This week Facebook released “Reactions” for two pilot markets: Ireland and Spain. The new reactions available for posts? Love, haha, yay, wow, sad, and angry.

Myself and Forrester analysts Jennifer Wise, Samantha Ngo, Brigitte Majewski across mobile, social, and advertising pow-wowed on this new addition.  Here are our thoughts: 
  • Facebook wins from this move. Hello new and granular consumer data. Facebook can continue to optimize its own news feed experience, and grow monetization of its data with improved audience profiles and targeting for ads – on its site, and everywhere else.  
  • Brands may get better sentiment data… Marketers need to go beyond counting likes, so what about counting “angries” vs. “yays” instead? Counts can suddenly mean positive or negative sentiment. Funneling these sentiments into consumer insights can help 1) inform ad targeting with refined consumer preferences and affinities, 2) test emotional story arcs, and 3) fuel retargeting. A clothing retailer could target consumers who react “wow” to dress posts. But the big “if” is: will Brands own Reaction data? We’re hoping yes. 
  • …Or may get more for less.  More data doesn't mean better data. Reactions like "wow" can be ambiguous, and having more emotional reaction responses may just product data clutter. And don't forget: just like with counting "likes:"–engagement is not the point, gaining insight to get closer to making a sale is. 
  • The jury's out on user adoption. This offers consumers a broader emotional spectrum, appeasing those who felt confined by the emotional state of the "like" as a reaction to certain content. But, this move could visually complicate the mobile experience, and actually delay reacting as consumers mull over which is appropriate.  
This is still in Beta, and questions still linger: Can and will marketers leverage Reactions to gain better sentiment data that results in better customer segmentation, and even predictive analysis? But this all hinges on customer adoption. So for now, we wait to see if consumers will be “wowing” over a Guinness after a long week. Look for a Quick Take coming from our team soon as users react to Reactions.