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Goodbye Reviews, Hello Recommendations

writing on the wild side

Goodbye Reviews, Hello Recommendations

Last month saw a huge change to Facebook reviews as they transition to a new format of ‘recommendations’. We now say goodbye reviews and 5-star ratings and move towards recommendations. Essentially, consumers wanting to review a business on Facebook will now be asked ‘Do you recommend <insert business name’? The answer is given by clicking yes or no.

Facebook is still showing previous 5-star ratings the page has received and also features content letting you know about the change from reviews to recommendations.  Already received reviews have been converted somewhat into ‘xxx recommends…’ 

Pages still says review but recommendations are here. On the left side navigation of a Facebook business page the tab is still called ‘Reviews’ however the newly launched Recommendations are housed there too. 

Rich endorsements have been added as well but not for everyone. For hospitality – think cafes, bars and restaurants – the recommendation process is also asking consumers to select ‘tags’ that contribute to them recommending or not recommending the business. Facebook calls this ‘rich endorsements’. When a recommendation is posted it will display the ‘tags’ along with it.

Facebook has announced that ‘tags’ will expand into other industries we’re just not sure of the timing.

It would seem from Facebook’s announcement that  “tags” will expand into other industries as they didn’t note any limitations. So maybe it’s coming soon for other verticals.

An area that has plagued many small business pages on Facebook is spam or fake reviews. With this most recent update, Facebook has also announced that authenticity is a priority (about time too) and users as well as Facebook page owners will be able to more easily report recommendations for the following reasons:

  • Recommendation not relevant
  • Unfair recommendation
  • Nudity
  • Violence
  • Harassment
  • Suicide or Self-injury
  • Spam
  • Drugs
  • Hate Speech

The process once the recommendation is reported is not completely clear, but any and all steps towards authentic customer content is a plus.

Just like any other big change from Facebook, we are left with more questions than answers, and this switch from reviews to recommendations is no different.  Here are some of the things I’ll be watching and trying to understand more about in the coming weeks and months.

  • What will happen with the old reviews?  At some point all of the reviews will be out of date. If, or how long they will stay are questions yet to answered.
  • Facebook uses the 5-star rating on many page aspects and as part of other business snippets in posts, will this go away?
  • Will there be a numeric translation for recommendations?  Will a YES be a 5 and a NO be a 1? Will they display that 92% of customers recommend this business?  I’d think they would want to simplify the overall experience data somehow.
  • Will Facebook business pages lose their rich snippet stars in the Google search results?  I think this would decrease clicks and traffic for business pages and Facebook overall.

I could go on and on at this point, but let’s wait and see.  The new format will prove challenging in the short term as the move from a 5-star rating format will throw off reporting on reviews for many services and companies.

Any questions just sing out.