Twitter officially changed from stars to hearts and likes instead of favourites on November 3rd. A lot of people were not happy, a lot of people were “not feeling it” and there has even been a Google Chrome extension developed to bring back the stars on the desktop. I was even unsure myself but I have since come round to enjoying the change more.
Some people said that they felt like their engagement had gone down and that they were using the button less. However the data doesn’t lie and Twitter’s SVP of product, Kevin Weil was at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco yesterday where he shared with the crowd that the switch to hearts is not stopping activity.
In fact, it turns out that activity is actually up by some margin in the short time that the switch has been in place.
"With the change from favorites to likes we've seen a 6% increase in like activity in just the first week." –@kevinweil
— Robi Ganguly (@rganguly) November 10, 2015
.@kevinweil says that people are Liking (??) 6% more than they were favoriting (??) on Twitter. Easier to understand, he says.
— Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) November 10, 2015
According to Weil and Twitter the reason for the improved engagement is simple, “Its easier to understand.”
To be honest, despite what you feel about the heart replacing the star you can’t deny that it does make sense. The heart is a universal recognised symbol which people instantly understand and associate with. The increase in activity is 6% for existing users and 9% for new users.
Weil said at the summit that:
“We put a lot of thought into a change as fundamental as replacing star with heart. We tested it a bunch of different ways across a bunch of different countries. Trying different icons, different words.”
He is not exaggerating either. I have seen the heart come and go on different profiles I run over the past number of months. Twitter have not just dived in here, this is something that has been extensively tested over different countries and a wide array of users.
Of course the argument against them is completely understandable. It is difficult to get people to think and act with the favourite button one way and then suddenly swap out the meaning just like that. It takes time for people to adapt and get used to the change.
Clearly the heart is here to stay however as Twitter is already seeing an improvement in engagement across the board so for the stubborn ones among us, we are sorry to tell you the stars will definitely not be returning.