Facebook says goodbye to reviews function (and hello to recommendations)
Everyone has an opinion, and everyone has a Facebook profile. Facebook Recommendations combines the two – but what is it, exactly?
As the biggest social media company on the planet, Facebook is a virtual home to an incredible 2.23 billion people. It’s no surprise, then, that many people view Facebook as the public face of the internet and, in turn, the public face of many businesses that have an online presence. After all, two-thirds of Facebook users visit the page of a business they are interested in at least once a week and one-third use the social media platform to seek advice about products or services they are interested in.
Until now, Facebook provided a way for people to make their opinions heard about a particular business by using Reviews. Users could give a business a star rating and leave a comment about their experience – a great meal at a local restaurant, or a faulty spare tire from a local mechanic, for example – for anyone else to see. This was a great way to see varied opinions about a merchant from experienced customers.
Now, Reviews are making way for Recommendations. While Recommendations have been used as an informal way for friends to share experiences and advice, the move is seen as a way to make Recommendations a standard platform for this information.
2 in 3 Facebook users visit the Page of a local business at least once a week.
What are Recommendations?
Recommendations are a fairly recent phenomenon in the world of Facebook. They are about the classic axiom that the best advertisement is word of mouth and the endorsement of someone you trust. If you’re making a post where you’re seeking your friend’s opinions, for example when you’re looking for a local plumber who can fix a leaky tap, Facebook will recommend that you make it a Recommendation post type for your area. Your friends who are connected to you on Facebook will see this and be invited to post their opinions on what service you should use. It’s a flexible, if albeit somewhat haphazard, approach.
The new system Facebook is rolling out to its users streamlines the process. Recommendation posts are now being used as a less direct but, in effect, more honest way of gathering information about what people think about businesses. After all, people are more likely to engage in a frank conversation with their friends about a business experience than write a formal review.
1 in 3 People on Facebook use the platform to look for recommendations and reviews.
With enough recommendations in the system, Facebook’s algorithms can start to detect overall patterns about what people are saying. The new system will link any recommendations that your friends provide to the relevant data about the business and, from there, build a profile that displays results akin to the old Review system but are more personalised and relevant. The search results could be prioritised according to proximity to the user doing the search so, for example, a review of a fast food chain restaurant will show local results first. Alternatively, it could highlight results provided by people who have shown to have provided good advice to others in the past. Users can also give feedback about a particular recommendation in order to train the algorithm about who’s opinions are more useful to them.
Facebook Recommendations combines user-generated content, deep search techniques and the massive database about everyone’s personal interests that Facebook owns to provide a helpful tool for everyone seeking advice, and we’re excited to see how this evolves into the future. To find out more about how we can help your business be found online, contact iFactory today.