The Facebook “like” button has put us all in an awkward spot at some point in our lives. Like that moment your friend’s relationship status went from “in a relationship” to “single”. Does one “like” that status or go without a response?
Some people have requested that Facebook add a “dislike” button, but the social media website answered with a much more unique (and modern) solution. Facebook is calling it “Reactions,” and it allows users to “react” to posts with a variety of emoticons rather than just the singular “like”.
The simple thumbs up emoticon lives on with the meaning that you’re liking a status, post or picture. Added to the list of “reactions” are “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry.”
These new additions to Facebook have created a solution for the social aspect of the medium. People can now react in the proper manner to a friend’s post, but what has gone unnoticed by many, is how this will impact the marketing that goes on through Facebook.
Simply put, emojis have taken over some of the day to day conversations people have with each other. From a simple text message to e-mails, emojis are a new language. Businesses such as Domino’s and Taco Bell are just two of many companies going the emoji route. In fact, Taco Bell started a petition for a taco emoji, and they received 32,802 supporters.
Facebook’s Reactions are now just another way for companies to market their products and services, as they have another data point to track Facebook users. For example, if you use a “love” reaction to a Subway picture, this gives them a reason to target your Facebook news feed with more advertisements about their upcoming specials and deals.
Neil Patel, the co-founder of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg and Quick Sprout, all analytics companies, wrote an article saying that “92 per cent of the online population is using emojis”.
In fact, emojis have taken such a huge leap in our day to day lives that they are no longer just a simple way of communicating with friends. Domino’s, the pizza company, allows you to tweet or text the pizza emoji to order pizza.
What makes emoticons even more effective is how they can translate a simple message from being negative to positive, and can explain someone’s feelings more accurately. An article by Carrie Cummings, “Infographic: Emojis are becoming a preferred communication tool across demographics,” explains that 84 per cent of women who are frequent users of emojis believe the little icons express their feelings more accurately than words – 75 per cent of males who frequently use emojis feel the same way.
Emoticons have blown-up since 2011, when iPhones added emojis to texting, but we also have to understand that it is no longer just millennials using them. The usage of emoticons within the middle-age of 30-50 year olds has also seen a boost.
More importantly, it has become important that you understand the meaning of each emoji as it is basically a new language and there are over billions of them floating around out there.
All of this gives companies a reason to take a longer look at emoticons and their meanings. They need to look at how emojis can help them understand consumer response and behaviour to particular posts.
Facebook as a company has found a new way to engage its users, but more importantly the new “reactions” will help out the companies that choose to advertise through them.
A simple “anger” reaction could lead to that annoying weight-loss advertisement being deleted off your news feed or it might lead to the company finding a new way to relate to you.
As my colleague Steve Nadon wrote last week, “your feelings and emotional reactions are literally being bought and sold”. For example, a reaction to something your friend posts about quitting smoking can make you a target for anti-smoking companies.
We got what we wanted from Facebook, and that’s a more advanced version of the “like” button. However, Facebook has now given companies a new way of learning more about us. They already had data that told them whether or not we saw or clicked on a post, but they will now have insight into how we feel about certain topics.