If you're on Facebook (and lets be honest, you are) you've surely noticed by now the new Facebook Reactions feature. Rather than being simply limited to the now iconic "Like", Facebook now lets you engage with a post by reacting in one of six ways: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Angry.
For the longest time, users have been begging for a dislike button. Being limited to only liking and commenting on a post made for some awkward engagements.
For example, if your friend shared a post about the recent death of a family member, liking that post would seem pretty inappropriate. The only other way to acknowledge your friend's loss would be to comment on the post with, you know, words.
Facebook knows that those words take time and, as awful as it sounds, our attention spans shrink more each day and users wanted a faster way to share their negative feelings towards something.
They also know that adding a simple "dislike" button would be bad for their customers, the brands and businesses that pay them billions for ads to pop up in your feed, as negative engagement on those ads would no doubt increase.
Because everyone "dislikes" ads.
Reactions is Facebook's answer to this problem and, as a business owner, it is something to be excited about. Why?
Increased customer feedback
Our friends at iQmetrix detailed this one perfectly:
Does a customer “love” your new dress? Does the slogan for your new campaign upset your audience? Gaining these specific types of feedback will be extremely beneficial to retailers when making decisions on future items. Instead of only being able to judge the people who liked a post, retailers will now be able to gain both negative and positive feedback to help inform any future product/post decisions that they make. These new reactions will allow retailers to be able to tell on a multi-dimensional level how their customers are feeling.
More accurate targeted advertising
The Observer made a great observation about this:
It’s important to remember that Facebook sells ads. and like Google before it, it offers advertisers the ability to laser-target their products with a massive wealth of data about the people they’re selling to. Facebook’s goal, then, is to paint as accurate a picture of you as a virtual and real human being as possible. In that sense, the like button was a major problem: people used it to say everything from “how cute” to “I agree” to “congratulations” or “I’m sorry.” That gets to be a problem when you’re trying to analyze data from over 1 billion users.
With all of the great potential Reactions bring to businesses on Facebook, there are definitely some concerns.
It makes things complicated
Aurora makes a good point about the increased complication for Facebook's users:
LIKE was just one click, while this requires users to press or hover, and then go through a difficult decision of matching a nuanced emotion to an admittedly limited set of icons. All this while hiding behind the default LIKE button, meaning that many users might not even discover or use this feature at all. Nobody likes more work when they are browsing Facebook.
It's very likely that Facebook will make this feature much simpler to use in the future. As it currently stands, it is hardly intuitive.
But this is just the beginning for Facebook's new feature. Time will tell whether it will be a useful asset for business owners and marketers, or just another misguided attempt to gain more data from users.
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