Facebook has officially banned the “like gate” for Pages.
On August 7th, a post was published to the official Facebook Developer’s blog announcing some recent changes. Tucked near the bottom of the post is a section titled “Changes to Platform Policy,” which includes a new rule that will certainly impact how businesses run their Facebook pages:
“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.”
According to Facebook, users have 90 days (until November 5th) to abide by the new rule. After this date, Facebook will be removing the coding that enables like gates.
A “like gate” is a feature that enables a page to hide certain content from users until they have liked the page. Previously, Facebook like gates were a common tool used to motivate users to “like” a business page by offering some additional incentive – users who are interested in the incentive must like the page in order to unlock the exclusive content.
Like gates were particularly beneficial when running sweepstakes on Facebook, as a business could ensure that only fans of their page could access the sign up form. Not only did this result in increased likes for a page, but it also encouraged high quality sweepstakes entries, as the people who were willing to like the page in order to enter the contest were also more likely to be genuinely interested in the business’s goods or services.
While this policy change may be disappointing for many, it is certainly not the end of the line for Facebook sweepstakes. Removing the like gate will not affect the other goals you may have had in running a sweepstakes:
- They will still increase your social visibility/social buzz, because advertising a sweepstakes is still just as likely to attract new customers as before.
- You can still utilize a sweepstakes to collect email addresses or increase fan engagement.
- You may actually receive more entries if users are not required to perform an additional action or commit to liking your page. This will translate to more emails or engagement.
- Many may have felt “trapped” by the like gate system because it was so beneficial in building up their page, so removing the like gate opens them up to more contest style options (e.g. “comment/submit to enter” style contests, cross-social media contests, etc)
- You will still gain new fans! Removing the like gate won’t prevent you from gaining new fans from a sweepstakes – it just means you won’t see as many. However, you will also see fewer “like bounces” (where people like your page just until the contest ends, then unlike).
How will your business handle this new policy change?