Goodbye Facebook Like Gating, Hello Action Gating

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Stuart McKeown’s Picture

Stuart McKeown

Facebook has removed the ability to gate Page Likes, so what alternatives does a Business have?

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Facebook made some big announcements on their developer blog on Friday which moves to level the playing field for growing your Likes organically on the platform:

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.

What is a Like Gate?

Like gates have been one of the most effective ways of growing your audience on Facebook for over 5 years. They essentially allow you to hide content within a Facebook page tab until a user has liked the page first.

What is Happening to Like Gates?

There’s two things happening, firstly Facebook is removing an essential part of their API that apps use to check if a user already likes a page or not.

The liked field will no longer be returned in the page property of the signed_request object for Page Tab apps created from today onwards. For apps created before today, from November 5, 2014 (90 days from today), the liked property will always return true regardless of whether or not the person has liked the page.

Up until now, we could check via the API if a user liked a page (provided they were logged into Facebook). This allowed apps to hide all sorts of functionality or only provide incentives to users that had liked a particular page.

This feature will be removed on November 5th, which means all apps will need to be compliant by that date. In our case that means you will no longer being able to Like Gate any Gleam competitions that are installed to a Facebook Tab.

What About Like Actions?

The second change is a Platform Policy change, these policies apply to any application that uses Facebook.

You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page.

This particular change impacts our Facebook Like action type, as the Like Button is essentially one of Facebook’s social plugins.

Up until now the Platform Policies stated that Liking a page was a valid form of entry into a competition. However, come November 5th apps will not be allowed to award entries into a sweepstakes or competition by asking a user to Like a page.

Why Are Facebook Doing This?

Businesses that have long put all their eggs in the Facebook basket are now starting to ask more questions, as Facebook slowly closes their platform. Not only are they now dealing with low organic reach, but now the main mechanism for driving fan growth is being removed.

There’s a few reasons why this change is happening:

  • Like gating has been hugely effective for many years in driving fan growth for businesses.
  • Facebook is now a publicly traded company, which means they are beginning to push businesses into official channels for fan growth.
  • Facebook wants people to Like a page because they actually like it, not because of an artifical incentive.
  • Shutting down mega contests, or contests that ask users to like lots of pages at once to enter.
  • Improving the experience for their users, after all if you remove the ability to like a page as an entry method then users will just Like the pages that provide the most value to them.

How Will The Chanage Impact Businesses?

This change is naturally going to impact businesses that have a heavy reliance on Facebook, however I think if anything it highlights the fact that you need to always diversify your marketing channels.

Instead of focusing on Fan growth, businesses are now going to start focusing on more tangible metrics like:

  • Email Subscribers
  • Brand Reach
  • Campaign Impressions
  • Revenue from Social Sources
  • Referrals from Social Sources

How Does This Change Impact Gleam?

We built Gleam to be a completely agnostic platform, we simply plug-in to social networks with the ways they allow us (via their API). If you haven’t seen all the networks or actions we integrate with you can check them out on our integrations page.

We’d be lying if we said this change doesn’t impact us, after all we’ve processed upwards of 3M Like actions since October:

We also prided ourselves on how fluid & easy it was for new users or existing users that already like a page to enter a contest. However this particular change will force us to fundamentally change the way our Facebook like action works, probably at the detriment to user experience.

In the long run we feel that Gleam has a significant advantage in the marketplace, we’ve never been too dependant on any one network & will continue to integrate with social networks or other partners that provide long term value for our customers (for example this week we just integrated 4 new email providers: GetResponse, Mad Mimi, Infusionsoft & Salesforce).

Like Action Will Be Removed

At midnight on 4th October we will be rolling out our changes to comply with the new 2.1 Facebook Platform policy update.

From 2nd November you will no longer be able to create campaigns that use the Like action. Any existing reporting up until that date will still work & existing users will continue to be credited for existing Likes on current campaigns.

Using this action beyond November 5th would be a breach of Facebook policy, you are no longer allowed to incentivize Likes as an entry method into a contest or reward.

New Visit on Facebook Action

Next, we have had this new action in the wild for almost a month now. Visit a Facebook page allows you to incentivize user to Visit your page, then they can optionally Like. This should drive a lot more organic engagement with users that actually want to Like your content.

We’ve been working with the Facebook platform policy team to ensure that we’re compliant with this action type – but there is a small possibility that things could change further down the track.

Existing Like actions will be migrated to our new Facebook Visit action on midnight November 4th. This action awards the user for visiting a Facebook Page, their Like must be completely optional (and cannot award entries).

You will see a breakdown of Likes in a new section in your reporting called Events, so you can see which actions are generating Likes.

Like Button During Signup

Users will have the ability to optionally Like your business whilst filling out the user details form on signup. This is completely optional for the user.

Typically we’re seeing a conversion rate of 10-40% on these.

Like Gates Will Be Switched Off

Facebook is removing the ability to Like Gate content within Facebook Tabs on November 5th too.

These will automatically just stop working, which means if a user visits your Facebook Tab they will automatically see any installed campaigns.

Welcome to the World of Action Gating

This change is a positive thing for Gleam, we have always had the philosphy of being a platform that you can use to gate the actions that you think make sense for your campaign or business. In fact we have over 14,226,520,737,620,288,370 (14.2 Quintillion) possible combinations of actions you can setup.

Check out our demo to get a feel for how Gleam works:

We’re also one of the only platforms to allow you to gate your own actions from your own site, which are arguably the most valuable actions you could ask a user to complete.

Here’s some of the things you can do:

  • Award entries to members of your site.
  • Award entries to existing customers.
  • Award entries if someone adds 10 products to their cart.
  • Unlock a reward once someone completes checkout.
  • Reward a user for uploading a photo
  • Reward a user for joining your (or your sponsors) email list

We’re working hard to continue to improve this functionality to give you unlimited potential possibilities & when you combine this with all of the social actions we integrate with you have a very compelling solution that can help you meet your (or your clients) objectives 🙂

Thanks for using Gleam & we hope to share some of the stuff we’re working on over the coming months!

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