Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fan-gating - Yay or Nay?

I'm sure many of you would have come across similar imagery to the one above when you're on Facebook brand pages. This is call fan-gating. The reason why many brands do it is to get more people to Like their brand / page. I'm against the idea that brands need to fan-gate especially if it's a contest by the brand. I feel that people should be able to participate freely, but not necessarily like your brand / page.

Speaking from an ethics point of view, personally I feel it's not right. Why do you need to Like the brand before joining a contest? If your brand sucks, it sucks and that is the perception that the brand would need to fix though marketing efforts or PR, but definitely not forcing people who do not believe in the brand to Like the brand.

I am against this is because someone who Likes your page for the purpose of joining a contest or for the purpose of any promotional offer, is not a quality fan. They would most likely tend forget, Unlike, or won't engage with your brand anymore once the contest / offer period is over. Why would this matter you ask? Well, simply put it in terms of advertising dollars. How much would you pay to get a non-quality fan versus a quality fan?

At the end of the day, the idea of having brand pages is all about having long term engagements with quality fans. Think about it. Would you rather have 5,000 fans with 1% engagement rate, or would you rather have 100,000 fans with 1% engagement rate? What then happened to the advertising dollars spent on getting those fans? The development cost for the application to run that contest? Would it be money well spent if your goal was to grow fans by fan-gating then? Maybe not. Similar to respect, Likes should be earned and not forced upon.

What do you think? Should brands fan-gate?