Facebook bans like-gating – Try these 5 Facebook like-gate alternatives instead

Have you heard the news? As of November 5, 2014, Facebook like-gates are dead. If you blinked, you probably missed it because it was buried at the bottom of their latest list of changes to their API and SDKs. The statement went something like this:

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.

Because the changes made to like-gates affects your Facebook marketing, I put together a list of Facebook like-gate alternatives to help you continue to grow your Facebook Page likes without like-gates.

What is like-gating or fan-gating?

If you use tools like Shortstack, Tabsite, or Heyo or other landing page alternatives to show different types of content to fans and non-fans on your Facebook Page, you were using a feature known as a like-gate (or a fan-gate).

Examples of like-gating

Some examples of like-gates include:

  • Liking a Facebook Page to enter a contest
  • Providing coupons or promo codes once someone likes your Facebook Page
  • Liking a Facebook Page in order to watch a video
  • Liking a Facebook Page to download a PDF or eBook

If you currently use like-gates on your Facebook Page, they will continue to work until November 5. After that date, if you still have them on your Facebook Page, people will be able to access the content without liking your page. No new landing pages will be allowed to use the like-gate feature.

Why Facebook banned like-gating

So why did Facebook ban like-gating? They explained their reasoning further down the article.

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.

When you think about it, like-gating on Facebook Pages has been slowly dying. They were popular back in 2010, but we have gotten a lot smarter as marketers. When Facebook launched a Facebook Page redesign earlier this year, landing page tabs were also removed and then re-added at the last minute. For me, this signaled that Facebook was putting less of an emphasis on landing pages.

Why like-gates don’t matter

While like-gates helped grow your Facebook Page likes, they really didn’t matter. This was because a lot of Facebook Pages were not growing them the right way. Previously, when you used a like-gate to have someone like your Facebook Page to enter a contest, a lot of times you were not bringing in the right types of fans on your page. In most cases, people liked your page just so they could enter a contest or win a prize. They were not interested in the content your page was going to share. By eliminating these gimmicks, this should help improve your Facebook experience in the following ways:

  • Users will see more of the content they want to see in their news feed
  • Advertisers can use Facebook Ads to improve their targeting
  • Businesses can improve the focus of their Facebook Pages

Now that you know about changes to like-gates and how they will affect your Facebook marketing tactics, I wanted to share a list of Facebook like-gate alternatives to help you bring in more quality Facebook Page likes.

5 Facebook like-gate alternatives

1. Facebook social plugins

Just because Facebook like-gates are dead, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to collect page likes on your website. One alternative to using a like-gate is to use the like box social plugin. Instead of someone feeling forced to like your Facebook Page, they can do so after reading a blog post you wrote.

Facebook social plugin - like box
Facebook social plugin – like box

2. Email newsletter

A second Facebook like-gate alternative is to leverage your email list to grow your page likes. Your email list should be one of the primary areas your are constantly trying to grow. The people who sign-up for your list are usually interested in your content. One thing you can do to grow your Facebook Page likes it to include a link to your Facebook Page to let them easily like your page. Alternatively, you can remind them to share your newsletter with their friends. The more people who see your content, the more chance you have of getting them to convert into a fan on your Facebook Page.

3. Facebook landing page tabs

While you can’t use a like-gate to get someone to like your Facebook Page. You can still create Facebook landing page tabs. My personal recommendation is  to use Shortstack or Tabsite to create a Facebook landing page tab. On your landing page tab, include the Facebook social plugin mentioned earlier. This way when you share your Facebook landing page tab URL with people, you can increase your chances of getting a new page like in the process – while sharing your amazing looking landing page.

Facebook landing page tab
Adding a Facebook like button to a Facebook landing page tab with Shortstack

4. Facebook Ads – Page likes

One of the best alternative to using like-gates is to run Facebook Ads and select Facebook Page likes as your objective.

Facebook Ads - Page likes
Run Facebook Ads to target page likes.

By running Facebook Ads to target page likes, you can further target specific interests within Facebook Ads manager. This way instead of bringing in people to like your page just to enter a contest, you are targeting people who have a higher probability to like your Facebook Page. Here is an example of a Facebook Ad that targets page likes in the news feed.

Facebook Ads - Page likes example
Grow Facebook Page likes using Facebook Ads instead of a like-gate.

5. Website custom audiences

Another one of my favorite Facebook like-gate alternatives is to use website custom audiences. The way that website custom audiences work is that you can target people who viewed pages on your website when they are on Facebook. While it may seem a bit strange, it is a very reliable method to use. For example, say you visited this page on getting Facebook help and were not a fan of my Facebook Page. I could create a website custom audience targeting people who visited that page on my website. Then when you head over to Facebook, I could show you a Facebook Ad inviting you to like my Facebook Page to get further help with Facebook marketing. Although you can no longer use like-gates, I hope you will use these Facebook like-gate alternatives to grow your page likes and bring in more relevant fans to your page. Remember, the more relevant your fans are, the better the chances you have of keeping them engaged with your content.

Over to you

Now that you can no longer use Facebook like-gates, how will this change your Facebook marketing efforts?

Question: What other techniques do you use to grow your Facebook Page likes? Leave a comment below with your response.