Facebook Reaction : Risks and Opportunities for Brands

It’s the trending update from these last weeks. Once more Facebook gets all the attention –See first reactions from brands ! Gadget or revolutionary engagement feature on Mark Zuckerberg’s platform ? Analysis of the opportunities and risks for brands.

The evolution Facebook proposes is simple : enhance the “like” button, by offering 5 more actions: « like» , « love » , « ahah », « wow »« sad » and « angry » !

Since the “like” appeared, accompanied with his famous blue thump up, in february 2009 , no content interaction modification had occurred.

After some testing, the launch has been officially announced on Facebook’s blog :

«We’ve been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in News Feed makes you feel. That’s why today we are launching Reactions, an extension of the Like button, to give you more ways to share your reaction to a post in a quick and easy way.»

This evolution appears some times after moods were added to publications, they allow to associate a mood or feeling to your satus. The aim is clear : encourage users to interact more, and qualify more precisely this interaction.

An upgrade that benefits from the Emoji tsunami

Year 2015 was the one when emojis utilisation exploded on social networks.

In publications, comments or  personal message, you can’t have avoided those yellow faces. Brand content included !

An increasing number of comments was composed of emojis only. We easily get Facebook’s wish to appropriate and facilitate this usage.

The action of “liking” wasn’t complete enough

The revolution coming from the “like” was that you could share your interest for something. Without having to leave a comment ! Yet it is clear that the feeling implied in linking something didn’t always match the one you wanted to express.

facebook-likeTwo consequences: user hesitated to “like” content that had a sad undertone or were more likely to generate empathy.  The second is that many motivations could lead to the same result, a like could signify interest, genuine laughing or irony.

Impossible then to distinguish the nature of that like. The new feature from Facebook identifies this nature.

What risks for brands ?

On the brand side, rules have been totally changed: we escape a way of communication where comments could be deleted but not likes. Who could chose to only keep positive interactions.

instagram iconFacebook reactions are similar to the “like”: they cannot be deleted.

This change will impose quality content publications to brands – an embarrassing campaign being spammed with “angry” or “ahah” is a likely scenario !

The count of the three most shared reactions is shown where the like count was.

The group effect is likely to play a big role: You couldn’t know what effect a content had on its audience before watching it yourself. You will now know which impression it leaved and in what proportions.

Chevrolet was the quickest to react to the feature launch.


We can note that other interactions than “liking” had to be developed in a comment. The fan had to write his thoughts.

Reactions can replace some comments, but also lose the accuracy of a written text. You’ll just know if you entertained amused or surprised your audience. There is a risk that comments number decreases.

Quality engagement : an opportunity for brands

Brands should be happy about this evolution !

This innovation should increase interactions , because they will match more the actual feeling toward a content.

The biggest lever of progress is the possibility to analyse the undertone of these engagementfacebook-reactions-love-like All influent actors of social media are analysing precisely their impact. This qualification of engagement and the different reactions available could lead to more elaborated than the simple run for likes strategies. The apparition of new markers of interest will encourage producing innovating content, looking for one specific reaction, instead of the like.   


With Reactions, Facebook wants to stay leader of social media

Finally you have to consider one point, Facebook is innovating again. An interesting bet would be, when will the other follow. Almost every social network owns a “liking” system, inspired on the Facebook one. Facebook’s will is to refresh the usage of the platform and offer a richer social experience ,in order to stay on top of the social media ecosystem.

More than a ephemeral highlight, it’s a fresh wave of interactions that Facebook gets, every new functionality creating the will to be tested.

If you are still not convinced, here is this diversion (already !) mixing Facebook Reactions with a famous meme !


Have you tried to engage your fans specificaly on reactions. Answer in comments !


Sources : Blog du modérateurAdweek, StrategiqmarketingMumbrella.com, Techinsider.io, , slate.fr



About the author

Constant Douvreleur

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