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Understanding Facebooks new Reactions

using the 7 Cs framework of Digital Marketing

Add a Noun/ Verb (Love), few adjectives (Sad, Angry) & few
interjections (Haha, Wow) and you get the new ensemble cast of
Facebook, ready to disrupt Social media, as we know it.
I am sure by now you are wondering whats so disruptive about
this minor enhancement that Facebook recently launched. Lets
see some data points..the very reason why this launch assumes
enormous proportion.

Facebook has 1.59 billion users worldwide, highest for any

Social media platform.

42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or

important to their business. (Source: State of Inbound Marketing

On an average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed

across almost 10 million websites daily. (Source: Facebook as of

Every 60 seconds on Facebook

293,000 statuses are updated,

136,000 photos are uploaded,

510 comments are posted (Source: The Social Skinny).

Most importantly, approx. 4 mn posts are liked by Facebook

users every 60 seconds

Add to this the average time spent per Facebook visit of 20

minutes/ day (Source: Infodocket)
So Whats new with these data points..I agree with your
thought...these are just data points.errrrthis is where
Facebook has played the smartest card so far.
Mark Zuckerberg describes new Reactions as company's biggest
design change to date and went against his own philosophy of
move fast and break things for this one. Weve been working
on this for a while. Its surprisingly complicated to make an
interaction that you want to be that simple, CEO Mark
Zuckerberg said at a public town hall in Menlo Park, California, in
September 2015, the first time Facebook publicly acknowledged it
was working on a change.
Facebook stores more than 300 petabytes of data and has
multiple algorithms to categorize various content/ comments on
its platform into meaningful data points for marketers to leverage
its network.
"We will initially use any Reaction similar to a Like to infer that
you want to see more of that type of content," Facebook said in a
separate blog post. The company said it will also use "Reactions"
to track user behavior and for ad delivery.
If one looks at the recent Facebook initiatives of Memories from
past year, 360 degree Video content, GIFs, Facebook for Work or
the Upcoming Virtual Reality, all these have been aimed towards
introducing new content types or mediums to engage with the

larger community but none which indicates what one feels about
that content. Yes, Comments section has existed since the launch
but we all know that its adoption rate is just a fraction of Likes
phenomenon. Reactions has the potential to make this
phenomenon Infinitely better and provide great insights to
how people engage.
Lets use the Digital Marketing framework of 7Cs (refer to my
earlier post on Digital Marketing - Shift from 4Ps to 5Cs to
evaluate how the new Reactions score from a Marketers
7Cs framework (Context -> Content -> Customize ->
Compare -> Connect -> Convenience -> Culture) to
evaluate new Reactions
1. Context:
Notwithstanding the varying adoption rates across countries, in
few years, Facebook will have tons of Rich data available for
Marketers to leverage and micro target specific audiences. Like
button, though still powerful, has lost its relevance courtesy Social
media etiquettes.
Dont be surprised if in few years Marketers start considering only
the new five reactions in their internal metrics for true
engagement rate and this forces other social media platforms to
follow suite with similar launches.
2. Content:
Ask any Digital marketer on his/her biggest pain point and Good
content is bound to be in the top 3 things to solve/ keep doing.
Given the relative poor engagement (compared to Likes) of

Comments section, new Reactions will provide key insights on

which content is working well for the target audience & enable
real time modification.
3. Connect:
Marketers have finally adapted themselves to the truth of organic
reach of 1% - 3%. There is still no magic data cut available which
guarantees conversion similar to that of search campaigns.
Reactions & available data (when Facebook decides to share)
would provide enough hope & optimism to generate similar ROI
for social media spends too. Re-marketing itself to the select few
with desired reactions will help increase ROI significantly.
Brand awareness campaigns will also benefit from this micro
targeting opportunity.
Example: Political parties might not want to show a candidates ad
on news feed of those people who have expressed Angry
emotions for similar previous content. Alternatively, companies
supporting niche sports would like to specifically target users who
expressed Love, Wow for that particular sport, with increased
probability of creating a more close knit community on Facebook.
4. Convenience:
Marketers would like this feature to be integrated on their digital
platforms & would like to see the same feature being
implemented for Comments section too.

Imagine companies flaunting xxxxx Hearts & yyyy Wows instead

of text based reviews to attract existing customers & prospects
alike for their products/ solutions on Facebook. Add the Buy on
Facebook feature to this combination to further reduce the time
from Active consideration to Actual purchase decision.
Unlike laptop/ desktop users, where these Reactions appear
intuitively on hover, I foresee need for further simplicity (read
periodic reminders) being introduced by Facebook for mobile
users to aid its adoption.
5. Customize:
In todays age of personalization, power to customize & choose
should remain with the users. Marketers would love to customize
these Reactions, either by choosing from the five that suit their
content type or by creating their own Reactions from the list of
pre-defined emotions by Facebook.
6. Compare:
Facebook has still not restricted users to view their competitors
engagement activity on various reactions and that can be
leveraged to suitably modify ones campaign/ content.
Its only time before the Social listening tools adapt to this change
and puts combined pressure on Facebook to allow capturing these
insights automatically & provide easy to comprehend
comparisons for marketers.

In the coming months we could see the emergence of a new

engagement rate where a Love reaction is equal to x Likes
and an Angry reaction would mean minus y Likes.
7. Culture:
At a fundamental level, the new Reactions feature encourages a
Culture of openness, enhances freedom of expression and makes
it convenient & fun to use too. Peer pressure will now gradually
force adoption from mere Likes to adopting the new Reactions to
express one self.
In this context, it is heartening to note that Facebook didnt yield
to popular demand of adding a Dislike button and instead
provided a variety of reactions which find relevance across the
globe (would have personally liked Yay option too as thats the
language of millennial but nevertheless).
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction and so
does for this new feature. We all know how Twitter is trying its
best to manage Trolls which has been the bane of most
marketers. In some sense the new Angry reaction on Facebook
can also be potentially misused by trolls and keep the otherwise
considered safe (marketers have option to disable/ delete posts/
comments on their page) Facebook medium risqu especially for
new entrants.
Add to that the growing privacy concerns and this new found
expression data being misused by Facebook itself to wilfully
manipulate its feed (remember the famous experiment few years

back) or by unscrupulous marketers, we will have to wait and

watch whether the promise of not sharing this data remains intact
or is introduced with certain pre-conditions.
For all those Facebook users who either hesitated or found posting
comments inconvenient to express their true emotions, new
Reactions will come as a breath of fresh air. We will soon see other
social platforms mimicking or adding more customization features
to lure marketers & users alike.
While increased revenue potential is at the heart of this
change from Facebook & Marketers perspective, as a
normal Facebook user, let me enjoy the most convenient
way of expressing how I feel, just as you would for this
article. Go, check it out now!

Launch from Facebook:
Science behind Reactions:

How Linguists feel about the new Reactions:
Source for Infographic: