Brand marketers do it all the time, and now Facebook are following suit. Tapping into consumers’ emotions is one of those tricks of the trade that any brand manager or marketer worth their salt will tell you enables them to fine tune what their target audience really want.
Facebook too are recognizing the power of emotion, and have recently announced yet another update of their News Feed algorithm, this time focusing on our use of their popular Facebook 'reactions'.
Facebookers have had about 12 months to familiarize themselves with 5 very appealing emoji-style icons, using them to react to articles, photos, videos and updates.
By prioritizing Facebook reactions over the now famous 'likes' Facebook have acknowledged that our emotional reactions are key. When they first unveiled reactions Facebook said it would have the same impact on ad delivery as likes. Now Facebook are upping the ranking and aiming to boost the feature’s targeting capabilities by tailoring posts to users by ranking the different emojis they clicked.
To date however, they are not delving in too deeply by weighting our reactions as both negative and positive are weighted the same. Still it is early days.
These reaction icons may be designed to help us express our feelings, but they are proving invaluable to Facebook who now have a finger on our emotional pulses and, as a consequence, are using these reactions to better deliver based on what we like, prefer, hate, love and what we want more of.
Right now we get to pick from Love, Sad, Angry, Wow and Haha but I am sure others will follow - after all there are screeds of emotions we would all like to vent from time to time, how about tired, bored, sick of, chilled, anxious….
It goes without saying that the world’s biggest social network has not gone into this blindly. The decision to go for reaction is based on engagement data - for a start it takes more time to leave a reaction than it does to simply like a post. There is the whole business of holding down the like button and then choosing the icon that best says how you feel. According to Facebook this is a good indicator of just how much we value or perhaps hate a post - either way it has 'marked us' in some way, left an imprint, albeit possibly temporary!
It seems they are on the right track as these emojis have been used over 300 billion times since their launch last year. Christmas was the most loved day and it is good to know that - other than the obvious Like icon - Love is our most popular reaction - shows our heart is in the right place!
So, what do you think? How will this affect your marketing strategy, will you concentrate more on gaining or faking emotions rather than likes?