Like it or not, a Dislike button may be coming to Facebook. So says Mark Zuckerberg, CEO. He announced the proposed addition to the social media networking giant in a town hall-style event at his company’s headquarters recently in Menlo Park, California. And while the Dislike button is still being tested, the likelihood of its addition is very strong. What does this mean to users and what will it mean to marketers and brands?
For years, many users have wanted to express something other than Like on Facebook. “Not every moment is a good moment if you share something that’s sad like a refugee crisis that touches you, or a family member passes away, it may not be comfortable to like that post….I do think it’s important to give people more options than liking it,” Zuckerberg said.
The Dislike button will allow people to express empathy for causes, companies, actions and each other, something Zuckerberg wants to offer for his platform.
For marketers, if this flies, they will gain valuable, informative data. If you dislike something specific, perhaps you will like its opposite. Not a chocolate fan, what about vanilla? Not a Mercedes fan? What about a Lexus? Soon they will know more about us than we may know about ourselves and can target advertising accordingly. The possibilities are endless.
Also, prior to the Dislike button, there was only a way to monitor the good things. Now, with the new button, competitors, the news media and customers will be able to see both Likes and Dislikes about a product or company and respond accordingly. This information can be interpreted in many ways. If you do the wrong thing, a deluge of negatives could appear signaling something is wrong. And that can not only be harmful, but it can stick.
Some fear the Dislike button could become a bullying tool, both for people and of brands. And, unlike the Like button, which many subsequently Unlike, it is predicted the Dislike button won’t be so easily removed. People are far less likely to go back and remove the Dislike, so it may have more sticking power.
Marketers will be challenged to learn how to deal with this new information and how it affects brands and marketing. Is the Dislike for the messenger or the product? How do they interpret the results? What exactly do they target? It’s a brand new field of data with customized advertising geared just for us, and our Likes and Dislikes.