Last week, Facebook announced that it would no longer allow ‘like-gating’. What does that mean, and how will it affect you?
What Is Like Gating?
Like-gating is a relatively common Facebook practice where different content is shown to fans and non-fans. Before Facebook updated their layout, Facebook tabs were very prominent, and companies could force fans to ‘like’ their page in order to access a specific tab. That tab could contain anything from a competition to voucher codes or useful content.
Most pages used a third-party app to determine if a user was a fan or not, and show them the relevant content. For example, for a fan, your competition could say; “Click to enter!”. For a non-fan, it could say; “Like our page, and then click to enter!”, complete with an arrow highlighting the ‘Like’ button.
This functionality will stop working in apps from November 5th, and no new apps will gain access to it.
What Do The Rules Say?
Facebook’s new rules read;
“You must not incentivise 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 incentivise people to login to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s page.”
Facebook have released a statement explaining the decision, which reads;
“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 users and advertisers alike.”
While it may feel that growing your Facebook fans will now be more difficult, there may well be benefits. With the reduction in organic reach on Facebook pages, your posts are only seen by 6 people for every 100 fans that you have. If some of those six are not really interested in your page, but wanted to win a competition, they are unlikely to engage with your content, and could unlike your page or hide the content. Both ignoring the content and responding negatively will stop Facebook showing the content to other people. So, only showing content to your real fans is beneficial.
What Should You Do Now?
This change won’t have any affect on current fans, so you won’t see a big drop in numbers. You might, however, see that your likes increase more slowly than usual if you tend to run a lot of competitions.
Instead of incentivising users with a prize, try incentivising them with great content. Spend the money that would have gone on a prize on advertising, and target it to the right people. Make shareable, helpful and genuinely useful content.
Soon you’ll find that your audience is thriving, even without like-gating.