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?
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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!