Thumbnail image for shutterstock_119382868.jpg

In the world of social media management, there's never a dull moment. Algorithms change, new platforms arrive and there is always new functionality to figure out. Such is the case with a new feature Facebook is rolling out, but hasn't provided any information about. I'm talking about Facebook page ratings.


Making Sense of Facebook Ratings 

Ratings themselves aren't new. They've lived within the timeline of Facebook pages for awhile. What is new is this: at the top of Facebook pages, under the cover photo and among the page name and about section, there is a star rating associated with the page. The ratings began showing up about a month ago. 

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 5.10.26 PM.png

Since then, there's been much speculation about how these ratings, now significantly more visible than ever before, will impact brands on Facebook. Everyone has a different take. Kristin Luke of Investment News said the new ratings are "something every [financial] adviser with a Facebook business page should be nervous about" while Hubspot thinks "For pretty much all brands — big and small — this is a wonderful thing." 

Regardless of how you feel about the ratings, there are still unanswered questions about how ratings are averaged and how brands can manage them overall. Here's what we know.

  • Ratings Are Not Yet Available for Every Page: Ratings have not been rolled out to all pages and appear to be limited to pages that have an associated address, since they are most likely to have received star reviews from mobile Facebook users. 
  • Not All Reviews Will Show Up On Your Page: Since users can set the privacy settings on their reviews — limiting them to be seen by only friends and family or by the general public, not all reviews will show up on your page. However, all reviews, whether positive or not, will affect the overall rating of the page. Should a negative review be made but restricted to a specific audience, brands may not be able to follow up or resolve customer issues. 
  • A Like Isn't Factored In: Your page could have a million fans, but if there are only two reviews and they're negative, your page rating will be based on them and not your cult following. 

Unanswered Questions

What we don't know, however, is a much longer list. Recently Jay Baer, a social media and content strategist, compiled a list of questions still unanswered. Among them are: 

  • How many people rated this business?
  • Do more recent ratings receive extra credit?
  • Do these ratings impact how/whether content from this business is shown in the news feed?
  • Can ratings be used to target advertising? (i.e. only show my ad to people who have rated my business)

I'd also like to know if these ratings might show up in Facebook like boxes or widgets embedded outside Facebook or if they'll show up in searches on Facebook. 

Facebook hasn't released much about the ratings or issued an FAQ to help us learn more. Until it does, we'll continue to experiment and share our experiences.

Looking at the big picture, Facebook page ratings could potentially change the way users engage with brands. In a way, it could drive traffic to Facebook pages, considering that's the only way you can check out a brand's ratings. Additionally, if brands are able to somehow target those who leave reviews, it could make it easier to leverage brand loyalists even further.

Still, because ratings can be hidden from brands, there is still the possibility that fraudulent reviews could taint a brand's ratings. Much like anything Facebook does, you can be sure marketers everywhere will be paying attention. 

Title image by faysal (Shutterstock).