Facebook drastically changed its contest rules for businesses this week. Businesses can now run contests and promotions freely on their own timelines without the use of a third-party app, Facebook announced.
What was once against the rules is now permissible by allowing Facebook users to like, comment, or create posts on a page as a voting mechanism or entry into a contest.
“We want to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook, and to align our policies to better meet the needs of marketers,” Facebook stated in its promotions help document.
Now businesses can run promotions right on their timelines and:
- 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.
Does that mean apps are dead? No, in fact, Facebook gives insight into how to decide between using an app versus using the timeline for a contest:
Creating a promotion with an app on Facebook allows a Page to create a more personalized experience, more in line with your branding strategy.
Apps provide more space and ﬂexibility for content than Page posts alone. Promotions run through apps can collect data in a secure, structured way that may be appealing to advertisers, particularly larger brands.
Creating a promotion with a Page is faster and easier. Additionally, as with all Page posts, Page posts about promotions are eligible to be displayed in the News Feeds of the people who like the Page and can be promoted to a broader audience.
Businesses always have the option of using both an app and their Page to administer a promotion.
With the announcement, Facebook also said its page terms are updated to restrict pages from tagging or encouraging Facebook users to tag themselves in content "that they are not actually depicted in."
What that means for contests and promotions, Facebook stated, is that it’s fine to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize, for example, but not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize.
For example, this approach is OK:
Facebook explained this decision further:
We want to make sure that people continue to post authentic, high quality content to their Facebook Timelines to stay better connected with the people they care about.
There are technical reasons for conﬁning the administration of the promotion to either a Page or in an app. For example, because people can choose to limit the visibility of the content they put on Facebook to only themselves, friends, or to a custom group of people, Pages won’t have the ability to access all of the entries that people post on their own Timelines unless these entries are public.
If you're thinking about running a contest for your Facebook page, be sure to brush up on Facebook’s promotional guidelines, found in Section E, here.