How Your Reactions On Facebook Affect Your Newsfeed

Facebook reactions are a fairly new feature to the social media platform, but since its introduction in 2015, they have since been used over 800 million times each and every day. Apparently, users today have a whole lot of pent up emotions to share and needed more than the simple thumbs up to express ourselves.

But did you know Reactions do so much more than allow users to express their sentiments to posts. While you’re Haha-ing your college roommate’s throwback or Love-ing your mom’s new job change,  Facebook is tracking your every move. Your Reactions are not only impacting your feed, they're also allowing brands to use them at their advantage. Here’s how.

Facebook was once bombarded with requests for a “dislike” button, and after they came to accept that the “Like” option no longer served every life event, i.e. job losses, divorces, etc., they rolled out five additional reactions in late 2015. Over a nearly year-long design process, Facebook’s design team investigated numerous iterations of what would become the new universal Reactions dock.

IMAGE SOURCE:  FACEBOOK DESIGN ON MEDIUM

A final set was chosen and animation was implemented to bring to life the reactions we’re familiar with today.

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We’ve mentioned it before, and we’ll mention it again: Facebook’s algorithm is complicated. It controls what everyone sees in their New Feeds and has a big, if not the biggest, impact on the Facebook experience. Now, with the introduction of animated reactions, things get even more intricate.

In a recent statement to Mashable, Facebook stated, “Over the past year we’ve found that if people leave a Reaction on a post, it is 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.”

Reactions are weighted the same, but some reactions are more apparent throughout the year than others, like the Love reaction during holidays and the Sad reaction following traumatic news.

While Facebook is constantly refining its algorithm, brands should be paying close attention to their audience reactions. Understanding, listening and responding to user's reactions has now become the single most important activity a brand can do in order to build their social success. Not enough Love on your promotional post? Make some changes, because Facebook is keeping tabs!

Genevieve Lopez