As of November 5, 2014 Like-Gating, or requiring a user to like your page in order to enter a contest or claim a coupon, will no longer be an acceptable practice on Facebook. Though this will have a huge impact on small businesses that have been relying on these tools to boost their Facebook following, the announcement of this change was quite discreet. On August 7, the company simply published a post on their developer blog stating the following:
“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.”
What Does this Mean for Small Businesses?
Clearly, this will lead to the further monetization of Facebook, with businesses force to rely even more heavily on Facebook ads in order to grow their Like counts. But this is not necessarily as bad as it first appears. Here are a two huge benefits that come out of this policy change:
- Uninflated Like Counts: When users begrudgingly like your page simply to enter a contest they’re not adding real value to your Facebook audience. In fact, with this tactic, we’ve seen huge drop-offs in like counts after the contests end. Instead, using Ads and organic growth leads to a Facebook following that has opted of their own accord, meaning they are more receptive to your messaging.
- Conversion Tracking: By shifting your focus from contests or coupons as incentives to Facebook Ads you can directly track the impact your efforts have on traffic to your site and sales. Contests don’t offer this level of conversion tracking. Just be sure that you or your digital marketing team has added the tracking code to your website!
Facebook said it best in their blog on the change by stating:
“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.”
A Final Word
In light of this change, we’d like to employ an age old adage: think quality over quantity. Yes, removing like-gating will slow the growth of your Facebook audience – there’s only so many likes you can build through ads – but this audience will be a captive one, rather than being full of users who simply liked to enter a contest and are too lazy to unfollow you!