While Twitter struggles for its life, Facebook makes a big, smart, and strategic move, and strikes once again! The social media giant recently launched the new Reactions buttons that everyone has been babbling about these past few days. Facebook users can now choose one of six different reactions to a post they see: “Like”, “Love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad”, “Angry”. Everyone knows that Facebook did not develop and launch these buttons simply to entertain its users. So, a lot have asked themselves the following question: What is the aim or the strategic idea behind this new move? In this article, we will discuss the deeper reason behind these friendly smiley faces.
Behind the scenes
With every click users make on Facebook, massive amount of data is collected. But, since the company was already doing this, why did they need to launch this new button? So, with every new emoji click, Facebook will be gathering even more insights and nuanced data.
Well, what we can tell is that there are two main reasons for this. Facebook data scientists analyse the collected data and study human behaviour. Indeed, in 2014, Facebook made an experiment on around 690 thousand users, to study the impact of their News Feed on their mood. In addition to this, all the users’ actions on the social network serve them as information to build and adapt their strategy.
- Data collected through these ‘reactions’ will be used to personalise Facebook active users’ News Feed. People who log in, looking to have a laugh will find funny posts, and others, who prefer informative posts will get those. In the past, the Like button helped the company filter what their users liked, and what they wanted to see more of on their Home page. This is how Facebook’s News Feed algorithm works. This is done so that users do not feel the need to consult any other page to get their daily dose of friends updates.
- Also, it will be used to tailor the ads that appear on the social network pages. This represents an important and valuable analytics tools for Facebook. Having a massive audience, they will now be able to filter and show users ads that they will find interesting and worthy. This is certainly a more effective advertising strategy: touching the right target.
These two reasons have one single objective: Make users happy. Not just because Facebook is a nice and philanthropic company, but behind this, there is obviously a strategy: The more users are happy while using Facebook, the more time they will spend surfing on the social network.
And, logically, the more time they spend browsing at their Friend’s stories, pictures, or looking at some pages they find interesting, the more ads they will see on the left side of their screens. And, of course, the ultimate objective: Facebook is stacking up dollar bills.
What’s in it for brands?
Brands also get their share of advantage with this new invention. But, how is this different from the ‘traditional’ Like button for brands?
The new group of smiley faces represent a new way for customers to show their emotions in regards to a brand’s post. It makes it easier for companies to study their audience’s reactions and feelings towards a content or a sponsored message. Data and insight collection is not the only benefit for companies. Consumer behaviour plays an important role in marketing. Placing a post between two posts that make a user happy is obviously more efficient than posting it between two posts that make him sad or angry. Users mood affect to a large extent whether the ad will have an impact on them or not.
Next time you click on one of these reactions buttons, you will be contributing to Facebook’s research regarding your likes and dislikes. And you will also understand the reason(s) behind the posts’ order you get on your News Feed.