The rise of Facebook Reactions and how brands can use them creatively


As Facebook reactions see an increased use lately, it’s time for brands to use them more creatively for sentiment analysis.

It’s been less than a year since Facebook introduced Reactions, the extension of the Like button, allowing users to express themselves in more than one way, with every reaction representing the most popular sentiments people have when noticing a new Facebook story.

Social media analytics provider quintly published a Facebook Reactions study that analyses 105,000 Facebook pages in May and June to measure how reactions are used.

The increased use of Facebook Reactions


According to quintly, Facebook Reactions make up 6% of total interactions (likes, shares, comments), and although the percentage is significantly low, there has been an increase of 22.4% from May to June.

Moreover, Facebook Reactions were at just 3% of all interactions in April, which shows how their usage is steadily increasing.

It’s interesting to note that the pages with over 10 million likes saw an increase of Facebook Reactions by 47%, which shows that users are eager to express their emotions in different ways, while publishers are starting to encourage this trend.


The most popular Facebook Reactions

The analysis of the Facebook Reactions in May and June saw an increased use of the sad reaction by 48%, which is probably justified by the sad news posted on the platform. All the reactions saw an increase of more than 16%, with stronger feelings being used more in this period.


It’s interesting that only the Like reaction has been reduced by 1% from May to June, and this is due to the increased use of the rest of the reactions.


Videos receive more Facebook Reactions

Videos seem to receive more Facebook Reactions comparing to other content formats, seeing a higher amount of up to 60%.

This trend became even more popular when Facebook allowed the use of Reactions during Live videos, as this led to more engaged users who could express their exact feelings for each broadcasting.


Sentiment analysis gets easier

Brands can benefit from the growing trend of Facebook Reactions by having access to an easier sentiment analysis, which will help them understand how their audience responds to their content.

It’s a useful way to quantify the sentiment of your followers and have a better idea of their feelings towards your content, which is always a valuable insight for an improved content strategy.

How brands encourage the use of Reactions

Brands and publishers can also take the credit for the increased use of Reactions, as many of them have encouraged their audience to use them as a way to respond to their content.

This is a clever way to increase their engagement (and make the users react to their posts, not just see them on their newsfeed), while they are also understanding what their followers expect from them and what they like most.

Goal UK has mastered the use of Facebook Reactions the past months, creating many images that feature them, asking from its followers to answer their “polls” with their preferred reaction. This is an easy way to create an interactive “poll” through an appealing image, usually relying on popular topics to encourage the increased use of reactions.


The more popular the topic, the bigger the chances for the audience to join and actually use any reaction beyond the like button.





However, the Like button is still way more popular than the rest of the reactions, as it’s also easier for users to pick it (comparing to an additional step for the other reactions).


Facebook creates custom reactions for Star Trek


Facebook has decided to customise its Reactions for some users in US and Canada to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th birthday, launching special Reactions for a limited time.

Although not everyone had access to them, this is an interesting way on how the Reactions could be used in the future, with Facebook monetising their presence from encouraging big brands to customise them, while brands could win an increased exposure to a massive audience.

Is this a thought that Facebook has already considered, with Star Trek serving as the first “experiment”?


We are not expecting Facebook Reactions to replace the simple Like button, the easiest way to respond to a topic, but they may still offer a valuable tool for brands to measure the sentiment of their posts and act accordingly.
How about noticing how your followers use them in your posts to adjust your strategy and help them express themselves more creatively?
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