This is how Facebook reactions can improve your marketing

This is how Facebook reactions can improve your marketing

Are you as excited as I am about Facebook reactions (the new emoji’s Facebook rolled-out yesterday)? If not, by the end of this post you will be.

By now I hope every social marketer has already realized that getting likes on Facebook is a meaningless marketing goal.

Shelly Palmer described Facebook likes perfectly in a convention last October, calling them a metric for Return On Ego (ROE as opposed to ROI), because we like getting more likes, it makes us feel popular, but are they worth the money we spend on promoting our posts? Probably not.

Well now the game has changed and the marketing potential these new reaction emoji’s hold is absolutely huge! Let’s break it down: 

Topics covered in this post:

    1. What are Facebook reactions? 
    2. Why did Facebook add these reactions?
    3. Why do we, social marketers, need emoji’s?
    4. The hidden potential of Facebook reactions for conversion rate optimization
      4.1 Improving targeting and messaging
      4.2 Optimizing for emotions

What are Facebook reactions?

If you hover over the Facebook like button on desktop, or press it for a few seconds on mobile, you’ll find that you now have 5 new ways of reacting to a post without the hassle of actually commenting on it.

Specifically, aside from our old friend the “like”, we also have emoji’s named: “love”, “Haha”, “Wow”, “Sad” and “Angry”.

Mind you, these are the names Facebook gave them but that doesn’t mean people will use them as intended.

For instance – I feel like the “Wow” emoji expresses negative shock, so if I see a post that surprises me in a positive way, I doubt I’d use it, I’d probably go with the “Haha” emoji instead. But that’s just me.

Why did Facebook add these reactions?

The politically correct answer is that they want to give users an easy way to express their opinions about a post, knowing that having just one choice – to “like” the post, doesn’t really capture how we really feel.

Another possible answer is about gathering data – At this point, with the increasing amount of information we provide about our selves and our lives, Facebook has enough data to understand who we are – who our friends are, what we do for fun, where we live, what we do for a living, what type content interests us and more.

But it’s still imperfect.

Did you know that when you engage with a sponsored post from a specific brand, Facebook is more likely to show you more ads from that brand in the future?

This is true even if you commented: “Stop showing me this ad, I hate your company!” on the sponsored post.

Isn’t that stupid?

It’s bad user experience is what it is.

Reactions is an opportunity for Facebook to dive even deeper into our personality and finally understand what we actually mean when we engage with a post.

Why do we, social marketers, need emoji’s?

If you’ve been doing social for a while you probably already understand that to succeed, you need to create posts with an emotional hook that your audience will respond to.

This isn’t just true for social by the way, successful marketing has always been driven by playing on people’s emotions rather than logic.

Let’s say you manage a brand’s Facebook page with a goal of increasing engagement and building a community. You post content daily and promote your post. You get likes. You’re happy.

But then you become confused – What does “Like” really mean?

Appreciation of your witty writing? Love of the story you told in the post? Bad targeting (some regions tend to “Like” everything, even if the post is in a language they don’t understand)? Maybe it’s something else entirely.

You don’t know.

And if you don’t know why people liked your post, how do you know what to improve on, what to optimize so future posts get more likes and better yet – comments and shares as well?

In short – marketers need these new Facebook reactions for the same reason Facebook does – we need to better understand our target audience in order to optimize the content we share with them.

We need to know that when we posted a post that we thought they’d find shocking, they perceived it as such.

If they thought it was sad rather than shocking, thanks to emoji’s we’ll know there is a gap between what we think our audience thinks and what they actually think and we can adjust.

Basically – we can get to know them better and the better we know them, the easier it will be to connect with them and convert them.

This leads me to the main reason I’m so excited about Facebook reactions – the potential to use them for improved user acquisition.

The hidden potential of Facebook reactions for CRO (Conversion rate optimization)

  • Improving targeting and messaging

If you’ve ever ran Facebook dark posts, optimizing for website conversions, you’ve probably noticed that though the goal with them is not engagement – they get some likes, comments and shares.

In the past I used to ignore engagement metrics on dark posts – if the post got me a good CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), it stayed up, regardless of how many likes, comments of shares it had. Makes sense right?

In fact, I didn’t spend time at all on comments because, when weighing my time allocation options, I thought to myself that reading and answering comments is not scalable. I could be using the time it takes to read through and answer comments on creating dozens more dark posts and optimizing them based on “hard” success metrics – registrations and purchases.

But time passed, I gained more experience and started seeing social as more than an acquisition channel.

Now I see it as a knowledge base in which users freely give you tons of information about themselves, their likes and dislikes. All you have to do is listen and you’ll gain tremendous insight about them, which you can then use to improve your targeting, messaging and acquisition funnels.

These days I read through ALL comments on my dark posts. Why? Because through them I understand what people thought of my ad –

Was I clear enough about the values I presented?

What other things matter to these people that I did not address in the ad (but could in future ones)?

Is there a negative association with the product I’m marketing that comes up a lot in comments but if I address it, I might be able to put a positive spin on it? etc.

My point is that to get to optimal results with acquisition, you have to know as much as you can about your audience. Some of them will interact with you through comments – giving you the opportunity to respond and actually converse, but most of them won’t. They’ll either convert or not and most won’t convert.

Facebook reactions give users an opportunity to say what they feel about your advertising without having to actually talk to you (emoji’s, like the “like” button, are a pretty passive way to express yourself).

In my opinion this means that soon enough our dark posts will have a lot more engagement than before.

We’ll finally be able to differentiate between those who never comment (passive Facebook users – the majority by the way) and don’t convert because the ad made them angry (they’ll use the “Angry” emoji) and those who don’t convert because they have no interest in our advertising (they will not engage with the ad). This will allow us to improve both targeting and messaging.

  • Optimizing for emotions

Not only that, but studies have shown (I’ll find those studies and link them here soon) that emotions that cause arousal, like excitement or anger, tend to lead to active behavior while emotions like happiness or sadness tend to lead to more passive behavior.

In terms of acquisition, this could mean that by monitoring the Facebook reactions to your sponsored stories and optimizing them for “active” emotions, you might be more likely to increase conversions (an active behavior).

The above is of course just my hypothesis and I can’t wait to test it out!

Have any hypotheses of your own of how Facebook reaction will affect social marketing? I’d love to hear them! Contact me here


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