Reacting to the new Facebook reactions.

As you may have seen, the good ol’ blue thumbs-up is old news with the global launch of emoji reactions on Facebook. Instead of just liking a post, you can now tell your friends, coworkers, and family members how you really feel. But more importantly, you’ll be sharing a whole range of emotions with advertisers (you know, people like us at Crowley Webb). And we can’t wait to find out what’s in your heart.

As a social media professional, my first reaction to the new reactions was data, data, data. Reactions offer a wider palette of emotions to put on public display. Consumers now have a way to register emotions instantly, which takes out some of the guesswork on our end. Instead of just wondering what’s behind a “like,” we’ll know.

Currently Facebook says it will be treating all reactions, from “wows” to “loves” to “sads,” in the same manner. So if you “sad” an ad, the News Feed algorithm will see it the same way as a “like,” and so will advertisers. Facebook’s universal categorization of reactions as general engagement with consumers could, however, pose a problem.

For instance, if you “mad” an article about workplace discrimination, you aren’t necessarily mad at the author for writing it but instead could be mad that discrimination still occurs in our society. The “mad” reaction doesn’t mean you don’t want to see future articles from this source or articles related to this topic. Additionally, your “sads” toward friends and your “sads” toward ads could mean totally different things. Facebook hopes to learn how each emotional reaction should be weighted differently, which could affect the ads you see in a more complex way.

Ultimately, social media is about eliciting immediate feedback from consumers for advertisers. The more we can get an accurate read on how the public really feels, the better. So we don’t just  the new Facebook reactions, we  them.

P.S. We called it.