Facebook Reactions and its Impact on Pages

Last week saw the release of Facebook Reactions- an extension of Facebook Like, to give users new ways to express love, awe, humor and sadness. As Mark Zuckerberg noted on his profile while announcing the launch, Reactions will give users “the power to easily express sorrow and empathy — in addition to delight and warmth.”

There are 6 kinds of reactions that have been released for now – Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad, Angry.


Reactions are being tested out in Ireland and Spain. So, if you live in a country other than these two, you’ll have to wait for sometime before you can start using Reactions. Or, if you are impatient like me, you can download a VPN client that has servers in Ireland or Spain ;).

I ran some tests on my Facebook page to see how Reactions would impact advertisers and page owners. I have noted down my findings below.

Observations after using Facebook Reactions

  1. If your page has reach in Ireland/Spain, it can get reactions from people living there. But you’ll be able to see the reactions only if you reside in either of the two countries. Otherwise, you’ll only see the likes on the post.

    Facebook Reactions

  2. For the lack of better word and for the purpose of this article, let’s call Likes + Reactions + Comments + Shares as Post Engagement.

    Post Engagement includes few other metrics also, I’m oversimplifying it by not considering those. But for the purpose of this article, we can go ahead with this definition.

    Now look at the above two screenshots closely (click on it to open it in enlarged mode). The first screenshot shows 15 likes & 10 reactions (3 haha, 2 yay, 2 anger, 2 wow, 1 love ). The second screenshot shows 15 likes. That means if you are living outside of Ireland and Spain, Facebook will under report the post engagement on your posts. This is going to be a temporary phase till Reactions is launched globally, but still as an advertiser I am not too pleased about that.

  3. If you are running Facebook ads to promote a post, Facebook will count all the reactions as likes, as mentioned in the Help Center link. So, Post Likes would include Likes+Reactions in Ads Manager as shown below:

    Ads Manager Data

    I wonder why Facebook didn’t use the same approach in Page Insights- show all reactions as likes for page admins outside of Ireland/Spain and for those in Ireland/Spain, break it down by individual reactions.

My Opinion on Facebook Reactions

  1. Now that the users have more options to express their feelings on a post, we should see an increase in engagement on the page. If you notice such an increase on your page, you might want to see if it is due to the launch of reactions before patting the back of your page content team ;).

  2. Earlier the readers either liked your content or they didn’t. But now they can express other emotions too, so page content creators will have to get a little more creative in order to get a variety of reactions from the readers. As any writer will tell you, good content is one that can evoke all kind of emotions in the people. A post with a few likes and a few yays, a couple of haha’s and someone showing anger would be better than one having just likes.

  3. Some of the Reactions, such as the one that depicts anger, will also bring in a little complexity. Like is a positive signal. But not all reactions can be classified as positive or negative. The one depicting anger can have both positive and negative connotations, depending on the context.

    For e.g, if I post that corruption is on rise, and someone expresses anger on that post, it can be interpreted as a sign of support to what I said, hence it’s a positive signal. But if I launch a bad product and post about it on my page and someone expresses anger on that post, that’s a negative signal. So, while Likes on a post could have been used as a proxy for positive response, same cannot be said for Reactions.

  4. It would help if hovering over these reactions tells the user what they actually mean. There are users who might interpret some of these incorrectly. Remember that time when a grand mom posted LOL on someone’s sad status, intending to say lots of love, without realizing that it stands for laughing out loud.

In any case, it’s a good feature and one that I believe will lead to more engagement on pages.

What’s your take?

This post first appeared on my blog Creative Jugaad.

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Analytics @ Uber | Loves to Talk about Personal Finance | Interested in World History | Easily Lured by a Cup of Coffee

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