Industry Experts Welcome New Facebook Contest Guidelines

Point of view

Facebook simplified its contest and promotions guidelines yesterday, announcing that brands can run contests on the page itself and not compulsorily through a separate tab. Post this rescript by the social media giant, we have decoded what this could mean for brand managers and agency owners. While it is a welcoming change for a few, others have condemned the changes.

In response to Facebook removing third party application as an obligatory method to run a contest on Facebook, many contests can attract fake fans. Though the change might be beneficial to small and medium brands, it has its own pros and cons when evaluated on a factual level.

We spoke to industry experts and got their opinions and thoughts on it.

Sandeep Balan

Head, Digital Marketing at United Breweries Ltd.

This is welcome news for us, considering that voting for the songs that are released every week on our page as part of Kingfisher Strong Backstage, is an integral part of the user engagement and helps decide the ‘Most popular song of the month’. This will help users to cast their vote right then and there, post consuming the content on their feed, instead of the current practice of clicking and landing on a separate page to vote which is an additional step.

Saurabh Kanwar,

President, Flarepath Digital

Unequivocally, this is a brilliant shift. We’ve had some really great contests before these rules came into play, and the social reach was fantastic because this was on the users’ social graph as actions.

Some of our best-thought out contests and fan activations these days have dismal outcomes because there is too much friction for users to go to tabs, and with a lot of users coming from mobile, the situation has just been compounded.

I would also think that this will help the real-time feel come back to FB engagement, because community managers can hardly be spontaneous when tabs need to be set up. That action is currently on Twitter, clogging up the timeline with iPad giveaways and the like.

Harshil Karia

Co-founder & Strategist, FoxyMoron

Brands can now do contests on Facebook using Facebook features. The good news is that there are very few limitations on the kind of features you can use to run contests. The entire gamut of likes, shares, and comments can be used to run contests which is great. The only limitation is tagging friends in a comment which is fair because it invades a user’s privacy.

The disadvantage of running these contests is the fact that on every user participation, one can’t have a controlled branded message on the users’ wall. The advantage, however is that one is likely to see more ‘volume’ on Facebook Wall contests and as a result the net gain of running a contest on brand visibility will be much higher and this will essentially quell the above stated disadvantage.

All in all, this is great news for brands. Brands should however be careful not to overuse this feature to gain short term interactivity spikes because consistent holding of contests can invite the wrong kind of audiences – ones with the only intention of winning prizes and not necessarily buying a product or a service which is the Holy Grail of all advertising on social media.

Ekalavya Bhattacharya

Head Digital, MTV India

I really hope this doesn’t encourage brands to conduct contests every day. The problem I have with such contests is that they give you an ephemeral moment of engagement. I wish people participated in contests because they loved a brand. Unfortunately this is never the case. Usually the same lot of people end of participating in all the online contests.

Facebook did this because not many were taking the effort to build an app for contests. Twitter had started winning the contest battle. Every day 2-3 trending hashtags were because of contests.

But the good thing is that this augurs well from brands who have campaigns in which Facebook plays a smaller yet important role. Eg: For Nano Drive with MTV, we had to take special permissions for Facebook, to build an app which tracked content traction on the contestant’s wall and then allotted points based on that.


Though there are mixed feelings concerning the new guidelines Facebook just announced, it is indeed a welcomed change for brands.

Every business is different, and you should experiment with promotions to find what your customers respond to best. Here is an infographic by Foxymoron that suggests some Advantages and Disadvantages of contests via an app and contests on the wall.

What do you think? Share your opinions with us.

Facebook Guideline Update