There has always been a good deal of buzz around Facebook’s strict rules when it comes to running contests and promotions. In the latest round of edits to their TOS, Facebook announced a ban on “like-gating,” which will go into full effect on November 5th, 2014. This update was buried at the bottom of the 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, check-in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page.”
Many third-party apps used for running Facebook contests utilize the “like-gating” or “fan-gating” feature, which shows different content to fans and non-fans. In order to enter the contest or promotion, the user must first like the page.
Why did Facebook decide to make this change?
“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.
Users want their Newsfeed to be filled with stories from friends and brands they want to keep up with. Liking a page simply to enter to win a prize (often unrelated to brand) typically means that the user will not be interested in further status updates. If their Newsfeeds begin to fill up with stories they are not interested in, they will begin to spend less time on Facebook, which circles around and harms advertisers and businesses because advertisers need users online to be able to target them.
“Look, I have used like-gating. I constantly run ads to build relevant likes, and one approach I took in the past was offering my free ebook in exchange for a like. I found that to be very effective,” Jon Loomer wrote in a blog post. “I personally think this approach works. I am giving highly relevant content to people in exchange for a like. If they like that content, they should also like seeing my posts in their News Feed.”
As a Facebook marketer, what does this change mean for you? Loomer gives the following tips:
- Embrace that your fans are those who care most about your brand.
- If you previously relied on contests and other like-gating methods of gaining followers, then you can expect a drop in those numbers.
- Give your followers a reason to want to read your content. Provide the most thorough, helpful or entertaining information in your niche.
- Still use third-party apps to build your email lists. Instead of requiring users to like your page to get the incentive, you can collect their email, which is still allowed.
How does the loss of like-gating impact your approach and Facebook marketing in general? Let us know in the comments below.