facebook is just trying to adapt to the new emoji-crazed world that we live in (Let us not forget that an emoji was the Oxford word of the year). These new emojis, or “Reactions,” as Facebook calls them were tested in Ireland and Spain to positive results. The emojis are also interactive, providing a more theatrical and interactive spin to your Facebook thread.

For marketers, this could be a double edge sword. While people don’t necessarily hold back with their comments on Facebook, the new “Reactions” allows content creators to have a greater understanding of what people think of their content. Richard Sim, Facebook’s director of monetization product marketing told Ad Age, “Reactions gives businesses a really crisp way of understanding on a multi-dimensional level how people are feeling about the things that they’re posting.”

Some marketers, however, aren’t as excited about the possible negative ramifications of these buttons. In an interview with AdWeek, Amy Edel-Vaughn, a content developer at EGC group said, “While negative comments can actually help brands open the door to discussions, creating opportunities to offer customer service, clear up misunderstandings and address rumors, a [negative] button would not create the same room for two-way conversations between brands and fans,” she said. Edel-Vaughn brings up an interesting point; with these options, people might just be inclined to leave an emoji, rather than commenting on what they don’t like about the content, which could just elude content creators rather than inform them.

However, the Facebook reactions, combined with Facebook’s already extensive analytics program will provide a lot more information to marketers. Combined with the demographics, reading habits, clicking habits, these emojis will generally give a better idea of the kinds of content that works. There is also something to be said about knowing the difference between content that people love and simply like.

Facebook is an invaluable marketing tool for brands, allowing them to have constant contact with their consumers, as well as their advertising program. Moreover, this feature is also great for a society that is constantly becoming more on-the-go. Rather than taking the time to type out a comment, you can give someone a more real response with these emojis. Moreover, you also don’t have to worry about the awkwardness of “liking” a post that is sad in nature, because we’ve all been there.

Obviously, the internet is full of trolls and these tools may be misused by some, but on the whole, they will provide a larger amount of feedback to content creators and social media managers. Facebook has not exactly specified how these reactions will affect the algorithm that places them in your newsfeed. For instance, if a post is making lots of people angry or sad, will it show up higher on your feed than if it made people happy? We’ll have to wait and see, because these changes aren’t rolling out worldwide for a few weeks.

How do you feel about this change? Happy, Sad, Angry, Love, Wow, or just plain old Like? Let us know on on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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