The world is finally getting a dislike button for facebook. According to Mark Zuckerberg the masses have been clambering for it and he has finally granted everyone – from the millennials to the silver surfers – their wish.

In September, Zuckerberg announced to the world that his minions were working on a dislike button for facebook and that they were very close to shipping a pilot of it.

Zuckerberg said,“Not every moment is a good moment. If you share something that’s sad, like a refugee crisis that touches you or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post”… and he also added …“I do think it’s important to give people more options than Liking”

Reactions: A Dislike Button for facebook

Then in October, facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox announced the start of that pilot, testing something called Reactions- a more expressive Like button.

The video in Cox’s post shows exactly what Reactions currently looks like. It basically adds six emojis to the Like button, so that the user can quickly express a more appropriate response, rather than just the traditional Like or comment.

Aside from the superficiality of being able to express a range of complex emotions via emojis, it’s marketers throughout the world who will feel the affect most. From the video alone, it’s clear that Reactions is much more than just a dislike button for facebook.

A Quest for Better Data

Zuckerberg claims that the reason a dislike button for facebook is being introduced, is due to public demand. But, it’s also an excellent opportunity for facebook to expand and refine its (already) comprehensive data. This doesn’t just benefit facebook though, in turn, marketers across the world will also reap the rewards.

The reason behind facebook Ads’ success, is arguably due to its data mining and it’s this that has enabled marketers to create successful adverts that have rewarded significant ROI.

By refining the Like function so that it incorporates these six emojis, means facebook can create more accurate user profiles and thus, enable marketers to create even more successful ads.

a dislike button for facebook - facebook reactions

Insights and the Value of Data

The first thing Reactions will affect is your analytics, whether you’re utilising Ads or not. Chris Tosswill referred to this in a post clearly aimed at reassuring marketers in Ireland and Spain, where Reactions is being piloted.

We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook. During this test, Page owners will be able to see Reactions to all of their posts on Page insights. Reactions will have the same impact on ad delivery as Likes do.

It’s that last sentence that bears significance. What facebook are telling us is that for the moment – and in likelihood when they launch globally – Reactions will measure each emoji, as a Like.

Therefore it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Like metric renamed. That way it could break down each of the responses, but all within the parameters of one thing. That would also make sense from a financial stand point, because nobody wants to pay for negative responses. And arguably, this is the main reason why Zuckerberg and co. have not simply opted for a dislike button for facebook.

By introducing these emojis, facebook can further refine the data it collects and just as importantly – in their application – these ‘Reactions’ will have marketable value. Do not forget, facebook is publicly traded and clearly Mark Zuckerberg understands the financial value of your data.

The Newsfeed and Beyond

The real question that Unwritten wants answered is what affect will these emjois have on our digital marketing strategies? We know that during the pilot the use of an emoji will result in what is essentially a Like, but in all likelihood that could change.

What if, instead of unfollowing a page or requesting to see less of something, facebook determines what users are shown, depending upon the emoji that they click? Could clicking the angry emoji on a post, result in the user seeing less of that in their newsfeed? And of course, expressing anger at something could just as conceivably mean expressing solidarity about an atrocity being highlighted in a human rights campaign.

These are just a few questions thrown up by Reactions and we won’t know the answers until it’s rolled-out, most likely next year now. But whatever happens, it will be determined by facebook’s pilot and how Zuckerberg and co. choose to evolve its algorithm.

It’s an exciting time to be working in social media marketing, few of us ever thought we would see a dislike button for facebook, but Reactions is on its way.

As always, the future is unwritten.

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