By Erik Qualman
In a recent decision, Facebook users will no longer be able to click a “Become a Fan” button for a page or brand, rather they will click “like” button for a brand or page. My opinion is that there are 3 reasons for this change:
1. Increased consistency and simplicity of Facebook terminology for its users.
2. Facebook has determined that “like” is more clicked on than “become a fan” of this page or brand. This is important because once Facebook launched the capability for advertisers to include a clickable button on their paid Facebook ads stating “become a fan” and that this button was also trackable for the client; Facebook paid ads are often judged on how many fans they receive for how much money was being spent. Obviously it’s in Facebook’s best interest for ads to perform well, so if the barrier to clicking is mitigated by switching to “like” than it makes monetary sense for Facebook to do so.
3. Facebook is ready to launch the capability for users to click the “like” button when they aren’t on Facebook. In other words if you are on www.gm.com or www.snickers.com you can click a button indicating that you “like” the page. This helps expand Facebook’s influence beyond www.facebook.com and is also helpful to the user.
There are some distinct benefits in the above list and as a whole it’s the right move. However, one thing that I will miss, as David Berkowitz astutely points out, is that it is nice for companies to have a sense to who their true fans/loyal customers are. Although only a slight semantic change, “like” reduces the barrier to entry. Just think about your current behavior on status updates, isn’t it much easier to click “like” on a status update? So, we should see an increase in the amount of people that “like” a brand/product/movie/church/etc. but it was nice that at one point in time we knew who the hardcore fans really were. What do you think?