On November the 5th Facebook officially removed the ability to Like Gate custom pages.
When I first heard that Facebook was getting rid of Like Gating, I like many other marketers sighed. Like Gating had always delighted me. I loved being able to offer something special to people who liked my page.
After giving it some thought I realised that there was a good reason behind removing the Like Gating option. Facebook has evolved in the last few years and Like Gating is just out of date.
What was Like Gating?
Like Gating was the ability within a custom page app to show different content to people who liked your page to those who didn’t. It was most commonly implemented on app based competitions. It ensured that people liked your page before they could see the competition entry form.
See the example below from IBHT. When the Like button was clicked the entry form would be revealed.
Why is Like Gating out of date?
You’ve heard it before, you’ve probably even heard it from me before. Being successful on Facebook isn’t about getting likes. It’s about getting the right people to like your page and engaging them with relevant, informative, educational or entertaining content.
The problem with Like Gating competitions
[Tweet “Facebook competitions often attract a large following of the wrong people.”]
Before Facebook advertising came of age it was hard to get people to Like a page. We employed all sorts of tactics to attract people and running competitions was one of these.
Competitions often attract a large following of the wrong people. Even if you select a prize that is relevant to your brand and audience you will find that you attract a lot of entries that are irrelevant.
There are communities of people on Facebook who love entering contests and will set up multiple and fake profiles just to do so. There are others who love the idea of your prize but have no interest in seeing your content in their newsfeed.
If these people have no interest in your business they will quickly unlike your page or hide posts from your page.
Why does that matter?
1. Decreased reach:
Facebook monitors what it calls ‘negative feedback’ on your page. This refers to people who:
- Hide your post
- Hide all your posts
- Unlike your page from a post
- Mark your posts as spam
If a large number of people unlike or hide posts from your page this signals to Facebook that you are posting low quality content. This will result in them showing posts from your page to less people in future.
Of course you are not necessarily posting low quality content. Facebook just assumes you are as people seem uninterested in your posts.
To find out if you are receiving negative feedback go to your Facebook insights. Click ‘Posts’ and select:
“Post Hides, Hides Of All Posts, Reports Of Spam, Unlikes” from the drop down menu (see below).
2. Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are far more effective when they target your existing Facebook audience. These are the people who have already shown an interest in your business by liking your page. They are more likely to buy or take the next step towards buying.
If you have forced people to like your page as part of a competition that wasn’t highly targeted you could find that your Likers consist of:
- People who have little interest in what you do.
- Fake profiles set up just for entering contests.
When you advertise you will be paying to reach these people. That’s money that could be better spent reaching potential customers.
Why don’t we need Like Gating anymore?
You don’t have to run a contest to get people to Like your page anymore. Instead of splashing out on a big prize you can spend that money more effectively on promoting your page to the people you want to reach.
Facebook advertising has become the best way to get page Likes. Not only is it effective in getting the numbers but the targeting options mean that you get exactly the right people to Like your page.
Are Facebook competitions dead?
Facebook competitions are still valuable but you need to re-asses why you are running them. Instead of chasing page likes think about what other value you can get from your contests;
1. Increased interaction – Timeline contests, when done well, can drive more interaction on your Facebook page. This will boost your page reach and build relationships with customers.
Always aim for valuable conversation as part of your contests. This means you will become more memorable to those who take part.
I love this example from The Blind Pig in Dublin. Not only are they building a conversation they are also getting some valuable customer research whilst they are at it. They’ll know what to stock the bar with now.
2. Lead capture – For me this is still the most valuable reason to run a Facebook competition.
When you run a contest via an app you can capture information about the people who enter. This could be an email address, a phone number or even information about where the participant lives or the products they buy.
The more you ask the less entries you will get but you will also be able to qualify and segment the lead that you are capturing more accurately.
- Did you use the Like Gating feature?
- Do you run competitions on Facebook?
- What value do you see int he competitions you run?
I’m talking about competitions all this month so leave me a comment and I may include you in further posts.