Facebook is now testing the use of star ratings prominently displayed on Pages, in an effort to give users more information on beyond the ambiguous “Like” and to aid in discovery.
Facebook Pages have become a big part of businesses’ social media efforts. Pages are helpful in engaging both potential customers and loyal clients alike, and Facebook’s targeted advertising allows owners of business establishments an easier way to focus on their intended markets.
However, there is a concern with the “Like” aspect of Pages. While users can easily Like a page, this metric is considered sentiment-deprived. It’s either one Likes a page or not. This means that the number of likes might indicate how many people follow the Page itself, but it does not indicate whether they actually endorse the business. For instance, a Page might have thousands of likes, but one cannot determine whether users who have liked a Page actually endorse its owner or content. Some may just be Liking in order to bookmark the page or follow updates.
Facebook’s ratings system is not exactly new, as the social network has been using the 1-5 scale ratings system on local searches and for rating content and apps on one’s Timeline. This latest update, however, displays the star rating at a more prominent part of the page, right below the title.
Highlighting a Page’s ratings has several implications for both the user and the owner of the page. For users, the rating signifies user sentiment — whether the audience actually thinks the Page (or the business, service or product) is good. For a Page owner, getting a good star rating also encourages users to click on content from one’s News Feed. It also affords the Page owner instant feedback from its audience.
According to a Facebook representative, this move is intended “to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them.”
At this point, it is not yet clear whether displaying the Page ratings will be mandatory or optional, but a ratings display is likely to require businesses to become more interactive with its audience, in terms of providing better engagement and customer service through the social network. This update is also likely to change the dynamics of having a presence on Facebook, which will now go beyond simply accumulating Likes.