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How the End of Facebook 'Like-Gating' Will Benefit Brands

This story originally appeared on PR Daily

Many companies had already abandoned "like-gating" for more effective social media tactics, but for those still amassing fans by requiring them to like their Facebook page before entering a contest or accessing content, Facebook put a definitive stop to the practice last week.

The change will create a short-term challenge for some brands, but it will present a much greater long-term benefit to social media marketers by forcing them to focus on more meaningful metrics to gauge social marketing success.

To understand how the end of "like-gating" will benefit social marketers, the marketing team at Offerpop analyzed years of data from hundreds of thousands of Facebook campaigns. We found that removing the "like gate" can actually have a positive and immediate impact on marketing performance. 

Here are three reasons why:

1. You’ll increase email acquisition.

Offerpop analyzed more than 100,000 social campaigns run through its platform, and the analysis turned up some surprising results. Campaigns that were not "like-gated" significantly outperformed like-gated campaigns in email address collection. 

According to our data, social campaigns that weren't "like-gated" acquire 26 percent more email addresses than those that were. Capturing email addresses takes you a step closer to owning (rather than renting) your audience. Email opens up a direct channel of communication with your customer, so you can re-engage campaign participants with targeted promotions that directly increase sales.

2. You’ll prize quality over quantity.

Marketers running "like-gated" promotions often wondered whether the hundreds of new fans they were amassing were only doing it for the incentive. Now, by removing direct incentives the came with a Facebook "like," you're ensuring that new fans really do have an affinity for your brand and are more likely to engage with your page’s content. 

In light of Facebook’s algorithm changes, having high engagement rates is essential to sustaining your content’s organic reach. The more people who actively engage with your brand, the higher Facebook will rate your posts.

3. You’ll retain more valuable audience data.

A more nuanced effect of the end of "like-gating" is how it changes social media advertising strategies for the better. If you are gaining fans who are unlikely to become customers, and then spending social media advertising money to target them with Facebook ads, chances are you are not making efficient use of your advertising budget. 

Maintaining a high-quality, targeted follower base makes your advertising laser-focused and highly effective. With your page’s fan data, you can use Facebook’s custom audience and lookalike audience features to target existing or new customers with paid social ads. These ads are generally less expensive than Google AdWords campaigns, and the more closely these Facebook audiences mirror your top customers, the better your return on investment will be.

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