Facebook To End ‘Like Gating’: What Does It Mean For Page Owners?

Facebook announced that as of November 5th the API that allowed the creation of Fan Gates to require a page like before seeing content or entering a contest will no longer exist…leaving no way for app developers to create such opportunities.

Facebook eliminates Fan Gates, like gating for contests on pages. This change now forces businesses to provide quality content that makes someone want to like the page and return.  Page owners can no longer rely on contests and fan gates to drive likes and grow their pages.  They'll have to do it the old fashioned way.

What does this mean for Facebook page owners?

In short:  This change now forces businesses to provide quality content that makes someone want to like the page and return.  Page owners can no longer rely on contests and fan gates to drive likes and grow their pages.  They’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.

It’s  change I actually welcome.  As a consultant I have always cautioned against even using a fan gate tactic (unless it’s simply a welcome message to new arrivals) for 2 primary reasons:

  • It’s ‘buying’ fans and businesses should be driving growth and winning fans/customers with service, content, quality – something of value they want.   I have always had an issue with the need to ‘Like’ a page or enter something, to give up an email address to view your content.  When presented with the requirement, whether it be on Facebook or your website, I simply leave and do not return.  If you want my email address, I’ll provide it if I find value in what you offer, not for an incentive.I have heard from some business owners that the loss of the fan gating means the loss of a valuable source to collect email addresses for contact and list building.  The list building should come from offering freebies AFTER the perspective client/customer has been exposed to content and in return for something of value – a free report, some advice, something the client truly wants or needs.  Providing the freebie after means your client CHOOSES to give you their email address and contact information for something more.
  • When you ‘buy’ fans they tend to be less loyal, less engaging and less likely to use your service or buy your project.  A fan that CHOOSES to like your page for your content or the service/product you offer without additional enticement speaks volumes about your business.  They will support you and they will recommend you.  The positive net result for the business will be better, higher quality fans who like your page for what you post and to connect with you rather than for a sort lived incentive.

So, even if fan gates were still allowed, why would you use something that potentially results in a lower quality fan AND potentially excludes others that ARE interested in your wares?  Are the higher numbers and inflated growth worth the low quality you’re likely to get?

An interesting side note is that the drive for fans is somewhat pointless as anyone can comment on a page without actually being a fan.  While growth IS important and the fan count does, to an extent, correlate to authority and reputation, it’s still only an arbitrary number.   I have numerous stories – including for my own previous business where sales were directly generated from an Facebook post or drive a person to a Google search after reading an Facebook post and in each case the buyer was not and never became a fan.  That’s the  beauty of the public nature of Facebook pages.

I have always and still do advise, business owners to worry more about quality than quantity focusing on providing content and value and let the fan count grow organically.  Doing so and engaging and interacting with those fans that come to you for value will prove more advantageous to your brand, reputation and bottom line over the long run.

What are your thoughts on Like Gating?


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About Robert Nissenbaum

Kayaker | Speaker | Writer | Consultant. Twisted views on brand, content, social media marketing, & SEO which get results; Voice of @tsomedia & @wordcampseattle
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