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.
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.