Hiding Content Behind A Like

Brands using the lure of exclusive content on Facebook to grow fan numbers in a bid to encourage engagement, is nothing new.

The New Yorker is experimenting by hiding an article by Jonathan Franzen behind their ‘Like’, making it only available to people who click that button and become opted-in to consuming content from their page.

A spokeswoman from the newspaper has said:

“Our goal with this isn’t just to increase our fans. We want to engage with people who want to engage on a deeper level.”

However, I do not tend to agree that a ‘like’ indicates ‘a deeper level’ of engagement. indeed, it doesn’t indicate engagement at all.

It indicates endorsement.

Engagement then occurs subsequently as ‘fans’ leave comments and embark on taking part in dialogue with other like-minded people.

It is then in that moment that a brand can interact and engage.

A ‘like’ is akin to being given access to the door and walking through it; just because you walk into a shop doesn’t mean you’re going to buy something.

I’d like to see TNY take part in dialogue and rewarding their readers with more than straight forward content, but with experiences and opportunities not available to those who aren’t a part of the community.

It’s a start, but there’s so much more that can be done. It seems a little like a gimmick to me – what do you think?

2 thoughts on “Hiding Content Behind A Like

  1. Sound like (hur!) it is them trying to manipulate the popularity of their posts in users Walls (when in standard mode) by making them popular across a wide spectrum of users.

    The headline event is the reader engaging in the content (or whatever), but the underlying goal is to fix a low ranking inside Facebook’s internal algos for what to put on the Wall.

  2. Hey Matt,

    This is an interesting move and arguably the first signs of organisations trying to game Likes – something I expect we’ll see more of as SEO evolves towards Social Search.

    You’re right in that this activity is definitely not a ‘deeper level of engagement’. I would also suggest that if you’re being forced to Like something in order to view it, it is not even an endorsement.

    How can you endorse something you haven’t viewed?

    If anything, this sort of gaming will result in the value of a Like decreasing, as we have seen with other SEO techniques which try to get websites further up Google rankings.

    It’ll be interesting to see if this catches on…



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