Marketers and Agencies Figuring Out How to Navigate Facebook’s New Contest Rules

Three weeks ago, Facebook announced significant updates to its promo/sweepstakes policies for Facebook Pages that have very practical impact for marketers on Facebook. For a deeper dive on the rule changes, see our analysis. But essentially, the new rules:

  1. Require all marketers to get explicit permission from Facebook at least 7 days before administering any promotion inside Facebook.
  2. Prohibit running any contests or promotions that require users to become a fan, interact with a feed story, or do anything else outside an application tab or canvas page in order to enter.

This means that “become a fan” contests, “status update” contests, “photo upload” contests, and any other kind of contest that requires commenting on or responding to items in the News Feed are no longer allowed. Rather, Pages must send users to a custom application tab to enter contests. This is good news for companies building Facebook Page tools for marketers.

Now, agencies and marketers are trying to understand whether these policies are being actively enforced, as many businesses and organizations have been experimenting with different types of contests to drive traffic and engagement on their Facebook Page over recent months, and several promotions that seem to violate the policies have continued to appear lately.

For example, a few weeks ago, an Ikea store in Sweden ran a promotion on their Facebook Page in which users who tagged photos of furniture with their names first won the items as prizes.  A Facebook spokesperson told us today that the promotion was indeed in violation of the new policies and would not be allowed to run today.

ikea

And last week, Gillette, one of the biggest brands in the US, announced a promotion on its Facebook Page, saying, “Become a fan today and you’ll be entered to win a free Fusion MVP,” a clear violation of the new policies. Gilette is also redirecting members from a sweepstakes tab to a signup form on Gillette.com to enter the contest, but the status update still exists on its Page, and is confusing to multiple marketers we’ve heard from. A Facebook spokesperson said he was not able to comment on individual campaigns beyond the Ikea case when we asked earlier today.

gillette

However, Facebook did share this statement about the new rules:

“Page administrators should read the guidelines before hosting any contests on their Page. We created the policy to help ensure a consistent experience on Facebook and ensure that eligible Page owners had the information they needed in order to host contests on their site.”

For now, it seems like many marketers aren’t yet aware that Facebook has updated its contest policies, and Facebook is not being as aggressive in policing Page contests as they are on Facebook Platform policy violations, likely because they’re still helping many advertisers figure out the new rules.

Because of this, we expect the confusion to continue. We advise Page managers to abide by the new policies as they plan campaigns. We also expect to see many cases of Facebook making marketers change their contests after launch.

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Leave a Reply

26 Responses to “Marketers and Agencies Figuring Out How to Navigate Facebook’s New Contest Rules”

  1. mike jones says:

    Ok so can you explain this to us…Is what this fan page is doing illegal…also how do we contact facebook, they don’t have a number and the email script filled a few out and no response..

    City of Sacramento
    http://www.facebook.com/cityofsacramento

  2. Dave Kerpen says:

    Mike- Yes, what that Page is doing is in violation of Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines. The Page is unofficial anyway and can be shut down anytime by Facebook.

  3. FacebookVanity.com says:

    Pretty cool. Check out this interesting idea that just launched for any facebook vanity web address. Top 10 lists and tons of categories. Interesting niche.

  4. Facebook Application Developers says:

    Facebook fan pages are miss used continuously.
    Now let see what happened after content policy updated.

  5. Tom Thaler says:

    Thanks for the notification.

    “get explicit permission from Facebook” sounds a little bit difficult. No eMail, no fax, no phonenumber … how we can get in contact with FB ?

  6. Harry T says:

    Hi, Dave – Why is the City of Sacramento page unofficial? How can you tell?

  7. Mikael says:

    The reason why facebook won’t allow contests that force people to become fans is that the live feed notifies users when one of their friends becomes a fan of something.

    Maybe they could get around that limitation by creating a new “become a fan” button that does not notify your friends when you click it.

  8. Geno Prussakov says:

    Good and important article, Justin. I didn’t know about the new rules, and that had IKEA run their ingenious (wasn’t it?) campaign now, they would’ve been in violation.

  9. lenny says:

    I think this just squeezes the little guy (business). We have been using facebook to help the little guy gain market coverage via the platform, now we have to run promos from these companies like wildfire who charge almost 10 times as much as we do to do the same thing… We are just trying to help the economy out by using coupons, promos, we never once say join our fan page we just give away free stuff to people who are our fans is that a crime?

  10. Nuovo regolamento per concorsi e promozioni su Facebook says:

    [...] Fonte: Inside Facebook [...]

  11. Chris Allison says:

    Hi Justin,

    I’ve heard that giveaways that are available to all fans are allowed, such as Outback’s recent coupon giveaway…do you know whether that’s right or not?

  12. Chris Allison says:

    I mean, can you make it something only visible to fans and say that they have to become a fan to get it, but they WILL get it…i.e. there is no chance or skill involved.

  13. Rishabh Verma says:

    After reading the new facebook policies for pages, i feel facebook in a way is trying to gain control on the online rights of the marketers. facebook will not be in benefit after changing the page policies in such a weired manner.

  14. Navigating Facebook’s New Contest Rules / what consumes me, bud caddell says:

    [...] Facebook recently published a post, Marketers and Agencies Figuring Out How to Navigate Facebook’s New Contest Rules, outlining the updated promo/sweeps guidelines from Facebook. According to the post, the two main [...]

  15. Rob Wagner says:

    The main problem we have encountered is trying to get a response from Facebook. We have multiple promotions that we would like to administer on Facebook and we have modified our promotions to follow the updated promotion guidelines but we have not been able to get a response from Facebook. However, it has been two weeks and we are unable to launch because we have do not have expressed written permission from Facebook. Has anyone had any luck contacting Facebook?

  16. Ollie says:

    I’m sorry but Facebook is behaving atrociously. They are becoming a horrible greedy little company… The whopper sacrifice won loads of awards this year yet was shut down after 10 days.

    Now they are shutting down the ability to use facebooks video and photo functionality for campaign. Absolute stupidity… and all without and kind of support for agencies or companys.

    We have been developing facebook connect applications and they (without much warning) totally change the way we have to implement cost time and aswell as peeing off the client…

    Companies need to fight back the way the people using facebook do when they change things, or Facebook need to start being more transparent.

  17. Facebook could send small marketers running with contest rule changes | SEO Essex Company. SEO Google Optimisation Expert & Internet Marketing For Essex. says:

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  18. The FASTForward Blog » New Rules for Marketing & Facebook: Enterprise 2.0 Blog: News, Coverage, and Commentary says:

    [...] I hear that the rules have been changed to prevent this. I post in full a status report from “Inside Facebook”. Sorry about being late on this. Hats off to @jmorris106 for the [...]

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  20. Facebook could send small marketers running with contest rule changes » Troy Cornejo says:

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  21. What You Need to Know About Facebook Fan Pages « Slice says:

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  23. Face Value -- JAM Cosmetics Review and Giveaway | Dance Advantage says:

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  25. Facebook changed rules on contests and promotions | Lemonsblack says:

    [...] InsideFacebook quoted a Facebook spokesperson on the Ikea campaign as: For example, a few weeks ago, an Ikea store in Sweden ran a promotion on their Facebook Page in which users who tagged photos of furniture with their names first won the items as prizes. A Facebook spokesperson told us today that the promotion was indeed in violation of the new policies and would not be allowed to run today. [...]

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