Like gating is no more: part 1 of 2

Very recently I saw a video where in the HQ of an encyclopaedia company they suddenly see clicks on the site going off the charts, they order more books for selling as their prediction is based on clicks to the site. They get truckloads, shiploads, flight loads of books. At the same time at a house far-far away a kid is showed clicking on an iPad & those clicks were placing more orders on the encyclopaedia website.

This was a hilarious experience. You should watch it on YouTube if you get a chance.

Imagine if you had to predict sales from Facebook likes & those likes were acquired by “Like gating”?

In this two part series we are going to look into what is “Like gating” and why we as marketers should be concerned or not concerned.

Let’s first look at what was Facebook’s explanation for implementing this change:

“You must not incentivize people to use social plug-ins 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.”

What does it mean for marketers?

If you use apps like ShortStack, Heyo, TabSite and many more, you may be using a like-gating (also known as “fan-gating”) feature. It works by showing different content to fans and non-fans.

Let’s use a contest for Brand A as an example. To make it work, you need to provide different views whether a user is a fan (“Click to enter!”) or non-fan (“like first to enter!”). When you visit Brand A’s custom app, Facebook will check to see whether or not you are a fan and present the view accordingly.

Well, this is no longer going to work. If you already have an app that is using this functionality, it will continue to like-gate until November 5. After that, the like-gating functionality of the app will stop working.

Like-gating functionality will not work for any new apps created going forward.

Why Facebook did it?

Well, this is what Facebook had to say:

“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.”

Facebook wants users to like brand pages because they actually “like” them, not because they were promised some freebie or contest entry for doing it.

Facebook says this will improve the experience for both users (they will see content they actually want to see) and advertisers (targeting by interests is more effective).

In the next part we will see why it makes sense & what should we do now post this change has been implemented. Till then ciao 🙂

(Images and content courtesy www.jonloomer.com)

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