New Facebook Promotion Guidelines: Apps no longer required!

Today Facebook have made a huge announcement for compers and everyone who runs competitions, prize draws, sweepstakes or contests. Promotions on Facebook NO LONGER have to be hosted on an app. Well, I can’t say I saw this one coming! The IPM were working with Facebook for ages on their document ‘IPM guidelines on running promotions on Facebook’, published in March this year (see my post ‘How to run a Facebook promotion’). So why the sudden change of heart?

The new Facebook Promotion guidelines are very brief (too brief, if you ask me) and can be found here.

On the Facebook for Business blog, it says 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

I’m really disappointed with that final bullet point about voting competitions. For years I have campaigned against this terrible method of deciding a competition winner. It’s open to so much abuse, and encourages people to buy fake Facebook accounts and vote-exchange. I’m simply amazed that Facebook would condone it as a fair way to run a competition, and I still won’t be promoting any comps that utilise it.

On a positive note, as well as being easier for small businesses to run promotions, this change in the rules will make promotions mobile-friendly. If a competition or prize draw can be entered by simply liking, commenting or messaging the page then that’s easy on a phone, whereas accessing an app is usually impossible.

But the question remains – how will the promoter successfully contact the winner without having access to their email address via an app? It’s easy if they’ve entered by sending a message to the page, as the winning reply will go to the entrant’s main inbox. And if it’s a Comment competition, or a post on the timeline, the promoter can reply and tag the winner’s name. But if the entrant only had to Like a post, the promoter will have to send a message via a personal Facebook account and the message will go into the Other inbox, possibly never to be seen by the winner. Perhaps Facebook will now make it possible for a brand or promoter to directly message any fan who likes/comments on their page, with that message going into the usual inbox? I hope so – I’ve seen too many promoters announcing their winners in a timeline post and asking them to get in touch, only for an imposter to claim the prize! Personally, I think promoters should ALWAYS contact a Facebook winner privately before announcing their name in public on their timeline.

Another odd thing is that it’s not clear until you really delve into the main Facebook Page Guidelines that the dreaded Like and Share competitions are NOT allowed. Why not make this much clearer on the Promotions Guidelines PDF?

3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).

So, the good news is that we can expect to see more creative competitions where you comment or post a photo to enter, with entries being judged. The bad news is that we will see even more unimaginative ‘Like this photo to win it’ and ‘The comment with the most likes wins’ competitions, where entrants with access to hundreds of fake accounts will win by cheating. But overall, we WILL see loads more giveaways, which of course is great news for compers!

I’d love to know what your thoughts are on these new guidelines – will it make Facebook more appealing to you as a comper, or result in NewsFeed meltdown?

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