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Facebook Fan-Gating: Definitions, Best Practices, How-to’s and Resources

UPDATE: This post is no longer relevant due to the changes brought by Facebook’s new Timeline design. Here’s a post about re-thinking fan-gating strategy in the post-Timeline era:


So you want to create a fan gate a.k.a. custom tab a.k.a. welcome tab a.k.a. reveal tab for your business Facebook page? Here are some definitions, best practices, how-to’s and resources to get you started.

First, let’s just decide what to call it! For the sake of simplicity, let’s just call it a fan gate, at least for the duration of this article. So what exactly is a Facebook fan gate?

Definition of Facebook “Fan Gate”

“Fan gate” (noun): Refers to a custom “welcome tab”, also known as a “reveal tab” on Facebook.

Definition of Facebook “Fan-gating”

“Fan-gating (verb): Refers to the process of “creating two versions of a tab on your [Facebook] page—one that’s shown to users who already Like your page and one to those who have not Liked the page” (Social Media Examiner, 2011). Also known as “like-gating”. Most commonly used to increase the number of “likes” on a business Facebook page.

Facebook Fan gate Best Practices

Let’s focus first on the tab itself. Your Facebook fan gate should follow some basic best practices:

  1. “Welcome new visitors to the page”
  2. “Explain what your company does and the value it provides”
  3. “Offer reasons why someone should Like your page”
  4. “Invite visitors to Like your page”
  5. Keep it simple!

Source: What is Your Facebook Welcome Tab Strategy? by David Gorr

Facebook Fan-gating best practices

If you decide to create two versions of your fan gate, one pre-like and one post-like, be sure to follow these best practices

  1. “Avoid gimmicks. Stay true to your brand.”
    Translation: Don’t deperately beg for any and all likes. Speak to the ones who would be “truly interested in your brand and what it has to offer”
  2. “Strive for authenticity and exclusivity.”Translation: Give them something they absolutely cannot get elsewhere. Whatever it is you’re giving away through the like-gate, from e-books to promotional offers or coupons, make sure it’s unlike any other offer in your industry.
  3. “Watch your post-campaign engagement.”This is the most important. “Overall engagement levels…decrease as the number of fans increase.” With Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm (the algorithm that determines when and if your posts show up in your fans’ News Feeds) relying more and more heavily on engagement (the number of “likes” and comments each individual post gets), this has got to be your primary focus.Regardless of how many fans you gain through your Facebook Fan-gating campaign, you simply MUST keep them engaged. Check out the end of the source article below for some tips on increasing engagement on your posts.

Source: 3 Best Practices for Like-Gating Your Facebook Fan Page by Elizabeth Riley

Facebook Fan-gating: Resources

The two source articles above are great reads on the topic of Facebook fan-gating, but also be sure to check out the following two articles:

How to Create a Facebook Fan Gate

Okay, you’ve studied up on the best practices, you have your plan for keeping fans engaged, and now you’re ready to create your fan gate.  You’ve got three options:
  1. Hire someone to do it for you. Easiest option, yet most expensive.
  2. Code it yourself in HTML, PHP, or other programming language and pull it to Facebook with the iFrame application. This is the lowest cost, and most insane, option for creating your Facebook fan gate. However, if you are a glutton for punishment, here are the instructions: How to Make a Custom Facebook Page with an Iframe Application. (P.S. – This used to be done through “Static FBML”, but that has since been retired by Facebook.)
  3. Create it yourself through an app. This is the middle-of-the road option. It may cost you a few dollars, but apps like TabSite, PageModo, and Lujure allow you to create your own Facebook fan gate through a drag and drop interface. It may not be as simple as the first option, but it is most certainly not as hard as the second. Most offer a free trial or even a free Facebook fan gate (with limited functionality), so this option is certainly worth a shot.

Have You Created a Facebook Fan Gate? Share Your Experience!

If you have created a Facebook fan gate or tried a Facebook fan-gating promotion, please share your experience in the blog comments below. What worked for you? What didn’t?

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Pam Aungst

President & Chief Web Traffic Controller at Pam Ann Marketing
Pam Ann Aungst, M.B.A., President of Pam Ann Marketing, LLC, is widely recognized as an expert in search engine optimization (SEO). A self-proclaimed “geek”, Pam began studying computer programming at 6 years old, started creating websites in 1997 and has been working professionally in the field of e-commerce since 2005. Referred to by Sprout Social as a “Twitter Success Story,” she harnessed the power of social media to launch her own agency in 2011. Pam has been interviewed by publications such as Internet Retailer magazine, regularly publishes articles in top internet marketing news sources, and speaks on topics such as SEO and social media.
  • Riggins Construction

    Great points and something to think about for sure.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much for the feedback! Glad it was helpful.

  • Bridget Willard

    I like it.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Bridget! That means a lot coming from you. :)

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