Why you shouldn’t panic about Facebook Like-Gate Changes

Things we notice

As the old adage goes, the only thing that is constant is change. This is especially true when it comes to Facebook. It feels like just when you’ve got things figured out, and you’re watching your audience and engagement grow, Facebook goes and makes another change.
But, before you start hitting your head on your keyboard, or sticking pins in your hoodie-clad Mark Zuckerberg voodoo doll, I’m here to tell you that the latest change, removing the Facebook Like-Gate from all apps, is NOT that catastrophic.

What exactly is Facebook Like-Gate anyway?

Like-Gating meant that when you ran a contest on your Facebook page through an app (which you have to do, by the way, according to Facebook’s Terms of Service), you could require people to Like your page before they could enter a contest or see the content in your app. With the updates to the Facebook Like-Gate policy, apps cannot now force someone to Like a page.Facebook Like-Gate Changes

Why would Facebook do such a thing?

While I don’t have special insight into what Mark Zuckerberg thinks before he goes to sleep at night, I do know that Facebook is always tweaking the user experience so that people are seeing more of the content they want to see. Facebook doesn’t want your Newsfeed to become a spam-filled junkyard of advertisements and uninteresting posts. And while we all think our content and marketing campaigns are brilliant (They are! I know!), Facebook wants to make sure people actually want to see your content, so they’ll keep coming back for more.

Here’s what Facebook had to say about the change: Facebook Like Gate PolicyWas the Facebook Like-Gate very effective?

While many marketers and content companies relied on these Facebook Like-Gate contests to grow their audience, their overall effectiveness had been declining for years.

For one thing, Like-Gating only worked on desktop computers, not mobile devices. As more and more people started using their phones and tablets to look at their Facebook pages, a contest app designed only for a computer was outdated and ineffectual. Even if Like-Gating stayed in place today, you’d be reaching less than 50% of your audience.Facebook MarketingFacebook has also been trying to stop “spammy” language in posts like, “Like our page!” and “Share this post!” Because of this, a contest where you’re screaming for people to “Like” your page wouldn’t work very well, and Facebook wouldn’t give posts promoting it a lot of organic reach.

So should I just give up on Facebook contests? 

The short answer: NO!

The long answer: NO! But you do have to be a little bit more thoughtful about how your contests will work and how you will promote them. For one thing, people still love winning prizes. That will never go away! Contests are still a great way to drive new (and old) fans to your page.

You can also ask people to like your page on your contest app. Many people who are willing to log onto your page and enter a contest are likely also interested in your content! This is an excellent way to grow Likes while still abiding by the new Facebook Like-Gate rules.

Facebook Contest ExampleBut do “Likes” even matter anymore?

When marketers first ventured onto Facebook, there was a rush to get Likes and to compare Like counts. Now we’re smarter about this whole Facebook thing and know that Likes are just one part of the equation. It’s what you do with those Likes that really matter.

Nonetheless, Likes do still have meaning, and you should always continue to grow your audience.

Oreo Facebook PageSo what’s the overall takeaway?

While Facebook Like-Gating is changing, contesting can still work for marketers. Just like with almost everything else you do in marketing, content is still king. Have a great contest with a unique promotion, and you’re going to build your audience and make your current fans happy, too! And that’s something we all like.

Jenny Kuglin

Jenny Kuglin is a lover of all things related to cheese, cats, and craft cocktails. She's an award-winning journalist with fifteen years of experience working for television, radio, websites, and newspapers. She made the transition from the KOMO-TV newsroom to the startup world when she took a job as the Director of Customer Relationships at SocialNewsDesk. She is now helping thousands of journalists and marketers across the country tell their stories to a bigger audience. Jenny is from Montana and still loves her cowboy boots, but is proud to call Seattle her home.

Ready to start analyzing?

Start measuring the impact of your social media campaigns with our 14-day free trial.

Start Your Free Trial