Have you been asking and waiting for a Facebook dislike button? If you use Facebook with any regularity you have undoubtedly heard users making this repeated request of the social network giant for years now. Rumors have abounded for the same amount of time that Zuck and the team were either working on it or refusing to do it. Either way and all rumors aside, there will be no dislike option, but a new Like function called Reactions is being tested in Europe.

This morning (Thursday, October 8, 2015) Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer with Facebook posted the following to his personal wall with a video. “Today we’re launching a pilot test of Reactions — a more expressive Like button. As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly. We studied which comments and reactions are most commonly and universally expressed across Facebook, then worked to design an experience around them that was elegant and fun. Starting today Ireland and Spain can start loving, wow-ing, or expressing sympathy to posts on Facebook by hovering or long-pressing the Like button wherever they see it. We’ll use the feedback from this to improve the feature and hope to roll it out to everyone soon.

Leaving a lot of questions as to the probability of a full-scale roll-out of Facebook Reactions, Cox simply stated that they will review the feedback from the test and HOPE to roll it out to everyone. Undoubtedly, many impatient Facebook faithfuls are commenting that their immediate desires to have the new options in their streams. Their desires are unlikely to get Cox’s team to move any faster than they are planning.

How Does Facebook Reactions Work?

Replacing the single like button option on posts, the Facebook Reactions option will give users the ability to select from a few different “like options” instead. The options seem to be as follows:

  • The Standard Like
  • A More Exuberant Love
  • A Haha Laugh
  • A Yay Smiley
  • A Shocked WOW
  • A Sad Face With Tear
  • A Controversial Anger

Marketing Implications Of The Facebook Reactions Like

Some Facebook users maybe cool to the new option that appears to be making its way to all users soon, however as I investigated the new function, I believe there are some very important marketing opportunities here.

Since the new Reactions feature is clearly designed to easily allow users to convey their emotions surrounding posts they engage with, this will result in some very powerful data. Users freely offering up their single-click emotional responses to content can enable both Facebook and advertisers with key information that goes beyond words and topics. The ability to target users based on emotional feelings surrounding keywords and topics could revolutionize how targeted ads can be utilized.

Marketing Example:

If one of your friends posted an article about a specific brand, users will now be able to use Reactions to show their approval AND/OR dislike or emotion around that brand/post. This would enable the brand to then target advertising to those users based on that emotion. For those that select the Love option, the brand could target ads that offer them a deal, thus converting a higher percentage of those ads to revenue. For users that show emotional dislike for the brands content, other advertising campaigns could be deployed that are designed to combat the negative emotions surrounding the brand.

Additionally, competitors could target based on the same data and create content and advertising campaigns that provide a clearer segmentation of their targeted audience. This could significantly impact Facebook Ad results for many marketers.

Though there is currently no data to support my theory on this, there is one thing Facebook has always shown us, they don’t do anything with their platform that does not enhance their data, revenue opportunities and advertising platform. Therefore if we agree they have taken this approach, we can rest assure that this new Facebook Reactions development to transform like into emotion and empathy for users, will no doubt result in something significant on the back-end for marketers.

Stay tuned…