I’m always pretty excited about new possibilities for improving ad targeting and performance on Facebook. I’ll admit, however, that my first reaction to the new reaction emojis was dislike—especially because there was no Dislike button, which is something I was really looking forward to using regularly. And when I heard there were six new options but it wasn’t a true Likert Scale (a 1 through 7 range of Strongly Dislike to Strongly Like) I got a little more bummed. But after some more thought, I gotta admit, the potential is pretty impressive.
For those unaware, in addition to the Like button, Facebook is testing six emojis that can be used to respond to posts: Love, HaHa, Yay, Wow, Sad, and Angry.
For performance marketers, this means that instead of just knowing if someone has interacted with an ad (or a page or a post), we can put context behind that interaction. Instead of guessing at why someone liked a post (or disliked it but still wanted to acknowledge it), we can now know how these ads are making people feel.
Think about the possibilities of identifying people who:
- Are really strongly connected to your brand because they Love every post you make
- Are more inclined to like humorous ads
- Only respond positively to posts in their feed and ignore anything else
- Only “speak up” when they are shocked by a post
- Have seen a lot of sad news lately
- Are in an angry mood that day
It opens up entirely new targeting possibilities:
- Targeting ads at people who consistently have strongly positive feelings about your brand.
- Showing ads designed to make people laugh to people who have expressed a lot of “HaHa” emotions at your previous ads.
- Deliver an uplifting video ad to people who have expressed a lot of sad emotions today.
Combining those with Facebook’s current Interest and Demographic targeting and you get some extremely interesting targeting options and even more interesting marketing insights.
- Combine demo targeting and mood targeting: Serve ads only to 18-24 year old men who love your brand and are in a good mood today.
- Combine interests with brand receptivity: Target that humorous ad to people who are fans of The Simpsons and Seinfeld AND who have regularly laughed at your posts—they don’t just like to laugh in general, they’re likely to laugh with your brand as well.
- Learn more about how your audiences react to your ads: Let’s say an ad was intended to be humorous, but only 68% of people who interacted used the HaHa emoji and 15% used the Angry emoji. You can study the differences between those groups of people and get some insight into what to do differently next time. Take it even further, and A/B test two ads targeted to that 15% of angry people to see what you can do to turn their feelings around.
Of course, all of this is speculation—and maybe wishful thinking on my part. Facebook is only testing this in two markets, and there’s no public indication at this point that these will ever be part of the interest targeting options. But performance marketers and insight geeks should keep their fingers crossed as Facebook starts testing these emojis in more and more markets.