As of October 2019, Facebook started hiding likes on their posts following a successful phasing out of like counts on Instagram.

So naturally, our first question was ‘is hiding likes the end of like to win competitions on Facebook?’. If we can no longer see how many people like a post… does it take away the power of like to win competitions?

What does hiding likes mean for Facebook competitions?

Facebook competitions are almost a rite of passage for any marketer or business owner. At some point you will have thought about – or actually run – a competition on Facebook.

One of the most common types of Facebook competitions are ‘like to win’ competitions, where wannabe winners like your page and/or post in return for an entry into your competition. Like to win competitions on Facebook are easy to launch and easy to enter, yes, but they’re not exactly likely to result in a flurry of sales or leads for your business.

One of the (many) reasons we’re not fans of them.

The changes to the way we see post likes on Facebook will impact how you run a competition on the social media channel. Here’s a run down of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to Facebook’s decision to hide like counts.

THE GOOD

  • You can still see how many likes your posts have, but your audience can’t. This means it’s still technically possible to run a like to win competition on Facebook, see all entrants who have likes your post and pick your winner.
  • You (and everybody else) can still see how many – and who – likes a post on the desktop version of Facebook… for now at least. This still offers an element of social proof for your competition.
One of our favourites to follow on Facebook, Oh Crap dog poo bags show us how like counts on mobile (first image) are hidden vs desktop (second image) which shows the number of likes.
  • Though no one can truly give a definitive answer on the topic; it’s widely believed that likes are one contributing factor that help boost the chances of your post being seen in the newsfeed, so they may have a function beyond vanity metrics.

THE BAD

  • Social proof is thought to be a powerful motivating factor to get someone to act, it’s why we all collect testimonials and show our work. Seeing others have acted in a certain way encourages us to also act in that way. Removing likes, removes social proof.
  • When it comes to competitions, less social proof could mean a lot fewer entries for your competition…

THE UGLY

  • Choosing a winner from the likes on a post or page has always been a complete pain in the proverbial. It’s likely to stay that way (or even get harder) with likes being hidden.
  • Picking a winner from your page likes involves digging around in the back end settings of a Facebook page (which, let’s face it, nobody has time or patience for) and picking a winner from hundreds or thousands of post likes usually requires the help of a third party app such as Woobox.
  • As you know, we’re all about getting the conversions to emails, leads or cold, hard sales at OrigamiGlobe; and the benefits of a few page or post likes will rarely generate the leads and sales needed to justify the time, money and effort you invest in running your competition.

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Personally, we’re pleased about the changes and welcome the move away from like counts and like competitions – RIP vanity metrics is one of our battle cries after all.

Realistically though, we don’t think hiding likes on Facebook will spell the end for like to win competitions. For now at least, they’re still just as possible (and as much of a pain) to run as before and technically the social proof is still there in the comments and shares.

We are, however, hoping that this change forces marketers and business owners to think hard about what they’re getting in return for these likes and the effort vs the payoff for like to win competitions.

If you want to join Facebook in saying goodbye to likes and are ready to run a competition that might just make you money, instead of cost you money, check out our guide to alternative entry methods or get in touch with us for some ideas that will really make your business stand out from the crowd.

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