Facebook & Google vs Yelp
Customer perception has always been an integral part of a restaurant’s success. As more consumers use the Internet to search and find information, online reviews have become a driving force in purchase decisions. More than 88% of consumers incorporate reviews into their purchasing decisions and trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. When presented with equal pricing, consumers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a restaurant with higher ratings than lower ratings. 90% of consumers state that their purchase decisions are influenced by positive online reviews.
The most popular review platform in the past ten years has been Yelp, but their grip on online reviews has started to loosen with the rise of Facebook and Google reviews. With more than 68% of consumers now going to social media sites to read reviews, more business owners should start focusing their attention on platforms that will provide them long term benefits.
The Benefits of Google Reviews
Google is the #1 search engine in the world, and since its launch of business ratings, it has also become a significant source for reviews for local businesses. Google ratings are more visible to potential customers, allow current customers an easy process to write reviews and offers less competition. The impact and opportunity helps Google reign as one of the top review platforms.
In contrast to Yelp, Google’s review policy encourages asking for reviews, and they give you a link to make it even easier. Google presents all reviews written to online visitors.
Additionally, Google does not engage in questionable sales tactics to pressure business owners into buying ads. As a business owner, it’s much easier to partner with Google than Yelp.
When it comes to your restaurant’s online reputation, Google is perfect for increased visibility, and continues to edge out online review competition.
The Rise of Facebook Reviews
There are more than two billion user profiles and 40 million small business pages active on Facebook. Facebook is the largest social network with very active users. In 2013 Facebook rolled out a reviews option on pages and totally changed the way small businesses collect reviews today.
Leaving a review on Facebook has become the most efficient way for customers to write a review. Customers prefer to leave reviews on Facebook since they are frequently on the platform. In a survey by Review Trackers, it actually beat both Yelp and Google in user preference.
As a large bonus when you receive a rating on Facebook, Google also shows your Facebook rating. So, receiving a review for your restaurant on Facebook also means gaining a review on Google!
A Shift in Reviews
The shift to Facebook and Google’s review platforms is also changing who leaves reviews. Reviews are becoming shorter and more positive.
Traditionally customers had to wait until they got home to log onto their computer and write a review. This usually came after a bad experience, because the negative, lasting impression was still there. As more web traffic is mobile, customers are more inclined to write a short review about their positive experience while still at (or in) the business. With convenience, restaurants receive fewer negative reviews and a more accurate representation of an average customer’s experience.
Google and Facebook have become #1 and #2 for online reviews. In the span of a few years, reviews are being written more on social media (Facebook) and search engines (Google) than they are on review-only sites including Yelp. This migration will make researching businesses easy and convenient, with quick access to customer reviews. Additionally, since most customers are usually logged into their Google and/or Facebook account, there’s almost no extra step to take to leave a review. No extra steps equals more reviews.
This also encourages businesses, especially restaurants, to have a Google business profile and a Facebook Page. With restaurants and consumers constantly engaged with Google and Facebook, it only makes sense that these platforms become dominant.
Online reviews can make or break restaurants. Customers provide a bird’s eye view of where restaurants excel or miss the mark, and they are eager to share their opinions. Customers have consistently shown a demand for reviews and search engines are now incorporating ratings in search rankings.
Before investing money and time into platforms that are decreasing in engagement and effectiveness, restaurants should consider encouraging reviews on platforms that are more relevant. Google and Facebook are leading the way, and it’s important you take the time to create a strategy for your restaurant to get the most of your online reviews.