They told you it was coming, and today it's here: Facebook like-gating has officially ended. Changes to the Facebook Platform Policy announced in early August gave app developers 90 days to make the updates necessary to comply.
Whether you are a like-gating lover or hater, you may be curious about how this change will impact your Facebook Page, so here's the scoop.
Facebook Like-Gating Background
If you're wondering what exactly "like-gating" is (was), it was a fan-growing technique for Facebook Pages that became popular around 2011. Page owners created custom tabs to deliver special offers and messages to people who hadn't yet liked their Pages in the effort to get the coveted thumbs-up.
With like-gating, a prospective fan was required to like a Page in order to enter a contest, redeem a special offer, or get access to exclusive deals. While like-gating critics argued that fans should be earned rather than "bought" with incentives, some Pages did report success with like-gated campaigns.
What Is No Longer Working/Allowed
- Effective November 5, 2014, any like-gated campaigns will no longer work as designed. Facebook users will be able to view previously gated content whether or not they have liked your Page.
- Per Facebook's policy change, Page administrators "...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."
What Is Still Allowed
Facebook's policy still allows Page owners to "...incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app's Page."
Should You Be Mad?
Try not to be. Yes, there are likely Facebook ad revenue goals underlying this decision, but we have all learned that nothing is certain in Facebookland. Social media marketing is constantly evolving as each platform evolves, and marketers have to be prepared for frequent changes.
If you have relied on like-gating in the past, there are many great reasons to focus less on the number of likes and more on engaging your Facebook audience. Care about those who like your Page and they will care about you, share your posts, and tell their friends.