IPM to help revise Facebook Promotion Rules

If you’re a comper then you’ve probably heard about the IPM – Institute of Promotional Marketing (previously the ISP, Institute of Sales Promotion), the trade association that represents promoters, agencies and service partners engaged in promotional marketing. Their mission is to ‘protect, promote and progress effective promotional marketing across all media channels’. If you have a complaint about a promotion then you can contact them at complaints@theipm.org.uk and they will look into it. 

The IPM published a news article yesterday announcing they’ll be working with Facebook UK to redraft their promotion rules, after receiving a rise in enquiries about what the rules actually mean. Since the last revision of the rules in May, many promoters, bloggers and compers have been confused about what can and can’t be done on Facebook. The rules aren’t easy to find and many companies aren’t even aware they exist! Few people know that ANY competition run on a Facebook wall is breaking the rules – a separate ‘App’ (tab) must be used. 

I blogged in July about how you can run a Facebook promotion without breaking the rules. The main problem with running a wall promotion (for example, comment/like/share to win) is that a promoter isn’t getting a contact email address from entrants, so they have to announce the winner in a wall post (against the rules) or send a Facebook message (also against the rules). Many entrants won’t be lucky enough to spot a wall post announcement in their Newsfeed (it’s impossible to guarantee fans will see every status update) and others will have activated Privacy settings to prevent receiving messages from non-friends. If a message is sent from the promoter it goes into the ‘Other’ inbox, which members don’t receive notifications about and is hard to find (see screenshot below). If you’re not a regular competition entrant, you’re not likely to know about this Inbox and can miss out on prizes as a result; this isn’t fair as it’s the promoter who’s actually at fault.

Facebook promotional policies state that all competitions must be run using an ‘App’ (ie. accessed via a separate tab on the Facebook page) yet strangely Facebook have not developed a simple sweepstakes or competition App to enable promoters to do this easily. The only Apps that are available – from NorthSocial, Wildfire, Binkd etc – all cost money; money which many small companies don’t have. So it’s no wonder they run the comps on their wall!

Hopefully the IPM will be able to work with Facebook on producing a new set of rules that will be clear, easy to understand and not too restrictive. If Facebook could be encouraged to develop a free App to run prize draws and competitions then I think a lot of promoters would change their ways. If this isn’t done, my fear is that promoters will stop their Facebook competitions altogether and that would be a shame because many of the wall promotions are quirky and fun. Sadly, for all those that are fun there are plenty of ‘Share to win’ and ‘Tag us in your status’ comps which require Public sharing, where essentially the promoter is recruiting fans to spam on their behalf!  

I’ll be interested to hear what suggestions the IPM make to Facebook – my employer Accolade is an IPM member, and when I hear more on the revised Facebook rules I’ll be sure to let you know!

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