This post from Wired on how advertisers are (at least so far) thrilled and excited about the potential for Facebook Reactions to provide more granular data on how people are interacting with ads is an interesting read. It hits one of the points I also mentioned in my Voce Nation post the other day, which is that while right now all these new options aren’t more finely impacting the News Feed they will, though to what extent remains to be seen.
It also got me thinking there’s a whole other road that Facebook could go down: Sponsored Reactions.
Imagine if these were an available ad unit. Warner Bros. could create a “Serious Batman” emoji that was available for a limited time around the release of Batman v Superman. A phone company could buy a “Happy Android” emoji in advance of the release of a new device. Snapchat’s sponsored geofilters have shown there’s a lot of demand in the new “ad as feature” paradigm, where companies sponsor some new functionality or limited-time feature within the social apps people are using on a regular basis. That kind of thing is not only already in place on Snapchat but also Twitter, where Sponsored Emojis are available for a cool $1m, though that spend also gets you other ad placement.
Facebook has shown a willingness to turn just about everything else on its network into an ad unit. While video ads may be the cash cow for now it’s not hard to imagine a wide range of companies wouldn’t leap at the chance to sponsor a limited-time emoji reaction. And it’s hard to believe that with the success of Snapchat’s sponsored geofilters that Facebook hasn’t introduced something similar on Instagram, where they could easily sell sponsored overlays that add a watermark or other image to the image you’re sharing. Think about the possibilities for Marvel/Disney, who could offer a choice between Captain America or Iron Man that could be added to your photo so you can show your allegiance to Team Cap or Team Tony leading up to Captain America: Civil War.
Expect more and more ads as features to pop up on social networks in the very near future. Snapchat’s success in this regard and the desire by these networks to continue to mine their user base for ad revenue make this an area that’s ripe for growth.