What Do Marketers Think About Facebook’s Reaction Button

Facebook recently launched a set of emoticons called Reactions. Lighthouse Insights spoke to industry experts to understand what Reactions mean for brands


Facebook has completely rested the case of bringing in a Dislike button with the latest announcement of Reactions. Facebook is now testing six emoji-based buttons in Ireland and Spain that give users the option to express sentiments other than like. The new possibilities—which appear alongside the Like button—include “love,” “haha,” “yay,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry.”

Earlier at the launch of Reactions, Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, explained in a Facebook post, “As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly. We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun.”

Speaking to Bloomberg on the science behind the set of emoji, Adam Mosseri, the head of Facebook’s news feed told his team decided that the ability to “dislike” posts would bring too much negative energy to a social network.

Besides to choose the right emoji to join “like,” Adam said Facebook consulted with several academic sociologists about the range of human emotion. “The goal was to reduce the need for people to post a comment to express them. We wanted to make it easier,” he said. “When things are easier to do, they reach more people, and more people engage with them.”

The emoji options will appear across mobile and desktop versions of Facebook on posts from friends, Pages or advertisers. People pressing or hovering over the Like button will be presented with the emoji options. There will be no option to turn off the feature on posts. However, Facebook hasn’t shared a time frame for a global roll out.

Will the new change impact the News Feed? From a Facebook point it will. “Our goal is to show you the stories that matter most to you in News Feed. Initially, just as we do when someone likes a post, if someone uses a Reaction, we will infer they want to see more of that type of post,” said Facebook product manager Chris Toss.

To understand the impact the new change will bring for brands, Lighthouse Insights spoke to a few industry experts and here is what they have to say:

Chaaya Baradhwaaj, Founder & MD, BC Web Wise

For brands and content creators, Reactions will help in reacting to sentiments displayed by the consumers. The ‘Like’ button wasn’t enough to accurately measure what the audience feels about wide variety of content that’s churned out by brands, the new forms of expression through six additional emojis seems to be the answer.

For instance, recently there was a series of macro-photography posts by Asus India called ‘See Ganesha’, showing sprouts that appear like the deity. The comments section was flooded with ‘Wows’, expressing that very emotion is simpler and analytics friendly now. Be it a ‘Love’ reaction or an angry one, brands will be able to strategize and craft content keeping the sentiments in mind.”

Rohan Mehta, CEO, Social Kinnect

Facebook reactions will definitely change the lives of users, brands and agencies alike. It will impact content and analytics the most. Content creators will now be evaluated by ‘sad’ and ‘anger’ as possible reactions. This will make the task of writers much more challenging. Brands and agencies will have to brave up to brutal responses to their content and therefore improvise. A brute force media push may ensure visibility, but it may backfire if the users don’t find the content relevant.

Analytics divisions of companies will have to put more emphasis on ‘sentiment’ analysis on social. A correlation between reaction emojis and the reach of a brand page post will be interesting to see in the near future. We will see some of us fail before we see cases of glorious success.

Overall, it’s going to push the industry to their creative limits. Newsfeed visibility via media strategies will have to give a huge importance to the creative communication.

Preetham Venkky, Head of Digital Strategy & Business – KRDS Asia

Facebook Reactions is another layer of customization for the user, not just from an interaction point but also from a consumption point. This is going to be useful for Facebook as well as for the user, considering that Facebook has one more signal to serve content depending on user taste. For instance, if a user loves a humorous video, depending on the emoticons one has selected over a period, Facebook will give more preference to humorous content on their News Feed. In other words it is emotion linked content mapped to user emotions at that point of time.

Brands might not get much from this update but for Facebook this is huge. As of now Facebook is struggling to understand the mood for a link based article or videos shared on its platform. Videos being the big thing for Facebook right now, the latest feature not only helps Facebook to understand user mood at a specific time in a day for such posts but it also makes the News Feed more intelligent.