To mark the first year anniversary of Facebook’s ‘Reactions’, the social network has released new data on their use, noting that Reactions have been used 300 billion times in total since launch.
That certainly sounds a lot, but when you consider that Facebook reportedly generates around 4 million Likes per minute, Reactions are only contributing a very small amount of overall user response activity.
Reactions were introduced after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted that a version of the much requested ‘dislike’ option would be coming soon. And while Reactions don’t include a 'dislike' option as such, they do enable users to respond quickly and express their feelings on a particular post.
But even with their low usage rate, Facebook says that Reactions are a strong indicator of interest, and will be now be weighted more heavily by the News Feed.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, “Over the past year we've found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it's an even stronger signal that they'd want to see that type of post than if they left a Like on the post, so we are updating News Feed to weigh reactions a little more than Likes when taking into account how relevant the story is to each person."
So we can conclude that Reactions are more powerful than Likes - but strangely, Facebook also says that all Reactions will be weighted the same. So whether you select 'Sad' or 'Angry' or 'Love' on a post, they will all send a signal to Facebook that you want to see more of that type of content.
The reasoning behind this being that if you've actually gone to the effort to use a Reaction you must have felt strongly enough about the topic, but some in the industry have commented that Facebook could have used the specific Reaction data to provide more specific insight.
In terms of specific use, Facebook has announced the ‘Love’ Reaction as being the most used, accounting for more than half of total Reactions. Considering Reactions were introduced in response to a strong call for a dislike button, we might have expected higher usage for the more negative responses.
Facebook has also reported that Christmas Day last year saw the highest peak of Reactions use thus far - with ‘Love’ again leading the way - while the top ten nations, in terms of Reactions adoption, are:
It's been an interesting experiment for Facebook but going on the latest statistics, Reactions seem to be regarded as a minor element in the wider Facebook experience. They can be used as an indicator to some degree (and individual results will vary), but their low adoption rate limits their value as a real insights tool.
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