Unannounced desktop feature enables users to find highest rated businesses in their area on Facebook.
Early in November, Facebook prompted me with a carousel to review locations I had visited around this time last year.
This early move by Facebook to create more relevant community feedback content for businesses seems especially relevant now that we’ve seen the unannounced feature launch of facebook.com/services. This is the desktop-only feature that has been live for about a month now, as Facebook indicated to the Vice President of Strategy and Insight, Greg Sterling with the Local Search Association.
The service categories are quite extensive; there are at least 85 categories at this time in the ‘explore other services’ section of the experience, and more appear as prompts when inputting a search.
The results list does not appear to overly favor the rankings and, in fact, the ordering and display of these businesses is not yet clear. Given the amount of information Facebook has on its users, it is more likely a relevance algorithm based on user behavior or ‘friend’ reviews.
Search Engine Land reported different results when logged in or logged out while searching. Listed results include a map, adjacent areas with relevant results and similar categories, and business information includes contact information, hours, review snippets and a link to the location’s Facebook page.
What this means is that now, not being on Facebook is a bigger risk for multi-location businesses than the challenge of managing these listings. There are more than 50 million businesses with reviews that Facebook can pull from.
Facebook has plenty of room for improvement of this type of content, especially around the challenges of maintaining these listings for franchise and multi-location businesses. The social giant has really improved not only its offerings to SMBs, but also its perception among the SMB community; in fact, according to Alignable’s Q3 2015 small business NPS report published October 20, Facebook is still ranked well above Yelp in terms of SMB satisfaction (in the top 10; while Yelp is at the bottom of the list and down 66 points).
It’s still early and time will determine how successful this offering will be, but it’s clear that Facebook intends to offer enhancements in the business listings and ratings space. This is likely making Yelp a bit nervous right now.