Facebook Promotion Guideline Changes

Facebook Promotion Guideline Changes
Facebook likes are earned, not owned media. Are you tilling the field for likes?
Facebook likes are earned media not owned media
Recent Facebook Promotion Guideline changes have simplified running Facebook contests

Facebook Contests Without Apps Now Allowed

Running Facebook contents from your fanpage has always taken some wrangling, in part due to the restrictions in the Facebook Promotional Guidelines requiring all contests be created and administered within a Facebook app (application).

This particular Facebook contest requirement deterred many from running Facebook contests while pushing others to run them in violation of then-current Facebook promotion guidelines.

Then on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, Facebook Promotion Guideline Changes were announced in efforts to make it easier for Facebook fanpage administrators, in particular for small to medium sized businesses, to create and administer Facebook contests and promotions directly on their Facebook fanpages, without requiring the fanpage administrator to run the Facebook contest within an app.

According to Facebook,

“Why we’re doing it? 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”

Prior to this announcement, it has been against Facebook Promotion Guidelines for users to entice other facebook users to like their fanpage and engage with content on their Facebook fanpage outside of the context of a Facebook App.

This new announcement will turn Facebook Fanpage Outlaws into law abiding Facebook administrators whose rouge promotional Facebook contest running directly on fanpages are now supported by the Facebook Promotion Guideline changes.

Facebook Contests App Requirement Previously Inhibited SMBs

Facebook promotion updates are small businesses friendly
Facebook promotion guideline changes are small businesses friendly

The requirement that all Facebook contests had to be administered though apps has inhibited small to medium sized businesses from running these contests. This inhibition was due to the increased complexity and in some cases, costs, of configuring and using third party applications required to create and administer a compliant Facebook contest.

Others Facebook fanpage administrators use the beg forgiveness if we get caught model, risking the consequences of breaking the rules by running their contests outside a Facebook app.  Like when a policeman pulls you over in another city, state or country and gives you a ticket for something you didn’t know was illegal,  “ignorance is not a defense”.

Want to Run a Facebook Contest? Here is what you need to know

 Facebook Promotion Guidelines that Changed

Facebook has removed the requirement that Facebook contests and promotions only be administered through Facebook apps. This is a significant change and opportunity for online marketers everywhere using Facebook contests to promote their fanpage.

The Facebook Promotion Guideline changes allow fanpage administrators to run Facebook contests directly on their fanpage timeline.

Of course, businesses that want to can also still promote contest with Facebook apps, it’s just now they aren’t longer required to do so.

For example a small business owner can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the fanpage or engage with a comment, like or share of a post,
  • Collect entries by having users message the fanpage to one of their friends,
  • Utilize likes for a fan’s post on your fanpage as a voting mechanism to select a winner

Facebook Promotion Guidelines that Didn’t Change

What hasn’t changed, however, is that businesses cannot administer Facebook contests on their personal profile timelines and accurate tagging is required in all promotions. It is important to follow these promotion guidelines when running your Facebook contest.

In order to maintain the accuracy of the fanpage content, Facebook states that

“our promotional rules prohibit fanpage administrators from tagging or encouraging people to tag themselves in content that they are not actually depicted in.”

For example:

  • It’s allowed within the Facebook Promotional Rules to ask people to submit names for a new product in exchange for a chance for them to win a prize. This can be a great mechanism to not only drive engagement but crowd source input on a new prod
  • It’s not allowed within the Facebook Promotional Rules to asked people to tag themselves and pictures of new products.

Facebook says

 “we hope these updates will enable more businesses to use Facebook to launch their promotions.”

For more information check of the Facebook page highlighting the  changes to Facebook Promotion Guidelines, and for the current terms, FAQs and best practices for running Facebook contests, check out the Facebook Promotion Guidelines (pdf format).

Facebook Contest Examples

Here is an example Facebook contest that is now legal but would have violated the Facebook promotion guidelines in place prior to 27-Aug-2013.

Here is another example of a Facebook contest taking advantage of the Promotion Guideline changes:


The Facebook Promotion Guidelines changes announced on 27-Aug-2013 have significantly simplified Facebook contest administration by allowing fanpage administrators to run Facebook contests without the need to do so within a Facebook app. eBiz ROI thinks that this will open the door for many more small businesses to run Facebook contests.

Creating a Facebook contest natively within a fanpage is faster and easier than creating and administering a contest within a third party app . Additionally, as with all fanpage posts, Facebook contest posts are eligible to be displayed in the News Feeds of the people who are fans (i.e. have liked the fanpage) and can be promoted to a broader audience than through a Facebook contest administered through only an app.

The Winners? Small business owners who want to run Facebook contests without the complexity of 3rd party apps. The losers? The third party application providers, who develop, sell, configure and support Facebook applications used to administer Facebook contests.

There are still advantages to administering a Facebook contest through an app such as creating a more personalized experience, more in line with your branding strategy, more space and flexibility for content. Other advantages include the apps ability to collect data in a secure, structured way that may be appealing to advertisers, particularly larger consumer brands.

There has never been a better time to try to run a Facebook contest so those interested in growing their fanpage fan base are encouraged to explore creative ways to do so with our without an App. Now the choice is yours.


Rick Noel is an experienced digital marketer enabling businesses and organizations to grow through the Internet, while maximizing marketing ROI (Return On Investment). Rick is the CEO and Co-Founder of eBiz ROI, Inc., a full-service digital marketing agency located in Ballston Lake, NY.

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