From November ‘like-gates’ will be pulled down by Facebook. Connor James from Permitz Group explains what that means for brands and marketers.
Facebook has announced the changes in an attempt to ‘improve’ the quality of Facebook page fans. This will have an impact on brands using a like-gate to ensure that fans like a page to enter a competition.
What is changing?
Facebook previously allowed you to ‘force’ someone to like your Facebook Page to enter a competition or other incentive, such as downloadable content via a ‘like-gate.’
Here is an explanation of the change from Facebook’s developers post:
You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike..
When are fans really fans?
Facebook’s concern is that like-gating encourages individuals to like a page where they are really only interesting in entering a competition.
The cynical view might be that ‘like-gating’ redirects attention away from Facebook advertising. One could also argue that it is up to brands themselves to determine which strategy results in better quality fans and that Facebook should concentrate on ensuring those fans are reached.
In any event, Facebook’s practice of continually changing weighting of company posts in individual’s feeds makes life difficult for page admins- with or without fans.
How will the change impact competitions?
Well the obvious implication is that you will not be able to use ‘like-gating’ any more. The unanswered question is whether Facebook will next prohibit (in its Page Terms) brands from requiring a ‘like’ to enter a competition under the individual competition terms and conditions (i.e. without the ‘like-gate’ in place but with a requirement under the competition rules).
Facebook’s changes are important for brands currently or intending on using the ‘like- gate’ feature. Overall, if the change does improve the quality of fans for brands then that is a good thing.