Well, not exactly "dead". They're still massively used by brands on Facebook. The reason for this is simple - brands; just like the majority of people, see Facebook as a popularity contest. The more friends/likes you have, the more popular/successful you are: Enter Facebook Like-Gates. Using like-gates as a metric though, is becoming increasingly outdated.
Like-Gating content on your brand page is a simple way to increase your number of likes. If someone wants to play a game you've designed, or enter a competition, they have to like your brand before they are able to proceed. This theoretically increases your reach, as most users will publish this information to their news feed, further enhancing your audience. But let's consider the practicality and value of this process for a second.
In a previous article I stated that within social media, two factors remain paramount; content and engagement. These two factors are inherently linked and are the metrics you should really be measuring your social media success on. If you fill your page with exciting, shareable content, engagement will inevitably follow.
Likewise, if your brand page is just one long sales pitch, there are very few users who would take it upon themselves to share said content or actively engage with your brand. Facebook's Chief Operating Officer hit the nail on the head when she said "You have a voice. Your customers are listening and your customers are talking, so engage with them."
'Forcing' someone to like your brand is akin to dragging someone by the scruff of the neck into your front room, and sitting them in front of a TV so that they can watch your TV advert. Sure, they're watching the advert, but do they actually want to? Of course they don't, and as soon as the opportunity arises they will switch the TV off. In Facebook terms, that means un-liking your brand. Most tech-savvy Facebook users will also remove any evidence of their previous liking of your brand from their homepage and news feed, so what have you actually gained?
From a metrics perspective, Likes are incredibly old fashioned and difficult to measure. When a user likes your brand, the page auto-refreshes and your number of likes goes up by 1. What happens though, when a user un-likes your brand? Not much. If you delve deep into your analytics tools you can see how many users have un-liked your page on any given day, but that's about it. There is no notification process in place to make you aware of the loss of a follower, and for all intents and purposes that user still has access to your brand page, even though they no longer Like your page. So the Gate opens to let you in, and then forgets to close behind you.
Facebook's internal analytics tools for Developers are a testament to their own despise of Like-Gates. The one and only metric available is a simple 'number of likes'. You can however use the various tools at your disposal to found out much more interesting information; such as the number of people that are currently talking about your brand, and also the number of people that are sharing your content. Remember, Facebook "helps you connect and share with the people in your life", and these priceless insights into your apps/pages levels of success are the metrics you should really be interested in, and more importantly focusing your strategy on.
From a developer's perspective, Like-Gates are becoming increasingly difficult to incorporate. It seems that particularly since the recent changes to brand timelines, developers are having to jump through more and more hoops in order to employ a simple Like-Gate. What was once a straightforward line or two of code has turned into a full-blown custom page or app. Might it be that Facebook are consciously attempting to phase Like-Gates out from brand pages completely? We think so.
Brands seem to be forgetting the most simple of things when trying to engage on Facebook. Instead of forcing someone to Like your brand in order to enter a competition, why not fill your page with interesting, relevant content that will generate new Likes irrespective of rewards? If you want to further enhance the user experience and your brand perception, why not enter all of your new followers into a monthly prize draw? It doesn't have to be an all-singing, all-dancing prize that costs you thousands. As the old saying goes, it really is the thought that counts.