So by now you will have met the 5 new guys (and one old guy) down below. Say hello to Facebook’s latest reactions which launched 2 weeks ago back on the 24th of February 2016.

Facebook Reactions

Everyday, we go to Facebook to see what is going on with our friends, family and the latest news from around the globe and over the years Facebook has become one of those 'go-to' social channels when we want to have a conversation with people and express how we feel. In a bid to keep it as ‘simple as possible’, for the last 12 years the only option available to us was to ‘Like’ a post however just after Facebook’s birthday they unveiled ‘Reactions’ giving us more options over how we share our reactions to updates. So we can now share ‘love’ ‘haha’ ‘wow’ ‘sad’ and ‘angry’ reactions whenever we want. Where is the ‘Yay’ option when we need it? More on that later.

Of course the decision to roll this out was in true Facebook style - well thought out where they really did their homework. By studying user behaviour on the platform, carrying out user testing and running pilot tests in Ireland and Spain, Facebook was able to identify if this would be well received and after introducing it to users in these countries, really got a chance to see how users interacted with this - it later resulted in the ‘Yay’ reaction being dropped as it was felt to be a little confusing (hey we really needed that a few minutes ago).

So, if you are a brand you are probably wondering whether users love it or hate it right? We carried out a Twitter poll and largely, the new reactions were well received but of course there were a few complaints and research over the last two weeks have shown users were really looking for a dislike button (which Zuckerberg has said will never happen).

Facebook is about positivity and so the logic behind not introducing a dislike button is pretty clear - having a dislike button could result in an influx of negative interactions. It’s important to not create negative user experiences which would result in declining usage of Facebook. Thus, we now welcome the reactions.

How do you 'React'

So if you like the sound of it and want to start ‘reacting’, you might be wondering how. If you are on desktop, simply hovering over the like button will bring up the 5 new reactions for you to choose from however if you are using Facebook on mobile, simply hold down the like button and you can then slide through to your desired reaction.

Should brands and marketers embrace emojis and reactions

In the last few years, the world has gone wild for emojis so much, the 2015 word of the year was an emoji! Today, almost everyone has used an emoji in either a text, WhatsApp or in a social post with as much as 92% of the online population having used them (72% of under 25’s, 76% of 25-29 year olds, 68% of 30-35 years old and 62% of 35 and over to be exact).

Since 2015, when the ‘tears of joy’ emoji was crowned, 59% of leading brands were using emojis in their Twitter updates, 40% were using emoji’s in Facebook posts which Facebook has also taken into consideration when introducing ‘Reactions’.

In a recent Facebook study which analysed 32 million posts, unsurprisingly it was found that posts expressing self-worth received more likes whereas posts expressing negativity such as upset received more comments (36% more comments). It is not surprising that when someone is expressing happy thoughts it’s easy to simply place a like on the status however, now we have a multitude of options to choose from (well up to 5 new reactions).

We can guess your next question. Now we can express more feelings through the new reactions does this mean there will be less comment engagement on our posts? Of course this will differ from brand to brand however it will be interesting to see the data coming from the new reactions and hopefully we can begin correlating certain responses with certain types of posts.

With ongoing changes to other Facebook products such as adverts and the newly launched audience optimisation tool, will we get to a point where we can target our audience using only the reactions they have used on our posts? Only time will tell.

We’re always looking to chat more so if you have any questions, drop us a message on Facebook or Twitter. In the meantime, why not change things up a little - switch your Facebook language to pirate and see what happens to your reactions ;).