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Facebook Calls Time on ‘Fan-Gating’

by Dave Porter | 13.04.2012
11.5 million Facebook users ‘Like’ the Nike Football fan page, but only 7 million ‘Like’ the Adidas Football fan page.  Which one is better, or the most favoured? Is it the brand with the most ‘Likes’?

Well, both fan pages have a similar count of people actively talking about them (just over 100,000 each in fact). Surely this figure shows a better picture of how one brand fairs from another, rather than the amount of ‘Likes’ each one has? One thing is for sure; since the terms ‘Fan-Gating’, often referred to as ‘Like-Gating’ or ‘Like-Blocking’, have been floating around the world of Social Media Marketing, this certainly does seem to be the case. How many of these fans have been bullied into being a fan of the page in order to view content that their mate has told them to check out? In other words, how many of these ‘Likes’ are actual brand advocates?

Fan-Gating – the practise of displaying locked content to Facebook users, who become a fan of a brand page by hitting ‘Like’, is now on its way out. Following the rollout of the new Facebook Timeline feature on all pages, personal and brand’s alike, the process of coercing visitors to Like your page before they can access the content you want them to see, is in fact no longer going to be possible.

With Timeline, default Landing Pages are a thing of the past which means that, if you once had a custom landing page tab installed on your page, your visitors will no longer land on it automatically. Instead, the first thing a visitor will see will be your Timeline – a long list of historical posts and milestones, chronologically listed, since the date your page was born. See our Timeline below as an example of what visitors first see.

So what does this mean for brands? Well we actually think it’s a great move. Yes, it’s a game-changer, and yes it completely changes the way that brands can exponentially grow their fan count, however; we believe it paves the way for brands to create better content and properties – better apps that engage genuine fans and content that will essentially lead to higher post-engagement rates and aid long-term advocacy.

It doesn’t spell the end for apps and landing tabs – far from it. Apps should continue to be used for what they have always intended; to generate genuine interest in your brand and engage with a real customer base, rather than generating a collection of Facebook users who are less likely to ‘follow’ your brand and therefore miss out on all your future posts in their News Feeds.

There are an array of biddable media sources that can be used to drive quality, pre-qualified traffic to your Apps and Tabs, which in itself will increase the likelihood of your fans continuing to follow your activity.

For more information on how Tug can help to drive quality traffic to your newly optimised Facebook Timeline page, and help you to deliver creative, engaging apps and tabs that will give your social presence a real purpose, just drop us a line – you don’t even have to ‘Like’ us first!