Changes to Facebook Ratings and Reviews Are Critical to All Businesses, Especially Restaurants

August 15, 2014

Recent changes to Facebook timelines affected all business pages. On the desktop version, the right-hand sidebar and buttons across the top of the page have been removed. Facebook also added new features that have the power to make a profound impact on businesses.

Ratings Are Now Prominent
One change that could make or break some businesses, especially restaurants, is the new location of the business rating. A large star-rating system is now located immediately under the business logo on the desktop version, and permanently ordered first in the list of the lefthand sidebar items. In fact, it’s probably the first thing most people notice. A hover over the star-ratings on the desktop version shows an instant breakdown of how many reviews have contributed to each number of stars, and the number of likes and visits lie immediately below.

Reviews Can Not Be Ignored
A permanent reviews section now lives in the left-hand column on the desktop version as well. While that module can be moved down the page by moving other sections up (such as photos or apps), it can not be removed. One click on ratings links to a full page of reviews.

Yelp, TripAdvisor and Foursquare Get Bumped
The reviews page has an area where restaurants can tie in links to Yelp, TripAdvisor and Foursquare. Most restaurants had those review sites pulled in to the previous layouts prominently through the app tabs across the top of the page. One click on the tab would open a full page of reviews. By including those links smaller off to the right on the Facebook reviews page, they are essentially pushed aside, with Facebook’s reviews taking center stage. With the prominence of these reviews on the Facebook page, it is unlikely that many users will ever venture off to the other sites.

Mobile - Ratings Could Make or Break
On the mobile app, the map, phone hours and menu have moved to the most prominent position just below the header, but the ratings come next, followed by the likes, check-ins and reviews. You can't change this order, and those ratings and reviews become unavoidable.


All if this is good news for some businesses, but potentially damaging for others, especially restaurants. Maintenance of Facebook reviews for many restaurants has been ad hoc, especially compared with the effort dedicated to Yelp and TripAdvisor. With the new prominence of these reviews, it will need to become a core part of the social media program.