When Facebook rolled out five new buttons last week, rightly called reactions – “Love,” “ha-ha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry” it was a lot more than an icon change. It was an iconic change.

It apparently took more than one year of serious thinking within Facebook, with Mark Zuckerberg personally investing his own time with the top team in the redesign of the new Facebook Reactions.

What does it mean for you as a Brand? What does it mean for you as a Marketer? What if you are a Data Scientist?

…it was a lot more than an icon change. It was an iconic change.

Facebook ‘reactions’ will give you the new insights into your audience’s emotional connections to your brand. You will have more data on their precise feelings and understand their reactions.

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If, for example, you start noticing some ‘angry’ reactions for your recent post, you can quickly respond by taking course corrections faster. ‘Wow’ reactions, for example help you validate your new product launches where you expect the market to be awed. It would also be interesting to study what type of users ‘love’ your conversation and who ‘like’ your conversations. Such insights into your loyal audience or the demographics can give you the valuable intelligence to be agile and responsive.

However, it is imperative that marketers understand the ‘context’ of these reactions. Your overall brand may be hitting a purple patch, or maybe, facing an PR onslaught, and such deep sighted emotions could definitely show up in the reactions to a particular post, even if the reaction may not directly related to the specific content of the post.

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Overall, brands are going to have an interesting time with all this data and will be able to fine tune their marketing communication to suit its users a in a lot more proactive and dynamic fashion. On its part, Facebook will now have petabytes of new data points which they can use for deeper understanding of human emotions, adding on to the rich repository already have.

Overall this is a good step forward for the industry, brand marketers and data scientists.

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PS: A teaser:) There is an extra icon, the sixth reaction depicted in both the images (both in heading and content), that does not figure in the final Facebook roll-out. Which one is that?