Facebook Switches from Reviews and Ratings to Recommendations

Facebook Recommendations have replaced ratings and reviews

Facebook reviews are looking very different these days. The social media giant has moved away from a five-star rating system in favor of a simpler recommendation system. Users now answer “yes” or “no” to the question “Do you recommend (this place)?” On the latest reviews, you will see a status of recommendation instead of the rating for the latest reviews.

Why Did Facebook Switch to Recommendations?

Facebook is not the first company to make this move. Last year, Netflix replaced its star rating system with a thumbs up, thumbs down system. They had noticed that the star ratings seemed inconsistent with the user’s actual viewing habits; viewers would give movies or shows a star rating based on its perceived overall quality instead of what they actually watched.

Facebook’s transition to recommendations in place of the star rating signals that they have taken note of Netflix’ move. Facebook has always aimed to create highly personalized experiences for their users, and the binary Yes/No Recommendation system may do a better job of training their algorithm to suggest what users will like.

200% Higher Engagement

Facebook can also count on seeing more engagement from their users. Netflix saw a 200% increase in user engagement after their switch to thumbs up, thumbs down. One of the main reasons for this increase is that the binary rating is easier to do. Whether or not you had a somewhat mixed experience with a business, all you have to do is react with your gut to say if you’d recommend it or not, instead of having to think of a rating out of five.

More Accurate Rating

This simpler system also leads to a wider spectrum of users leaving reviews. Five-star rating systems tend to only see engagement from people who had an outstanding experience or a horrible experience, without much engagement from those in the middle. In other words, you get a disproportionate number of 1 and 5 star ratings.  By simplifying to Yes/No Recommendations, Facebook is aiming to give its users a more accurate view of a business.

Will Other Review Sites Move Away from 5 Star Ratings?

It’s unclear if this is how the review industry will trend.  The combo of five-star rating system and detailed reviews is generally regarded as the best way to help consumers make complex decisions.  And perhaps the Yes/No Recommendation system is only a fit for Facebook and Google because they have high user engagement and can make smart suggestions based on user behavior, which is not something most other sites can do.  But Facebook and Netflix, which test more aggressively than many of the most innovative companies in the world, may have found an insight that gets them farther ahead of the competition.

7 Free Marketing Tools for Local Businesses

Local businesses often ask us how they can do a better job marketing their business online. However, businesses don’t always need to invest in big advertising spend or fancy tools. Here are 7 free marketing tools any business owner can use.


1. Yelp’s free, real-time email notifications for new reviews

Engaging in friendly communication with negative reviewers of your business can be a powerful way to earn back business and demonstrate professionalism in a public forum. Yelp offers free, real-time alerts each time a new review is left on your business. This allows you to see when a review is left and respond in a more timely manner. If you have multiple Yelp listings, you may want to set up an email distribution list for routing the alerts to the right folks. This would also help you avoid the hassle of resetting the email address of the recipients if employees leave the company.

2. Hootsuite Free Plan

Many businesses use social media to build their web presence and engage their audience. Managing high engagement across multiple social channels can feel chaotic without organization. Hootsuite offers a free plan that allows management of 3 different social media platforms, allowing you to login with one password and instantly switch between each profile. The management tools include basic analytics, scheduled social media posts, and integration of two RSS feeds.

3. Reputology’s Review Generator

For a limited time, Reputology is offering a free tool that helps you convert your satisfied customers into promoters for your business. You can create a feedback form that is shared and offered to your customers. If the customer reports being unsatisfied, the form directs their info to you, allowing you to address any concerns before they post their complaints online. If your customers indicate they are happy, they can route them to a review site where they can share their experience with others. This allows you to build your business’s reputation while addressing any existing problems.

4. Free Google My Business Listing 

Google may not be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of review sites, but Google has surpassed all other sites by number of new reviews. You want to create a free Google My Business so that your business appears when people submit relevant Google searches in your area or using Google Maps. Customize your profile by adding quality photos along with well written descriptions that will show up close to the top on a Google search. Google Maps will also use GPS to prompt visitors to write reviews, so having a listing on Google My Business can help you gain traction on your online ratings.


5. Facebook Business Page

Second only to Google in terms of number of new reviews, Facebook is often overlooked as a review site, but it is a valuable platform for free marketing. Make your page look great with quality photos of your business, detailed descriptions, and regular posts that share engaging content to your audience. You can also add a call-to-action button that makes it easy for visitors to be directed to your business’ full website.


6. Instagram

Business profiles on Instagram can gain lots of traction by producing visually compelling content to draw in and engage consumers. And some have taken advantage of Instagram’s video feature to create short videos that are fun and humorous, like Dapper & Wise Roasters in Portland, OR. This sort of sharable content has helped this small coffee roaster with suburban roots to gain a substantial following relative to other roasters that have been in the competitive Portland coffee scene longer.

7. American Express Openforum

American Express Openforum is a valuable resource that features advice, tips, and informational articles from guest writers across various industries. This site is a great spot to turn to for any small business owner looking for some free guidance, and answers some of the tougher questions such as how to handle negative reviews, what to do if someone is boycotting your business, and more.

Respond to reviews directly from Reputology or Hootsuite

In addition to aggregating your Google and Facebook reviews into one place, Reputology also lets you reply to reviews directly from our interface.  No more clicking in and out, from site to site.

Screenshot #1: Monitor reviews and track replies from Reputology.

Screenshot #2: Post replies to Facebook and Google reviews directly the dashboard.

Our review monitoring app for Hootsuite also lets Hootsuite users to respond to reviews directly from the Hootsuite dashboard.

Screenshot 3: Monitor reviews along with all of your social channels from Hootsuite.

Screenshot #4: Reply to reviews from Hootsuite.

If you’d like to learn more about how Reputology’s technology can help your organization monitor and reply to reviews, contact us.