How Facebook’s Like Gating Ban Will Affect You
Facebook recently announced an important change to its Platform Policies, and developers have until November 5, 2014, to comply. Facebook will ban incentivizing 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.
Facebook’s Like Gating Ban
Like-gating apps required participants of contests and promotions to become a fan of the page before they could enter; this was done via a Facebook API that allowed developers to read a participant’s information and determine if that person was a fan of the concerned page. This recent development will make it impossible for developers to create a fan-gate mechanism, and Facebook will now forbid this requirement.
According to Facebook, “It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. 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.”
With Facebook’s Timeline release two years ago, the landing page option vanished, and then in August 2013, using an app to run a contest was no longer a requirement. Page owners were able to run contests and giveaways directly on their page’s timeline without using an app.
As Emeric Ernoult, co-founder of AgoraPulse, points out, a significant number of pages have been using Facebook contests and giveaways to “fan-gate” them and grow their fan base, and removing that option will have an impact on app vendors, rendering exclusive Facebook apps vendors obsolete.
Having already anticipated Facebook’s recent change, many app vendors have made Facebook just one option in the social media landscape. Moreover, although contests and promotions will still drive fan growth — since you will be permitted to request that participants like your page — the number of new fans gained using a contest or promotion will sharply drop because “liking” a page will no longer be a requirement.
But Ernoult notes that Facebook contests and promotions are still the only way to gather emails and other valuable data about your audience, whether they become fans or not. “You may not be able to re-target them via your page news feed, but you will be able to re-target them using email (for free) or custom audiences (via paid Facebook ads).”
And Ernoult adds that page owners who were dependent on apps to grow their fan base may be disappointed, but not those who were using apps to gather qualified data about their existing fans.
A big shift is going on, says Ernoult. “It will be interesting to see what directions the ecosystem of app vendors will take over the next few months. One thing is for sure, they will all take directions that take them away from dependency on Facebook only.”
In essence, Facebook is making it more difficult to game its algorithms, meaning that you should concentrate on growing your Facebook Page organically with high-quality Likes — the segment of the Facebook population that have the highest potential of becoming your customer.
Facebook rewards Pages with engaging content, and with dynamic content that fits targeted audiences, Pages can still get a high volume of free traffic out of Facebook.
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