Facebook Updates Contest Rules

A few weeks ago, Facebook decided to update their ‘Page Terms’. Essentially, they’ve made it much simpler for a business of any size to create and administer promotions on Facebook. Before this update, page administrators would have to use a third party app to run a sweepstakes and/or contest, but Facebook recently came out with a blog post on the latest update explaining how they no longer require these third party apps. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot more contests on the brand pages you follow with the lift of these previous restrictions.

“We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps. Now, promotions may be administered on page Timelines and in apps on Facebook. For example, businesses can now:”

- Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post.
- Collect entries by having users message the page.
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism.

“Accurate tagging is required in promotions; In order to maintain the accuracy of Page content, our Pages Terms now prohibit Pages from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in. So, for instance:”

- It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
- It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

Pros and Cons of the Facebook Update

Let’s discuss some pros and cons to these recent updates from Facebook. The first pro is for the small and medium sized businesses of the social world. Many of these SMB’s do not have a large budget for social media, and having to use third party apps to host a contest on your Facebook page could cost you a substantial amount of money. It would also require some research, whether it is an agency running the contest or working directly with a third party vendor. Another pro to these new updates is the turnaround time. It is much easier to run a quick giveaway without the entire process of putting together creative, getting it approved, solidifying terms and conditions, etc. A business can now give something away with the click of a button without waiting and at no additional cost.

Now, as a digital marketing agency, let’s touch on some of the cons to these new updates. After having these updates out for about 10 days now, there has been a lot of discussion as to why this update isn’t ideal. One main point that keeps popping up among a variety of people (business owners, agencies, vendors) is the purpose of running a sweepstakes and contest is to collect the proper data. Business owners who are looking for email addresses, names, and addresses (in some cases) in return for giving something away, cannot capture this data without hosting a contest on a third party app.

Timeline Screenshot

Another advantage of hosting a contest through a third party app is the opportunity to gain definite ‘Likes’. Within the application you have the ability to ‘Like Gate’ the contest. This means that the participant would have to ‘Like’ your page before being able to enter to win. This is not the case for the new updates Facebook made where you are able to ‘Like’ a particular post without liking the Page and, therefore, there is no guarantee the user will also ‘Like’ the page. The other downside to the new Timeline contest updates would be the actual collection of entries and data. You would need to manually count ‘Likes’ on a particular post and then choose the winner.

It is important to analyze what exactly you are trying to accomplish when it comes to running a contest or sweepstakes. Are you trying to keep it cost and time efficient? Are you trying to collect useful data? There are advantages and disadvantages to both the Timeline contest and third party app and depending on your goals, you may choose one way over the other.

With the recent changes in the Facebook Timeline algorithm and now their contest terms, it’s always important to stay up to date on the frequent changes they make so that brands can stay on top of items that may have an impact on how business pages are managed.