The social media giant hopes you'll 'Like' these 'Like' alternatives.
We’ve all been there; scrolling through Facebook when we see that a colleague’s dog is sick or a friend just lost her job. In situations like these, you may want to show your support, but hitting the “Like” button just doesn’t seem right. What’s a Facebook friend to do?
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced in September that he was working on developing something to work alongside the "Like" button that would be a more appropriate option for users to show support, share condolences and demonstrate sympathy. Despite Zuckerberg’s effort to avoid it, rumors began to swell about a "Dislike" button, which could have actually become a catalyst to an entirely new set of problems.
As Zuckerberg put it, “...we didn’t want to just build a dislike button because, you know, we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts. Right? That doesn’t seem like the kind of community that we want to create. I mean, you don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that was important to you in your day and then have someone downvote it. That isn’t what we’re here to build in the world.”
Makes sense. Well, then, what’s the answer?
Thankfully, Facebook has come up with a solution that just might work: Reactions. The social media giant plans to roll-out a line of seven emojis that will help users demonstrate these more difficult emotions and feelings of support in negative situations. These emojis are designed to represent “Like”, “Love”, “Laughter”, “Yay”, “Wow”, “Sad” and “Angry”. Facebook has called Reactions a “more expressive Like button”.
“Your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you...So I do think that it’s important to give people more options than just ‘Like’ as a quick way to emote and share what they’re feeling on a post, so we’ve been working on this for awhile,” said Zuckerberg. “It’s surprisingly complicated to make an interaction that you want to be that simple.”
The emojis were rolled out for testing in Spain and Ireland on October 8. Why these markets? Good question. In an interview with TechCrunch, Facebook's Director of Product, Adam Mosseri, said they were chosen because users in both of these countries do not typically tend to have many international Facebook connections, making them good samples for testing the new features. Additionally, Mosseri said Spain is a great place to test how non-English speakers will respond to the emoji designs. If all goes well, it won't be long before we see Reactions here in the U.S.
But what does this mean for digital marketers? Will we be able to track the Reactions that our posts or pages generate? Currently, the number of "Likes" a post or page brings in are critical measures of their success, not to mention an important part of our overall social media and digital marketing metrics.
According to Mosseri, all the new reactions will be reported as "Likes" in Insights and in Facebook's Ad Manager. However, each Reactions emoji will eventually be recorded separately in Facebook's analytics dashboard.
While this adds some complexity for marketers, and probably some confusion early on, Facebook’s Reactions could become an incredibly powerful set of metrics. Think about it; right now, all social media tells us is whether or not individuals engage with a post. It’s all very black and white. We see if they did or did not click. If they did or did not share. If they did or did not comment. But Reactions will tell us how they FEEL about our posts.
This could be groundbreaking, folks. But it might be too early to speculate about that just yet. For now, just think about the possibilities in metrics that not only tell us what our audience did, but how they feel.
What do you think about Facebook’s Reactions? Do you “Like” them? What emoji would you use to describe your response?