With like-gating gone and organic reach for page posts down, what’s the point of Facebook for brands looking for a tangible return from their social media campaigns?

We think we’ve got the answer! and since the Like Gate changes, we’ve run 20 campaigns on the network, seeing email address acquisition up a whopping 81%! That’s very good news for brands who want to show a clear ROI from social marketing.

The Story

Rewind to the 5th November last year and Facebook pulled the plug on businesses growing their page likes through contests & promotions. We think that straight forward decision to end forced liking, made a very important statement about where Facebook see the future of their own business.

In social, quality is ultimately more valuable than quantity.

For Facebook it simply works this way.

So quality is the watch word.

“Like gating” set the bar low on quality. At its worst it inflated brand popularity figures as a vanity exercise and that obscured the bigger benefits of developing a Facebook community – like customer service, branding & reach.

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Since its demise, we haven’t mourned its loss once. In fact as we start to see where campaign results have shifted, it’s becoming a cause to celebrate.

From the 20 campaigns we’ve run since the like gate change, the overwhelming difference we can see is that data capture is on the rise.

The potential for data capture is up a lot – and we’re excited about that!

We always focus on trying to gather “opt-in” data from our client’s campaigns, simply because it’s the most effective way to get quality customer info. It stands to reason that opt-in emails are the most likely to convert to a sale. We’d suspected that “like gating” was a barrier to entry for some customers, but even we were surprised to see the uplift in participation was a jet fuelled 81%.

Gratifyingly, with such a big increase in entries there’s been no loss of quality data collection –with the number of people opting to sign up to mailing lists down just ½ % – meaning the network has even richer potential for quality data capture than ever before.

The other massive upside is in the potential reach for key campaign messages. With thoughtfully crafted campaign mechanics and creative, more customers are getting really high quality branded experience. Though we don’t have definitive numbers here yet, we’re also seeing traffic to clients’ websites growing too.

That’s a Win Win (Win) with more data, bigger reach and more traffic.

On the other side of the equation, next-to-no budget for page “Likes” means numbers here are down significantly at 67%, but notably organic likes during campaign periods are down less at 49%.

We think this is significant too as it means genuine fans are still seeking to engage with brands directly on their Facebook page and are finding them through great content and campaigns that get shared.

So these new likes are also high quality.

Of course, the problem with any “Like” is that as organic reach is scaled back to reduce the amount of brand “noise” on Facebook, connecting with any fan through their timeline is increasingly going to cost you ad spend.

We’re mindful of some variation in execution and Christmas being an unusual time of the year, we still think the results are really significant. Great I here you say, but how does this insight give you an answer to our key question?

Quality data is the ultimate point of Facebook (and it always has been for campaigns).

For most business, the potential to gather customer data from genuine prospects is the golden egg that Facebook lays every day – and in truth it always has been. A well thought out creative campaign that delivers high quality opt-in email addresses is the very best way to harvest those rich pickings.

With a good strategy, brands can convert quality email prospects at a significantly reduced cost to a network advertising campaign.

Critically, it’s also worth remembering that with customer data, brands own the relationship as it only relies on an email server – not the whims of a 3rd party platform.

Liking is dead – long live the data king!

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From our perspective, the future for building effective Facebook campaigns & communities for our clients is still very rosy.

It’s still the stand out network for all-round brand engagement with no prospect of a change and we’ve had tremendous success blending quality & reach from our advertising,

But it’s a fact that every penny, cent or dime a business invests in their relationship with customers on Facebook, makes them reliant on the network for engagement and paying for that isn’t going to stop.

So yes, deliver great engaging content and creative campaigns on Facebook if your audience is there, but always consider the upside of owning the relationship yourself and remember…

Customer emails are the ultimate ‘like’ your brand can get from Facebook… especially high quality opt-ins.

We specialise in those.