Do Facebook Reactions increase engagement?

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.

Facebook Reactions have been live to the planet for a week. Consumers have the ability to not only like, but love, laugh, wow, angry, and sad at content they see on Facebook. We’ve discussed analytics potential for them and caveats about what not to do, like Reaction-baiting.

The big question I have is, are Reactions encouraging more engagement, now that consumers have more choices? In theory, consumers should engage more with content they didn’t feel comfortable just ‘Liking’ previously. I’ve personally hit the Angry button at some political updates in my News Feed, where I wouldn’t have engaged before.

So, using the massive analytics engine at SHIFT Communications, I took a look at brands, media, and individual influencers since February 1, 2016 to determine what impact Reactions has had.

First, let’s look at who’s in the list, sorted by Median Reactions Per Day. Recall that Reactions still show up as Likes in Facebook analytics, regardless of Reaction type.

Median Likesreactions

(click for a larger version)

Note that individual influencers (orange) dominate the overall number of Likes/Reactions compared to brands (blue) and media (green).

Have Reactions increased Facebook engagement? Let’s take a look:

Reactions Impact.png

The highlighted yellow area above is when Reactions were turned on for all users. We see no significant differences yet in any of the three groups in median Likes per day. Note the vertical axis is logarithmic because individual influencers’ engagement dwarfs brand and media engagement.

The bottom line is that Reactions haven’t statistically changed engagement yet. If you publish unengaging content, Reactions won’t help you. If you already have a highly-engaged audience, you will likely continue to do so – Reactions don’t appear to make it better or worse.

Focus your efforts on creating engaging content and interacting with your community!

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