Facebook Emoji Likely To Make Advertisers Smile


Posted on Feb 25, 2016

For more than a decade Facebook users have demanded an alternative to the Like button – now they’ve finally got their wish.

But it is unlikely to have been a purely altruistic move by the social media giant.

By offering five new ways to react to content posted on the network, it can slowly build a treasure trove of more detailed data about its users.

If, for example, someone reacts to expensive branded content by clicking the sad or angry buttons, advertisers may use that to tweak future messages.

Whereas if a user is clicking that it makes them happy, then that would provide reassurance that they're doing a good job.

This feedback could help boost Facebook profits even further - it made a profit of $3.7bn in 2015, up 25% from a year earlier.

Another benefit could be increased engagement for Facebook.

Product manager Sammi Krug said those who trialled the new reaction buttons responded more frequently to posts than users without them.

A sixth reaction button which had been trialled – the 'yay' button – appears to have been dropped.

During the testing phase Facebook executives found some people did not understand what the button meant.

For years Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had resisted introducing a dislike button, saying he wanted to create a system that "is a force for good and not bad and demeaning the person out there".

He appears to have reached a compromise that benefits both users, and Facebook's bottom line.

A Facebook spokesman said: "We've been listening to people and know that there should be more ways to easily and quickly express how something you see in News Feed makes you feel."

Chief product officer Chris Cox told Bloomberg last month that it was a big deal to change the way the Like system worker.

He said: "This was a feature that was right in the heart of the way you use Facebook, so it needed to be executed really well in order to not detract and clutter up the experience.

"All of the other attempts had failed."