On February 4th, 2014, Facebook turned TEN years old! The social network has changed a lot since 2004. And if you're a Facebook marketer, your tactics and best practices for using the platform have (or should have) changed a lot, too.
Like-gating is a practice that has been around since the dawn of Facebook. Way back in the day, Facebook used to allow brands to Like-gate nearly their entire Page. Do you remember this?
Like-gating is a relatively old practice that is no longer a best practice. These days there's a better option that combats all of the challenges associated with Like-gating: Action-gating.
Action-gating is when you ask users to do something (like vote or share a piece information about themselves) in order to get something (like an extra entry into a contest or access to a promotion) from your brand. It's the give-to-get concept that we're so fond of.
We've seen many major brands action-gate effectively, including Marc Jacobs, Candy Crush Saga, Wantlet, SheInside and Tough Timber. Here are examples:
1. Marc Jacobs (luxury fashion brand)
During New York Fashion Week 2014, Marc Jacobs opened a pop-up store in SoHo called "The Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop." No money was exchanged in this store: Cashiers accepted "social currency" only. What is social currency? In this case, customers exchanged a post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter -- using the hashtag #MJDaisyChain -- for a product sample.
Takeaway: Action-gating can be used in many creative ways to earn your business far-reaching online impressions.
2. Candy Crush Saga (online game)
In 2013, King.com employed a unique and successful advertising model for its uber popular game, Candy Crush Saga. The tactic integrated action-gating. Instead of disrupting the gaming experience with distracting banner ads, King served their users incentivized videos where a user got something in exchange (like extra lives and game boosts) for watching a video advertisement.
The click-through rate on their ads was more than five percent and about 85 percent of the people who started watching the videos completed them -- that was higher than the industry average, according to VentureBeat.
Takeaway: Action-gating can be used to effectively persuade users to opt-in or take part in an opportunity presented by a brand.
3. Wantlet (social commerce company)
In 2013, Wantlet attended the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. They hosted a contest and gave attendees a chance to win an iPad2. The only catch: Attendees had to share their email address with Wantlet in order to be eligible to win. The winner's email address was chosen by a random draw.
Takeaway: Action-gating is most effective when you use it to collect valuable information like email addresses and/or other various forms of contact information.
4. SheInside (online retailer)
SheInside gives their website visitors the opportunity to receive 15-20 percent off their purchase if they sign up for their newsletter or Like their Facebook Page. Their offerings are displayed as a stagnant banner on the header of their website (as seen in the screenshot below). This a great example of incentive-based action-gating!
Takeaway: Incentive-based action-gating works really well for online retailers primarily because shoppers who have intent to purchase are extremely motivated by discounts and deals.
5. Tough Timber (equine tack and supplies shop)
Tough Timber created an app for their Facebook giveaway. To enter Tough Timber's contest, app visitors must first vote on their favorite print blanket for a chance to win one before they hit store shelves. Once a person votes, a promotion form appears which allows the user to then submit their entry.
In essence, Tough Timber's giveaway app is performing the same function as a (low- cost) focus group. Their focus group is of Facebook users who, all in their own way, are connected to or are familiar with the Tough Timber brand.
When an app is not Like-gated, an app's "focus group" (or the number of people they are engaging with through their app) tends to be much bigger than if they restricted the app to just people who have Liked their Page.
Takeaway: Not Like-gating an app allows a larger number of people, outside of your business's fanbase, to engage with your brand.
* This is chapter 2 from ShortStack's newest eBook "Why Every Business Needs to Stop Obsessing About Facebook Likes." Follow the link to download the full eBook.*