Wow! Yay! Haha! Facebook’s emoji ‘Reactions’ coming soon…

February 1, 2016

Emoji are symptomatic of the rise of mobile, and now their presence is set to rise even further, thanks to Facebook’s recent developments.

The social media giant has decided to incorporate emoji as a means to allow users to respond more accurately to the posts in their timeline, according to an article I read on Mashable. ‘Reactions’, as Facebook calls them, come in the form of six emoji with the following sentiments: angry, sad, wow, haha, yay and love.

Facebook had toyed with the idea of a ‘dislike’ button, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg felt that the option gave off too much negativity; it also wouldn’t do a sad piece of content any justice. Reactions, on the other hand, add "a little bit of complexity" to something that is very simple, explained Zuckerberg.

After successful trials in Spain, Ireland and a few other places, Zuckerberg confirmed last week that Reactions will be rolled out everywhere "pretty soon", which might just act as the nudge some businesses need to ensure they are building mobile into their marketing campaigns in 2016.

While Reactions are clearly being implemented for the user’s sake, it will be interesting to see what businesses read into the data that these interactions will inevitably provide.

The challenge will be to analyse the correlation between emoji sentiment and subsequent  interactions. It could possibly add an extra dimension to the current ‘like’ measure of engagement. This new feature from Facebook also has similarities with the facial recognition software from CrowdEmotion, which is being trialled by the BBC to measure audience reaction to content. So I’ve no doubt that implicit emotional response is going to become a talked-about industry buzzword  very quickly, once this data becomes available to us.

The big question will be whether anyone can provide clear and robust insight into the connection between implicit emotional reaction and buying intent. If not, then I fear that we will be deluged with funky looking graphs showing how our content got 60% smiley faces, yays and loves. All very lovely and fun, I’m sure, but at the end of the day, unless there’s a connection to some sort of ROI, then we’ll just be adding to the tidal wave of meaningless data in our daily lives.

Kevin Mason - Director