When Facebook launched their reactions feature back in February, the hope was that users would finally be able to tell their friends and favourite businesses how they really feel about a post, using a range of emoticons: “love”, “haha”, “wow”, “sad” and “angry”.
The reactions were also expected to impact advertisers, helping them to better understand the sentiment behind a user’s engagement with their content. But just over three months since Facebook reactions were rolled out, people still aren’t feeling them.
According to a recent study by Quintly that analyzed the data from 130,000 Facebook posts, more than 97% of interactions are still happening in the traditional form of likes, shares and comments, while only 2.4% of interactions are done with reactions.
Advertisers will understandably be disheartened to know that Facebook’s reactions have thus far failed to gain much traction among users, as the potential for a deeper understanding of how content is perceived in their communities could be game-changing. But moving forward, it will be important to uncover the reason behind the slow adoption of what was seemingly a much-needed feature.
Are advertisers to blame for not creating content that lends itself well to a range of reactions?
The aforementioned Quintly study revealed an interesting comparison between Facebook reactions on image and video posts that sheds some light on the question above. According to the study, video content received 40% more reactions than image posts, with the “wow” reaction showing the biggest disparity between the two. For advertisers, the key to deeper audience insights using reactions could be posting more video content to their communities.
Is Facebook to blame for not making the reactions intuitive enough for the average user to find and use?
Another interesting finding comes from a study conducted by research firm UserTesting. The study involved 100 participants on both desktop computers and mobile devices, and found that 45% of respondents rated the reactions “hard to find”. However, 80% of the respondents rated them as useful once they were found.
Or, are reactions just not as useful as we thought they might be in conveying our feelings about a piece of content?
Before the launch of reactions, Facebook users had been asking for a “dislike” button for years. But Facebook opted to give its users an expanded choice of options that are a bit more optimistic than a dislike button would have been. Unfortunately, the sad and angry reactions are hardly used (together they only comprise 30% of Facebook reactions), and there is a clear difference in the usage of positive and negative reactions:
The “love” reaction is the clear winner here, accounting for over 50% of all reactions (excluding likes). But the “love” reaction also offers the least amount of analytical insight for marketers, as the sentiment behind it is not much different than a traditional “like”.
Only time will tell whether Facebook reactions will ever become popular enough to offer real value to advertisers. So far, it’s clear that it hasn’t worked, whether it be the fault of the advertisers, the users, or Facebook itself.
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