Facebook Reactions – Three Months On

fb reactionsThree months on and Facebook’s Reactions haven’t quite replaced the trusted “Like” button, which still reigns supreme. Out of the new options, “Love” is the most popular, with a whopping 51% share. However, it can be argued that “Love” is ultimately “Like +” in disguise, so perhaps it just goes to show how strong the “Like” really is. Quintly recently analysed 130,000 Facebook posts and found that 76% of interactions were still “Likes”. Having said this, many brands have already tried to embrace the change by posting associated content. Chevrolet did a commercial that was driven heavily by the feature and it was even released the exact same day the feature was announced. One really interesting thing to come out of this so far was Facebook’s first ever testing of a temporary Reaction – a flower for Mother’s Day in the US (and other countries that celebrate this event in May). This shows their intentions for the future and the massive potential for customised actions on one-off days or events such as this. The fact that they disappear after one day gives a Snapchat-esque feel to the whole thing.

 

Value for Marketers

There has also been some negative press on Reactions recently, privacy-wise, which seems to be a yearly routine for Facebook now. This year’s privacy concern involves the Belgian police warning consumers that Facebook is curating data through Reactions on how to advertise to them. At this point, however, it seems more and more obvious to count this as one of Facebook’s intentions – what is more intimate than knowing someone’s emotions towards things that you could potentially sell them? This brings us to social engagement insights, which is now a great deal more data-rich. The more people start to use Reactions, the more useful they will become for marketers.

This simple change is hugely valuable to marketers because the emotion or message behind “liking” is in many ways sub-divided and finally quantifiable – which it hasn’t been in the past. Furthermore, looking deeper into the consumer behaviours on social, if Reactions grow in popularity, the “Like” could potentially become the mundane acknowledgement of a post. This should not affect the algorithm, as it’s still post engagement and Facebook has confirmed all Reactions count in the same way but receiving a “Like” compared to a “Wow”, for instance, is fairly unexciting and might lose weight.

 

In Need of Wow’s

Another point for brands is the potential to use Reactions in a customer service sense – e.g. to reach out to people who are “Angry” at a post. Or retarget your next post to everyone who “Wow’s” your content. This is significantly simpler than trawling through comments to calculate how people feel about your content. And best of all, it can all be done within Facebook Insights, eliminating the need for third-party tools, which gives a more solid sense of validation.

Over time, this could affect social engagement as a whole, as people may essentially choose to engage with content based on how many “Wow’s” it has. Whether or not our dear friend “Like” ends up being acquaintance-zoned is hard to say, but the changes in social behaviour around Likes and Reactions have only started to show at this point in time.

 

 

Live Streaming and the Demand for Now

blogLive video has been something reserved only for significant occasions in the past, whether it be a big TV event or an important news story. This is all changing now as social media gives the power to the people and makes it easier than ever to broadcast without a TV deal.

So where are we currently? It seems all the giants have joined the party now – YouTube is the latest to jump on board by adding the ability to live stream directly from your phone. It’s important to note here how different YouTube’s audience is to Facebook and Twitter’s – subscribers on YouTube are there predominantly to watch videos, and considering YouTube’s experience within video in general, it will be interesting to see how these two compete most of all.

Tumblr on the other hand seems to have taken a slightly different route by allowing third-party apps to stream live video straight to its service. A very open-minded approach that bears witness to the fact that social is embracing the live streaming movement.

 

Real-Time Marketing

So what does this movement mean for brands? In an age where we have access to an overloading amount of content, content marketing is taking a new form – “real-time marketing” will now gain a larger footprint than ever before and the fundamental difference is the urgency it demands from viewers. This in itself is extremely valuable, considering the sheer amount of content we’re already drowning in. Viewers are also less critical and less demanding when it comes to live video. The fact that it’s live is the biggest factor and it doesn’t play out the same way when you re-watch a video that was originally live. Therefore, viewers end up chasing the video as soon as they’re notified of the stream, instead of “saving it for later”, which in turn also eliminates the potential for it to be lost in the billions of hours of content it’s directly competing with.

 

Quality Control

I’d also say the whole removal of picture-perfect images that Snapchat brought to the table has eased us into live streaming our own content – it may not be perfect, but who cares? You can now also broadcast live to Facebook from MSQRD, which is extremely Snapchat-like. So will the fact that absolutely anyone is now able to stream their lives have an effect on the overall quality of this type of content? Compared to the quality control TV has had over the years, it’s almost non-existent on social media. Time will tell if we want to see our friends live stream themselves doing nothing or whether a stream needs more of a purpose.

All things considered, live streaming will soon be a standard form of expression via social, much like it’s become a standard form of communication over the years with Skype and FaceTime. It’s time for brands to take a good look at their strategy and embrace the live streaming age that’s only going to grow from here.