Facebook Reactions: Good Will Gesture or Great Data Dive?

When Facebook released Reactions back in February, there was resounding it’s-about-time applause to greet the move. Facebook was finally giving in to the masses. To some, it seemed an altruistic effort to give users what they’d been asking for for years: more than just a like button to express their feelings.

Were you the “some,” or did you suspect an ulterior motive behind the platform’s alleged gesture of goodwill?

Back when Facebook was The Facebook and Zuckerberg resisted initial efforts to monetize the platform, advertisers were chomping at the bit to get some space on the site. Apple was one of the first big-time names to buy in and its influence—and a six figure monthly buy—sent a clear and resounding message to others: advertising on Facebook was the real deal.

There are lots of reasons to advertise on Facebook. In addition to its 1.65 billion users, the platform offers insight into your target demographic that can prove invaluable. Facebook lets you target prospective students based on where they live, what their interests are and who their friends might be. You can get a look at age, gender, and income level. You can even use lookalike audiences to consider people who are similar to the people you already know.

What more could you ask for?

How about if you knew how they feel about things.

Knowing what they like would be helpful. But wouldn’t it be great to know what induces them to hit that love button or angry emoji? That’s what Reactions are really all about. They could give you—as advertiser for your school—insight into what motivates your prospects. Even Facebook admits that they’re using Reactions to weigh what goes on your future student’s timeline. Facebook product manager, Sammi Krug, says Reactions will help the platform determine which content the user most wants to see –so that’s what Facebook will serve them on their feed. When you hear content, think ads. Facebook has a lot of power to serve—or not serve—your ads to its users.

And you might too. Thanks to Reactions, you may someday be able choose to serve ads to people who have already loved your kinds of programs. In the future, you might be able to  avoid serving silly content when your prospects are in unhappy moods. Or maybe steer clear of that angry emoji entirely.

Facebook isn’t outright saying any of this, but once upon a time Mark Zuckerberg also pushed off suggestions that the site become an advertising platform. I’m sure he’d argue that it still is not one, but if you use digital marketing to recruit and enroll your future students, Facebook’s data could be priceless to you. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Datalogix—Facebook’s partner in data collection—has personal information on almost every American household.  Do you think they’ll share it with you?

Find out just what Facebook advertising can do for your school. Contact the HigherEd Geeks and we’ll show you how.

~Linda Emma