You may have heard, but the usage of so-called Like-gates is no longer allowed on Facebook. No, don’t cringe, it’s not that big a deal. Read along and discover why I approve of Facebook’s move.

Recently Facebook announced it was going to forbid the use of Like-Gating, more specifically, Facebook has made this announcement:

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.

Basically, you can’t use any of Facebook’s plugins – this includes the like-button, share-button, etc. – or the action of liking a Page as the basis for offering rewards. The definition of awards is very broad here, it is not limited to physical things a user might win but also covers the availability of content like seeing your page or getting to see a video.

Why this not a big deal

Facebook has said it themselves when explaining the move:

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.

Many marketeers have already been pushing in this direction for some time and this is also something we here at BuboBox agree with wholeheartedly. Our entire ambassador platform revolves around identifying the small percentage of your consumers that are true ambassadors to your brand and one of the important aspects of doing this is knowing who is genuinely interested in your business.

Like gating costs you money

If you think about it, like-gating forces people to do something they don’t really want to do. They may like your page to participate in a contest because you’re giving away a gadget (that may even be completely unrelated to your company) or because they want to vote for a friend. Does that mean they are interested in your brand? No, it doesn’t. Now when you get to the point where you start paying for Facebook ads and you target them to people who like your page, a lot more people could be reached by these ads. The problem however is that you’re paying to reach people who are profiled as fans of your company but because of the like-gating you did, a lot of them are not interested at all in seeing your ads. The same goes for targetting people who like other pages (your competitors for example,) if they use like-gating, you’re paying for an audience that’s (at least partly) irrelevant.

Organic reach works better when you have a good audience

A lot of people have mentioned that organic reach has taken a drop lately, while others are saying they have not been affected or even seen growth. Now, this is mostly conjecture, since I couldn’t find any hard data to support my argument. But it is a fact that Facebook does a lot of filtering when it decides which posts to show their users (an average Facebook user sees about 300 posts per day out of the roughly 1500 posts there are for him or her to see.) Since Facebook tries to increase relevancy of the user’s feed, many fans that do not actively engage with your page seem like a likely candidate to decrease how relevant Facebook estimates your content.

Also, when your fans are actively engaging with the content from your page, these interaction will show up on their friends’ feeds and hey, presto, your fans are behaving like ambassadors! BuboBox likes ambassadors.

Like-gates are a nightmare for Mobile users

My personal favourite. I shouldn’t repeat this, but I will anyway. Mobile usage keeps growing (even my mon bought a smartphone.) So it’s very important to make your campaigns responsive and provide a nice user experience for these mobile users. But what happens when you add a like-gate? Well, since mobile users can’t view your campaigns on Facebook itself, they will have to visit them on regular webpages. A like-gate on a regular page will require your mobile user to click a button to connect with Facebook, be redirected to his or her Facebook application, allow permissions to see their likes, then be redirected to your campaign again and if the user does not like the page yet, click the like button and be redirected again. That does not sound like fun now, does it?

Email addresses trump likes anyday!

Instead of forcing people to like your page to enter a contest, why not ask their name and email address? This way you can contact them easily in the future, something that likes don’t do. Ofcourse, the threshold to participating is bigger than with a like-gate, but the again, you get more value too.

Conclusion

While it might force you to rethink your social media marketing strategy, the disappearance of Like-Gates could actually help you with building a more genuine fan base that actually engages with your brand instead of scrolling past your posts. Finally, as I like to use proverbs and quotes, consider the following from the bible:

“If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)

As the sharpened ax will require less strength to achieve success, so will your business flourish from having a quality audience insteaded of a whole bunch of uninterested likers.