Survey: Facebook the Top Mobile App for Writing Local Reviews

Facebook PlacesAccording to the newly published “Local Mobile Trends Study” from the Local Search Association (conducted by Thrive Analytics) Facebook is the by far the app of choice when writing a local review on a smartphone or tablet.

The survey, which involved just over 1,000 US smartphone owners, asked how many people had written reviews and then about the preferred device for writing them. Among those under 53 years old, about 70% said they had written a review online.

Facebook local reviews

Roughly 15% of users preferred to write reviews using their smartphones or tablets. The remaining 85% said they preferred to do so on the PC.

The majority of mobile review writers said that Facebook was the app of choice vs. Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, OpenTable and “other.” This finding again illustrates Facebook’s significant opportunity in local, which the site has yet to fully seize upon.

Separately the survey, among other things, asked about local search activity by category. The following were the top categories where local search activity was concentrated during the past 30 days (prior to the survey date):

  • Restaurants — 47%
  • Pizza — 44%
  • Retail stores — 38%
  • Banks — 22%
  • Doctors/hospitals — 19%
  • Travel services — 18%
  • Insurance — 16%
  • Auto dealers — 14%
  • Auto repair  — 14%
  • Pet care — 13%
  • Real estate — 11%

In other words, respondents said that 47% of their local search activity was tied to restaurants and 11% related to real estate.

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3 Responses to “Survey: Facebook the Top Mobile App for Writing Local Reviews”

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  5. Dave says at

    In the aggregate per my limited research there are an extraordinary number of Facebook reviews.  I took a look at a limited number of restaurant (and pizza places) in the DC region.  It spanned the entire metro region and included all types, and price points (from places that sell pizza by the slice to steak houses).  It included city and suburbs.  Total volume of FB reviews was close to yelp and both far outpaced google.  OT is a different animal insofar as it only applies to restaurants making reservations on its app.  It only applied to 15% of the restaurants in my survey.  I don’t believe it really falls into the above survey for that reason.

    Others trail significantly.  

    Oh….and there is one other “little matter” that nobody seems to realize…certainly not the reviewers and not the smb’s either.

    The FB reviews don’t go on one’s timeline.  

    W.H.A.T. ?   He said rhetorically and in astonishment.

    I’d bet anything that FB knows it is getting this incredible volume of reviews.  They are seriously more valuable than any other kind of review….if and only if they went on your timeline so your FB  friends would see them.

    But they aren’t.  They sit on the smb’s local fan page.  And….actual traffic onto a fan page is incredibly small.  In fact FB’s algo cut back on the amount of visibility on fan pages.  On top of that while engagement with fan pages was marginalized actual visits to a fan page is incredibly small.  

    So…deep inside of FB’s corporate offices they are trying to figure out how to unleash this powerful monster in a way that will result in significant monetization on the local front.

    I’d put money on it.   Meanwhile, Greg:  All that eager active use and willingness to spread reviews on FB fan pages…they aren’t being seen.  And I bet scarcely anybody realizes it.

    Test it yourself.  Write some FB reviews.  See if they go on your timeline.  Ask your FB friends to write FB reviews and see if you see them.   Then write an FB review and follow it up with a “review on your timeline.  In fact tag the smb.  See how it works.

    Its the hidden giant and monster of reviews.

  6. Greg Sterling says at

    This is very interesting. Thanks Dave. Yes if FB could make reviews more visible it would start to shift user behavior and might make the site/app more of a utility.

  7. Rob Reed says at

    Great study! The Facebook Review volume we’re seeing for our brand partners is just incredible. What’s so great about them is that the brand can easily monitor and filter for each level of review (1 – 5 stars), and they have several easy ways to respond.

    For the 4- and 5-star reviews, they can simply “Like” them to acknowledge the customer’s affinity. They can reply to these same customers with a simple, “Thank you” or something more specific to the review. And for the 1- and 2-star reviews, the brand can direct the customer to a preferred customer service channel (phone, email) or address the issue right there. Often, customers will leave a 1-star rating without any review. In these cases, the brand might inquire as to why in order to get critical feedback. 

    What makes these so much more valuable than Wall Posts is that they are specific to a location. So the brand doesn’t have to decipher where it happened. And they have a built-in qualitative value through the star rating. 

    On the flip side, if brands are not monitoring these on their official Facebook local pages or tracking duplicate (rogue) local pages, the ratings and reviews are still happening. It presents a significant risk for the brand and, in some cases, actual legal risk.

    There is no question that consumers are making buying decisions based on Facebook Ratings and Reviews. It’s critical for brands to manage these, as well as Google+ Local, Foursquare, Yelp, and even Instagram. Because Instagram often includes photo proof of why the customer had a bad brand experience. 

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