Facebook lovers have been calling for it since the Like button was first introduced.
But Mark Zuckerberg recently put the dampeners on Facebook introducing a Dislike button during a Q&A session at the company’s headquarters.
“[Users] want to be able to say that a thing isn’t good and that’s not something that we think is good for the world.
“So we’re not going to build that. I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism on Facebook whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community.”
Zuckerberg has said, though, that the Facebook team are looking at ways for users to express a wider range of emotions and using it as a “force for good”.
Lovely sentiments, but a Dislike button also won’t be happening for business reasons; namely, Facebook advertising revenue.
Will there ever be a Facebook dislike button? Is there a way for it to work, or is it a pipedream? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Fear and loathing
There have been all sorts of papers written on the psychology of advertising. SEX sells, obviously, but FEAR has also been cited as a pretty powerful tool in helping to shift products from shelves.
A certain kind of fear, though – ‘BUY THIS OR DIE’ will only help advertise the lack of creativity in your marketing department…
The fear that advertising focuses on is more a fear of missing out. A fear of being left behind and not being involved with the crowd. The Guardian has a great list of examples including, bizarrely, Plenty’s Juan Sheet.
But there’s a huge difference between fear and outright dislike.
People have been calling for a Dislike button because, as Zuckerberg points out, they want a wider range of emotions to express to friends when they talk about bereavements, accidents, troubled times, and more. If a friend’s grandparent passes away a Dislike is more appropriate than a Like.
For advertisers a Dislike button would just expose them to a world of trouble, and may make them question their social strategy all together.
A Dislike button would be the social equivalent of a tarring and feathering for advertisers with weak campaigns.
The current system works fine for people spending money on Facebook advertising. People can either ignore sponsored posts or Like them. The more likes equals a greater chance of it being seen by others.
Zuckerberg’s fears of negativity being spread has merit. If the Dislike system were to mirror the current one then it’d be a huge catalyst for negativity. People’s feeds would be heavy with things their friends have disliked – advertisements and all.
Even if that weren’t the case then a sponsored post with thousands of dislikes wouldn’t bode well for anybody; advertisers or potential buyers alike. Who would take the time to consider watching an ad populated with Dislikes? Arguments pop up all the time in Facebook comments but the extra negativity of a Dislike counter may be too much for some advertisers to handle.
But isn’t that the responsibility of advertisers, to engage with users and ease their minds? In a perfect world, yes, but the advertising department is usually a loss-making one to raise awareness of the company and its products.
Will a company be happy investing so much time and money to fight battles with potential Dislikers on Facebook? Probably not – and we all know what happens when a social media team loses its cool online…
How effectively are you using social media to connect with your users and spread word of what you do? Let me know below!
To put it simply a Dislike feature would be a negative hurdle for advertisers to consider when Facebook advertising which could put a lot of them off – something Facebook can ill afford to do, no matter how much users want the feature.
Even if advertisers could target pages people dislike, it would still be a negative form of social advertising in a medium that encourages people to feel good and think positively.
Instead Facebook is spending time rolling out other features for advertisers to help them reach their target audience, including:
Calls to action
With Facebook pages seeing nearly a billion visits over October 2014 alone Facebook has decided to unveil CTA features at the top of Pages which is aimed at helping businesses generate more leads.
There are seven buttons in total including Book Now, Contact Us, Use App, Play Game, Shop Now, Sign Up, and Watch Video. The feature will be available globally early in 2015.
Facebook’s new Interest Targeting tool claims to help organisations to reach the right people, and is an expansion of post targeting for Pages. Pages that have enabled the Target and Privacy setting can begin using it immediately.
Interest targeting allows you to – you guessed it – target audiences with specific interests and is a fantastic tool for people that indulge in content marketing. It also perfectly complements other Facebook targeting features including gender, age, language, location, and relationship status.
The above two features show where Facebook earns its money and builds relationships with its advertisers, with targeted marketing that helps people boost their campaigns. Unfortunately I don’t feel that a Dislike button fits in with that aim, especially with Facebook now on the stock market.
The lesson here is that while there are ways of marketing yourself online – even by using aspects of fear in a creative, positive way – that there’s a big difference between sales techniques and negative advertising.
A Dislike button on Facebook would be a negative too far, and potentially help to drive brands away from marketing on Facebook, which would definitely be a negative too far for Zuckerberg and Co.
Thanks for reading our blog and for all your comments and shares in 2014! We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and will be back writing again on Tuesday 06 January 2015.
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(Dislike image: Fox News), Zuckerberg image: