Facebook Like Gate Ends November 5

like-gate-goodbye

Are you aware that Facebook is putting an end to the “Like Gate”?

It’s true, the death of the Like Gate (or fan gate) is here!  

Facebook’s Update:

Here’s what Facebook says in their Developer area:

“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.”

Further detail by their Program team made it clear that the call to check whether a person has “Liked” a Page is being removed from the API.  This is the feature developers like us used to help businesses enable a Like Gate function on tab apps.  With the removal of this on November 5, 2014, the death of the Like Gate will be real.

Facebook Like Gate Death Implications:

Is it a huge negative?  What does it mean for Facebook marketing?

Here’s my take:   It’s a good thing!

It’s not a high-value marketing method.  It ran it’s course and serious business marketers know this.  It’s sort of gimmicky and it hinders businesses from focusing on what truly has value on Facebook: Lead Capture!

A name and email address is so much more valuable. Why? The email address is something you can use ongoing and via other means like email marketing where greater sales occur.  A primary goal of your Facebook marketing should be focused engagement that drives fans to landing pages where they opt-in!  Hopefully this forced change by Facebook forces the shift that needs to take place to better marketing methods!

WIthin TabSite we have a feature we think is much stronger and more valuable called “Form Gate.”  It’s better for the simple reason that it is more valuable to get a name and email address than to simply get a fan!  With this tool, you can “gate” information on a tab app or area of your web page and require visitors to submit the form (name and email for instance) to gain access to the content/deal/coupon etc. that you are offering.

This way you have a real, authentic lead that you can follow-up with and nurture via email marketing going forward.

Why is Facebook doing this?

It fits with their commitment to try and work at authentic Page/fan relationships.  Facebook doesn’t like spam, they also don’t like forced attempts to build fans.

This update means Pages can’t gate a app tab with a Like Gate and REQUIRE it (liking) as a forced means to access the content/contest.

So if you had a tab that said, “You must Like this page to access the free download”, that will no longer be available as a function to use starting November 5.

Example of what will disappear:

Facebook bans like gate

The change is a maturing for Facebook and requires a maturing in marketing for Facebook Pages.  Does growing your fans on your Facebook Page still have value?  Yes, it can!  Particularly if you are using Facebook Ads to reach a very precise demographic target, growing highly focused fans can be a great thing to do.  This is of value because if you can grow an engaged audience of those most likely to buy, then when you do offer an incentive with a “form gate” or other post, then this audience is more likely to want to act on it.

So, yes, growing fans has a place in the Facebook strategy going forward.  One of the best ways to do this well is with targeted Facebook Ads.  Does the end of the “Like Gate” mean the end of Facebook apps and marketing?  No way.  It means the gimmicks are done and savvy marketers will run integrated campaigns that drive visitors to lead capture forms and to their website.  By growing your email list you develop a great sales tool for the future and by driving traffic to your website you educate them further on your brand and services, as well as create the opportunity that you can then re-target them on Facebook with Ads!

Let’s play Taps and let the Like Gate die. It’s time to grow your integrated online marketing!

About Mike Gingerich

Author: Mike Gingerich, TabSite Co-Founder. Facebook and Social Marketer. Part geek, part marketer, total social media junkie. Mike is a writer and speaker, having presented at Social Media Week Lima, Social Media Camp (Canada) and more. He is a regular contributor to Social Media Examiner and Business2Community. Mike is a marketing, social media, and internet enthusiast with 10+ years experience building apps, consulting, and training businesses with winning integrated web and Social Media Strategies. Mike loves deploying tactics to increase awareness, sales, and maximize ROI in both B2B and B2C markets via digital media.