Skip to main content
March 31, 2016

Facebook® Reactions

Much more than emojis

Facebook Reactions are here, and they may be a game changer for businesses advertising on the popular platform. With more descriptive ways to respond to posts, advertisers can get a better look at how their campaigns are being received.

Reasons for Reactions

Facebook started searching for alternatives to its ‘like’ button when users’ feedback suggested a dislike button. While Facebook understood that the ‘like’ button wasn’t always the most appropriate response to a variety of posts, it was hesitant to create a dislike button. Facebook wanted its users to have a safe place for sharing, and feared that a dislike button would discourage people from posting, or worse, enable cyber bullying.

In an effort to address users’ requests for a ‘like’ alternative, Facebook started to research its users’ one-word responses in the comments section. From there they narrowed down the list to the 6 ‘reactions’: Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry.1

Facebook Reactions

Increased Expression = Decreased Conversation

This ‘like’ button extension allows users to respond to posts quickly and easily in emoji form.  However, the ease of this new function may have some drawbacks. Emoji’s are more expressive than the traditional ‘like’ button, making users less likely to make any further comments on the post. For example, when a user reacts with the ‘Hahah’ emoji he or she feels no need to comment that the post was funny. While reactions are great, comments can go further in increasing a page’s visibility, and starting a conversation with customers.2

Impact on Insights

The good news is, however, that business users will also see some great benefits to the new ‘reactions,’ including enhanced Facebook Insights. Facebook’s own activity tracker, Insights, will now show a count of each ‘reaction’ for every post, giving page managers more data than ever before. The data will allow businesses to further tailor their Facebook posts to their audience, granting them the opportunity for increased sales and enquiries.3

Improved Advertising Targeting

For any advertising campaign to be successful, advertisers need to determine how their ad was perceived. The new Facebook ‘reactions’ will allow advertisers to determine exactly that. This increased spectrum of emotion can help advertisers get an inside look at how the audience perceived their ad beyond a simple ‘like.’

It’s possible that Facebook will allow advertisers to take this one step further by allowing them to parcel out the users who reacted ‘sad’ or ‘angry’ to offer more directed targeting. For example, ‘If an automobile [brand] puts out a post to affluent millennials, and half of them really ‘love’ the post, putting up the ‘wow’ emoji, and half put an ‘angry’ or ‘sad’ emoji, that’s really interesting,’ says Matt Lang, a senior social media strategist at digital agency RAIN. The advertiser could then say to Facebook, ‘Let’s exclude those who used an ‘angry’ or ‘sad’ reaction and include those who used ‘love’ in the next ad campaign,’ Lang imagines.’4 This functionality would allow advertisers to customize their audience beyond basic demographic data to make the most of their advertising dollars.

Customizing the News Feed

Currently Facebook’s page-ranking algorithm considers each ‘reaction’ with the same value as a ‘like.’ But Facebook product manager Sammi Krug says, ‘over time we hope to learn how the different Reactions should be weighted differently by News Feed to do a better job of showing everyone the stories they most want to see.’4

It’s currently unclear how Facebook plans to integrate this new weighted system but it’s obvious that these new ‘reactions’ are more than just emojis.






[4] Ibid