New Facebook Promotion Guidelines


Earlier this week, Facebook made an announcement that will change how marketers leverage one of the largest social platforms of all time. The social media bohemoth has changed rules that require promotions to be run through a third party programs (such as Wildfire and Buddy Media) and is once again allowing posts and likes on a brand’s Timeline to be considered contest submissions or votes.

To fully understand these changes, here are the highlights:

  • Requirement to run promotions through apps has been removed.
  • When running a promotion on your Fan Page Timeline, entries can be collected by having fans do the following;
    • Post on the Fan Page Timeline
    • Comment on a Fan Page post on the Timeline
    • Private message the Fan Page
    • Like a post on the Fan Page Timeline
    • Likes and comments can now be registered as votes on the Timeline

Also, here are some important rules that are going to stay the same;

  • Fan Pages cannot ask fans to share a post as a form of entry
  • Fan Pages cannot ask fans to tag themselves in a photo as a form of entry
  • Fan Pages cannot ask fans to perform any activity that will cause them to publish content on their personal Timelines as a form of entry

At first glance, this should be exciting news for Facebook marketers looking to increase engagement and build their fan base. By administering promotions directly on the Timeline, businesses allow more fans to enter contests with the click of a mouse (having Facebook as for permission on apps was often a big turnoff for fans). But, before you begin running giveaways on your Fan Page, make sure to consider a few things before doing so.

  1. Don’t forget the rules.
    Make sure not to forget to still create rules for all of your promotions. You may think it is unnecessary for running a simple giveaway like, “We will pick one person who likes this post to win X.” But, according to Facebook’s guidelines, you still need to have an official set of rules. While creating the rules and hosting them isn’t usually difficult, it can be time consuming (depending on the speed of your brand’s legal team) which can take away from the spontaneity that many marketers will be hoping for from these rule changes.

    If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

    1. The official rules
    2. Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
    3. Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals)

    Promotions must include the following:
    1. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    2. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

    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).

  2. Difficulty counting entries/votes.
    Another thing to consider is that not using a third party app will make the counting and analysis of entries much more difficult. Where apps like Wildfire pull all entries into an easy to read .CSV file, promotions run on the Timeline will need to be hand counted and marketers won’t have any ability to pull the entries to future reference.
  3. No more email capture.
    Along the same lines, running a promotion on the Timeline eliminates one of the biggest reasons many brands run promotions: email capture. Without a form to ask for an entrants information, brands are losing a potential lead source along with other valuable customer information (sex, age. Location, etc).
  4. Problems contacting winner(s).
    In the past, entrants shared their contact information to enter a promotion, making it easy to contact them. Without this contact information, brands may have to wait for the winner checks back to the page to see if they one0.
  5. Loss of branding opportunities.
    While building out a tab every time you want to run a promotion can be daunting, one huge benefit is being able to further your branding visually through these tabs. Running a promotion on the Timeline will eliminate the extra marketing messaging that could be pushed out through using tab creative.
  6. Potential stagnancy of creativity.
    When coding your own tab or using templates from third party vendors, there are many variations of contests and promotions people have been running (everything from photo contests to advent calendars and long form story contests). While running a promotion on a Timeline will be easy to run, brands run the risk of getting stagnant with promotion types without more customizable tabs.

It may seem like we are warning you against direct Timeline contests, but that is far from the truth. We believe this will be a valuable tool to achieve certain goals on Facebook such as driving engagement and likes, but it may not work to drive other business goals (especially lead gen). What we want you to do is consider your goals before deciding whether or not to run your promotion on a tab (or microsite) or hosting it directly on the Timeline.


Will your company be running promotions on the Fan Page Timeline soon?