The Impact of Reaction Emojis for Paid Social

Emojis on Facebook, Reaction Emojis

For several years, speculation and lasting rumors ran rampant that Facebook was testing and planning to add a “DISLIKE” button to posts, persuaded in part by users pushing Facebook to implement a means of expressing disagreement and/or discontent. With those rumors came the belief among marketers that such a change would have a huge negative impact on paid Facebook advertising and branding efforts. On February 24th, Facebook announced their solution with the new Reactions Emojis on Facebook. As an extension of the “Like” button, users can now interact with posts by selecting one of five other options: “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Angry”, or “Sad”.  With this move, not only has Facebook garnered praise from its users, it has also given marketers a huge win by allowing for even more granular insight into user behavior and what types of content they prefer to see and interact with.

As many marketers know, Facebook is constantly changing its algorithm, but here are a few of our initial reactions (pun intended) and Katana’s suggestions for how to move forward with these new changes: Since it’s still early in the game, Facebook is not 100% settled on how each reaction is weighted in the algorithm.  For example, a “Love” action counts the same as an “Angry” reaction.  Additionally, an “Angry” reaction might not necessarily mean that the user is disagreeing or directing the intent towards the poster’s opinion, but more towards the content in the story/ad and vice versa.  For marketers, this means that all reactions, regardless of user intent, count positively towards the engagement metrics that Facebook Insights will report on each post.  In addition, it is projected that the volume of comments will drop as users instead opt to direct their opinions towards reactions.  

So what does this change mean for marketers?

Quality of content remains paramount:  The amount of insight that can be gained from the specific actions users take when selecting one of the “Reactions” emojis allows marketers to glean more information than ever before on user intent and behavior.  Make sure you and your content team have established engagement benchmarks moving forward. Use that information to craft campaigns and directed messaging towards users who’ve taken action with specific reactions.

Direct fans to take specific actions on posts:  We’ve already seen brands like Chevrolet quickly jump at the opportunity to craft their copy around reactions, which only helps to boost overall engagement rates to pages.

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TEST, TEST, TEST:  As is customary, Facebook will continue to optimize their algorithm to include these new changes.  We anticipate that it will only be a matter of time before negative reactions are weighted negatively to pages’ engagement scores.  Testing out reactions against specific branded copy and creative is therefore of the utmost importance. You and your brand need to be able to accurately assess how your users interact with the content produced and make any changes quickly, before the Facebook algorithm potentially penalizes the use of certain emojis.