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Facebook’s Empathy Button Unveiled – Are Emoji-based “Reactions”

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Last month we discussed Facebook’s introduction of an “Empathy” button as announced at a Facebook townhall presented by Mark Zuckerberg. Today, Facebook announced that they aren’t adding just one, but six emoji-based buttons called “Reactions”. Many users, and even Mark Zuckerberg, have shared concerns in the past that a simple dislike button may be used inappropriately. Neither people nor brands want to be plagued by a stream of “dislikes” in their posts or advertisements. By offering a wider range of emotions (love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger), Facebook is hoping to avoid some of the abuse that a simple dislike button might bring.

Beginning tomorrow (October 9, 2015), “Reactions” will be available to a limited number of Facebook users in Ireland and Spain. According to Facebook’s director of product, Adam Mosseri, Facebook chose those two countries as their test markets because:

“…both have largely national user bases without extensive international friend networks, so they work better as closed test groups. Ireland is English speaking, while Spain lets Facebook test out how well the wordless emoji play with non-English users.”

“Reactions” will be available on both the desktop and mobile app versions of the social network, allowing users to add them to any post in their News Feed. To add “Reactions”, mobile users will press the “Like” button, while desktop users will hover over it, making the emojis appear as a choice. Facebook isn’t currently planning on adding the buttons to Messenger or other Facebook-owned products.

Facebook Reactions2
Source: VentureBeat

While not currently discussed, if data collected from “Reactions” becomes available in Facebook’s analytics dashboard, marketers will benefit even more from detailed sentiment-based data about their audiences and what content they are most positively engaging with. Offering this data will help Facebook to optimize the information it pushes to users, while improving the value of the advertisement solution it provides to businesses.

Stay tuned next week as we explore the history of emojis, review how marketers are currently using them, and provide some tips and tools to help your marketing team make emojis a successful part of their social media planning.

To learn more about how you can use social media to drive your business, reach out to us at info@overdriveinteractive.com

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