Over 50 Million businesses have a Facebook page. And while Likes are a nice vanity metric to track, the Reviews in a Facebook page has a direct impact on the business' brand  perception. This is especially so for local businesses, many of which do  not have a website. What's more: Google displays a business' Facebook  rankings in its Knowledge Panel. Reviews also have a 15% weightage in  Google’s algorithms while deciding whether a business appears in the Local 3-pack or not

All this makes Facebook page reviews kind-of a big deal! So, when  Facebook switches from a Review system to a Recommendation system, it’s  important that businesses understand the implications.

In the old Review system, a customer of a business would leave a  star rating (on a 1 - 5 scale) and leave her comments. This was very  similar to Google Reviews. However, in the new Recommendation system, a  customer would simply give a binary Yes/No answer to the question: "Do you recommend <this business>?"

Comments are still allowed under the new system, with a minimum of 25 characters. So are emojis.

So, what are the implications of this change?

  1. We can no longer aggregate the ranking score like it was done before. Goodbye 4.5 Stars from 972 users! Now, it’s a simple X people recommended & Y people did not recommend your business
  2. The recommendation system is sharper and can be more powerful  than reviews. Since a customer is forced to answer Yes or No, a  significant count of Yes'es represents a clear endorsement for a  business from its happy customers
  3. While the transition is happening, businesses need to internally  rely on 2 sets of metrics: the legacy average star rating (which would  be frozen in time) & the new count of Yes'es versus No'es
  4. It’s not yet clear how Google would treat this change. Currently,  Google displays a business' Facebook average page ranking in both its  knowledge panel and search results. We haven't started seeing it display  the recommendations yet
  5. We anticipate that Facebook will incorporate Recommendations from friends in their ads. This can become very powerful! Instead of a plain  advertisement, imagine seeing an ad that is enhanced with information  like Recommended by Alan and 4 of your friends. It would be a neat way of incorporating social proof in advertisements.

In fact, we believe that point #5 above may be one of the drivers  in moving away from the star-rating scheme. For instance: if you rate a  business as a 3, are you really recommending  it to your friends or not? It’s not clear. However, a clear Yes/No recommendation sends a strong signal. It removes ambiguity.

The flip-side is that the new scheme may result in a fewer number  of people recommending a business, with only the strongest opinions  heard! But Facebook seems to have concluded that it’s worth the price.  In this sense, they have taken a leaf out of the Net Promoter Score  calculation - where the passives are ignored!