Facebook no longer Likes a Like-GateAugust 13, 2014 4:06 pm
It seems that every time I leave for vacation Facebook decides to make a change to their Promotional Guidelines. This has happened several times to me and this time I read about it upon just returning from an amazing two-week trip around Europe.
On August 7 this post was published on the Facebook Developer’s Page that announced this change to their Platform Policies:
“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. 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.”
So yes, this does means that now you can’t make it mandatory to have someone Like your page first in order to open the app to enter the promotion. From some of the comments that I read on this post there appears to be a few people that are again not very happy with Facebook. Facebook is however giving people up to Nov. 5 (90 days) to make the changes to their apps to comply with this new policy.
When brands first started out building their Facebook pages their main objective was to acquire fans. They wanted a way to drive people to their page and Like it to become a fan. I would tell clients that if they wanted to just grow their fans, along with their database, sweepstakes were the way to go. You could create a simple sweepstakes offer with a Like-gate attached to it so that visitors to your page would have to Like it first in order to access the entry form. So this was a great way to build up a fan base.
That is now a thing of the past. Facebook has evolved into more of an advertising platform for brands which means that businesses can’t reach their “fans” as easy or “free” as they used to. Consumers who “like” a Facebook page will most likely not see the content that this page posts anymore in their News Feed. So this recent policy change does not surprise me.
This year we have been steering our clients away from using the Like-gate approach. I’ve been telling clients that it may not be a good idea to use a Like-Gate anymore is mostly because now more people are accessing their Facebook account from a mobile device vs a computer. When you require someone to Like the page to enter, they must first sign into Facebook from their mobile device so that the application knows if they are or are not a fan already. This added an extra step and was not a user-friendly entry process.
So do sweepstakes and contest promotions still work on Facebook? Yes, they do, but you clearly have to define what you want to get out of them. No longer is the number of Likes you have on your Facebook page a good measurement of success. Instead marketers need to look at quality in their social media, not quantity. Which means more engagement such as shares, comments, etc. I think Facebook made the right move here which was an obvious change that most marketers were moving towards anyhow.
Next month I’m going to me heading back down to New York City to attend the 3rd Annual Social Media, Sweepstakes and Promotions Digital Compliance Conference put on by the American Conference Institute. I’m looking forward to again hearing Allison Hendrix, Platform Operations Attorney from Facebook speak. Allison has been a keynote speaker each year at this conference and always has provided some great insights into why Facebook does what it does. There are many other great speakers and colleagues who will also be attending the conference. So please stay tuned for my posts that I’ll share regarding the conference which is Sept. 9 and 10.