This week Facebook announced an update to its terms and conditions for Pages. In their words, they have made it “easier to administer promotions on Facebook” by removing the requirement that promotions (ie, competitions) have to be administered through a third-party.
What the rules were before
Previously, in order to comply with the terms as they were, any competition on a Facebook page needed to be managed through a tab. You couldn’t ask fans to enter a competition on your page using any of Facebook’s native functionality, like ‘likes’ or ‘comments.’ So all those ‘LIKE this post to enter!’ things you’d see were against Facebook’s terms and conditions.
What the rules are now
Or at least they were… But now Facebook are allowing competitions to be run through pages directly as well as via tabs. As they explain on the Facebook blog, “businesses can now:
- Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
- Collect entries by having users message the Page
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism”
Read the full post here.
Why it matters
I’ve seen mixed reactions to this from page owners. Some are excited – Facebook’s right, it does make competitions easier to administer – and some are concerned about the effect this will have on the News Feed. Will we be overrun with ‘like’ competitions? And what does it mean, given Facebook’s recent changes to the News Feed algorithm which indicated that posts asking for likes are seen as ‘low quality’ content?
Personally – for what it’s worth – I’m more pleased than concerned.
Why ‘like’ competitions shouldn’t replace third-party apps
I’m pleased because for quick competitions, using the ‘like’ or ‘comment’ functionality will be much easier. For a quick-win giveaway similar to a Twitter RT competition, or as a short-running contest which might form part of a larger campaign, this is a great way to run that kind of contest.
Sure, some pages will milk it – but if Facebook’s algorithm changes are as we assume, then hopefully repeat offenders will see their content branded as low quality. Plus in all likelihood, those pages may have been doing such competitions for ages, no matter what the terms say.
The other reason I’m not that concerned is because ‘like’ and ‘comment’ competitions aren’t going to replace tabs. A ‘like’ competition won’t give you longer-term engagement, it doesn’t allow you to collect email addresses, and it’s no good for a competition that you want to run for more than a few days. Third party providers still offer those things and they allow you to be creative. You can more easily invite fan contributions and ask fans to vote: all things that a simple ‘comment on this post to win’ competition won’t let you do.
So, I don’t think it’s the case that this change will mean the end of properly thought-out and creatively engaging competitions. For me, and I suspect for others, it just means I’ll now be able to run both types of promotion.
Plus, given that lots of the third-party competition app providers were offering new functionality to collect ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ within a day of the changes being announced – almost as if they were forewarned – makes me think they’re not going anywhere…