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Facebook moves to simplify promotions for brands

Facebook is attempting to make it easier for marketers to run promotions on the site by abandoning the need for third-party apps to run competitions, a move that has been welcomed by industry observers who claim it should increase participation levels.

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Facebook is now letting brands run competitions directly from their pages after relaxing its promotion guidelines.

The social network announced today (28 August) that is has updated its promotions policy to allow brands to run competitions directly from their Page Timeline. It means marketers can now collect entries by allowing fans to post on a page as well use as “Likes” as a voting tool for followers to enter contests.

Additionally, the update lets users post “Likes” and comments after entering a competition. Promotions, however will not appear on personal timelines

Previously, the social network prevented brands from using its own functions such as “Like”, “Share” and “Comment” in competitions forcing them to rely on apps to collect entries. The process - which can be cumbersome due to participants having to enter their details into an app - has drawn criticisms from users over concerns about inputting personal data. It had also sparked concerns from some quarters of the industry over  the lack of control marketers had over competitions and the number of Facebook advertisers that were unaware it was illegal to run them without an app.

Last year, a Boots competition, that used a third party app, attracted criticism after it mistakenly told 9,000 entrants they had won the prize.

Facebook says the changes make it “easier for businesses of all sizes” to launch their promotions on the network. It is hoped the updates will help curb illegal competitions run by smaller businesses on the social network.  

Tarryn Blackwood, account director at We Are Social, says brands, “particularly smaller ones”, have “historically” been running competitions directly from their pages, “so it’s a sensible move by [Facebook] to embrace it instead of fight against it”.

She adds: “This is, on the face of it, good news for brands. The costs of running a competition or promotion will fall considerably, it plays into how consumers actually use the platform by running competitions through the newsfeed and it will allow brands to be far more agile, allowing quick, reactive promotions.

“It is also, of course, another revenue booster for Facebook. Adverts driving Facebook users to tabs have never been particularly effective. These changes place far more emphasis on using mechanics that run within the “newsfeed” - which is where everyone wants to be.”

Ruth Hobbs, consultant with the Institute of Promotional Marketing’s (IPM) Legal Advisory Service, says the “new rules are much clearer than the previous ones”. It should lead to a rise in participation levels for competitions because consumers “have been wary about inputting their data into such apps” in the past she adds.

She says: “Perhaps most importantly, comments, likes or messages can now be used as mechanisms for entry to promotions, such as competitions and prize draws, and the ‘Like’ button can be used as a voting mechanism.

“Businesses are still responsible for their own promotions and must still state that the activity is not in any way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook. Furthermore, terms and conditions must make it clear to consumers who participate in a promotion that, by taking part, they release Facebook from any responsibility for the promotion.”

The IPM is updating guidelines, developed in partnership with Facebook last year, to reflect the changes.

Readers' comments (2)

  • The simplification of Facebook's rules on running promotions are to be welcomed. However they open the door to two serious risks. Firstly, the lower cost of entry could lead to a proliferation of promotions run on Facebook by those who lack the experience to run them well, undermining consumer trust in the industry and Facebook. Secondly, the new ability to enter a promotion or place a vote via the Facebook ‘Like’ mechanism will enable many opportunists and scampers to take advantage of the weakness of this system as an entry control mechanism. ‘Likes’ can be readily bought on the internet (typically $99 for 10,000) and unless appropriate care is taken, voting activities will be subject to fraud and manipulation, while prize draws relying on entry via submission of a comment or a message will find themselves getting spammed. All of this will occur within the very public arena of social media.Strong caution, solid terms & conditions and planning is suggested to minimise the risk.

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  • Its a brilliant initiative.. however FB could have better controlled it by making it work like "offers" the sections should allow specifics, with details verified. This would have ensured that FB gave better clarity to its users and obviously helped marketers gain millage.

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