New Facebook Promotions Rules: A Look at What it Means for You

New Facebook Timeline Promotions

Yesterday, Facebook decided to drop a bomb on the world of social media marketing by announcing the new promotions rules.

We all know promotions, contests and sweepstakes are important for brands and small businesses to expand their digital footprint, grow their communities and increase loyalty with existing customers.

It’s only natural to expect a big reaction…

But lets look at what was announced first:

Facebook updated its Page Terms and removed the requirement to run promotions through 3rd-party Apps.

This basically means that you can:

  1. Run Promotions on Page Timelines and in apps (not on personal profiles)
  2. Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  3. Collect entries by having users message the Page
  4. Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

Facebook has also made the Facebook Promotion Guidelines available for download.

And, they also published this video that summarizes the announcement:

This is a pretty big announcement and It has been impossible to ignore, in the Tsunami of reactions, how people compare between running a contest on an App (Tab) or on the actual Timeline. We wanted to share some of our initial thoughts and hopefully add some clarity.

So here we go…

Advantages of running a promotion on the Timeline

Facebook Timeline Promotion1) Save time and money

Having the possibility of running a promotion right from a post on the Timeline means you no longer need to design and manage an App/Tab, or having to use a 3rd-party service.

2) Instant participation

Users can immediately participate by engaging with your content. They do not need to “enter” and there are no requirements.

This is also good for Non-Fans participation.

3) Voting system

The post engagement becomes the voting system. You can decide to award a prize to the best comment or use Likes as votes to best comment.

Using Likes as votes is very positive since it is a tool users are familiar with and very comfortable using.

You can even run a quick photo contest, since Facebook has recently rolled out the option to add images in comments. Just consider that posts can be shared but comments can’t.

4) Mobile-Friendly

With increasing number of Facebook mobile users, we can’t ignore that Page Tabs are not naturally viewable on mobile devices.

Running your promotion from a post on the Timeline automatically makes it mobile-friendly.

5) Increased Engagement

This means that you have bigger and better opportunities to increase your post Engagement and therefore your Reach and chances to make it to the News Feed.

One thing you should consider also is that, on another announcement made last week, Facebook lists the following as one of the considerations for determining “quality content”:

“Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)”

This probably just applies to the Page but, I recommend keeping an eye open…

When should you run a promotion on your Page’s Timeline?

Timeline promotions will be great to run quick promos to keep your Fans on their toes. Remember your favorite radio show promo saying “Caller number 15 gets 2 tickets to see…”

Promotions that are simple and can be ran on a single post. Not for more elaborated promotions.

What Timeline Promotions will NOT do for you

Lets face it, there are quite a few aspects of a promotion you need to consider before making the decision between running on the Timeline or running with an App/Tab…

  • How to promote outside of Facebook
  • The promotion landing page on a dedicated Tab versus having your traffic land on a Post
  • The logistics of launching and closing a promotion
  • Notifying the winner is not the same as publicly announcing it
  • Where does all the legal content like Rules, Offer terms and eligibility requirements, acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook… where does all this info go?

But there are 3 essential things you can’t do from the Timeline:

1) Lead Generation

This is probably my biggest concern at the moment. The main reason for running contests on your Facebook Page is to drive some kind of conversion:

  • Convert Fans into Subscribers
  • Lead Generation

Without the integration of sign-up or custom forms, or gathering any data from your participants, you are eliminating any possibility for lead generation.

App Lead Generation

2) Like-Gating

Another one of the big reasons both brands and small businesses run promotions on their Facebook Pages is to grow their audience.

Running a promotion on the Timeline does not give you the possibility to turn participants or voters into Fans. Other than organically, of course.

App Like-Gate

3) Integrations

Some of the most popular contests ran by Pages today are based on the integration between Facebook and other platforms like Instagram, provided by 3rd-party services.

This integration is impossible on the Timeline and without the API integration already provided on Apps, that allows you to pretty much add them in a couple of clicks.

Final Thoughts

The idea of bringing promotions to the front-end is good but to me, there are 3 main concerns today:

  1. In marketing in general, you must remain in full control to be able to test, adjust and analyze your campaign, promotion or whatever you’re running. In this case, I feel like I’m giving Facebook 50% of the control
  2. The impossibility to gather any kind of data from participants kills the one and only goal for any business to run a contest. Unless you’re Redbull or Starbucks…
  3. People have been running contests on Facebook against the rules all this time, now the doors are opened to move into the Timeline and I’m afraid, this also opens the doors to lower quality promotions and even spam

Does this mean Facebook Promotions on the Timeline are not going to work?

Timeline promos are going to work as long as Page Admins identify the opportunities to run them and understand the limitations to move to an App.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Francisco Rosales

Co-Founder and CMO at TabFoundry. Author of the kick-ass Social Media blog SocialMouths, lover of mountain biking and fan of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. You can also connect with me on Twitter.

  • Scott Ayres

    I think it’s a good move by Facebook. It was an impossible rule to enforce and now pages will be more inclined to run an ad for the contest post.. win-win

  • Laura

    I really wish Facebook could find a way to make apps (tabs) mobile friendly.