Up until Facebook’s rule change on this (announced a couple of weeks ago), using a like gate for competitions was solid best practice, and something that we often did when running Facebook competitions for clients.
In a nutshell, a like gate is a landing page for Facebook users who haven’t already liked your page. In order to get past the landing page and onto the competition entry page, users must click the button to like the business or organisation in question.
Like gates have also been widely used on Facebook games – e.g. if a player runs out of lives, they must like the page in order to get back to the game.
We’ve found them a really good way to maximise the benefit of a Facebook competition and to build up your audience. However, from November 5th they will be in breach of Facebook platform policies. See the relevant sections below:
“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. (…) 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”.
This is another widely used tactic that Facebook has decided to call time on. You’ve probably seen these posts in which a business announces they’ll give away a prize to a randomly selected winner who likes and shares the post.
Facebook has said that it is happy for businesses to incentivise their fans to like a post, but not to incentivise fans to share it on their own walls. Here it is from the horse’s mouth:
“To collect entries, you can ask people to:
• Like or comment on a post on your Page (ex: “Like this post to enter”)
• Post on your Page
• Send your Page a message
Personal profiles can’t be used to collect entries. For example, asking people to share a post on their profiles to enter your promotion isn’t permitted (ex: “Share on your profile to enter” or “Share on your friend’s profile to get additional entries”).”
Should You Still Run Contests on Facebook?
Despite these limitations imposed by Facebook, my opinion is that there is still plenty to be gained from running competitions on the platform to promote your brand.
Although from November 5th you can’t use a fan gate to get new likes, you can still use a competition app like Woobox to collect the email addresses of everyone who enters and add them to your email marketing list, which is arguably more valuable than Facebook likes.
Remember also that a high percentage of the people who would like your page in order to pass a like gate and enter your competition would have no interest in your brand – they just want to be in with a chance of winning the prize. They won’t engage with your content so they are basically a wasted like.
Running the same kind of sweepstakes contest using a competition app – supported by Facebook ads, and collecting email addresses, should still offer very satisfactory results, even without the like gate.
Equally, running a simple competition with a ‘like this post to win’ message might not enable you to reach new audiences in the same way as a like and share will, but it is a brilliant way to increase engagement with your existing fanbase, and in the age of edgerank algorithm, that is just as important.