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Social Media Marketing for Business

David A. George


August 27, 2013

New Facebook Contest Changes Save Time and Money

August 27, 2013 | By | 46 Comments">46 Comments

What happened?

Running a Facebook contest is as simple as asking for a Like, comment, or message in a status update. It is no longer required that contests be administered through third party apps. 

What that means for you?

You can now run basic Facebook contests directly in the Timeline of your fan page. This will allow more businesses to participate in and benefit from running social contests.

Heyo is excited! The changes Facebook announced regarding their promotional guidelines, allowing fan page contests within the Timeline, align well with Heyo’s mission to make the lives of small and medium sized business owners easier.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced these updates to its contest guidelines via a blog post on their Facebook for Business page.

One of the most prominent things to note is the removal of requiring third party apps to run Facebook contests and promotions. According to Facebook:

“We’ve removed the requirement that promotions on Facebook only be administered through apps. Now, promotions may be administered on Page Timelines AND in apps on Facebook. For example, 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”

Say what?? You mean I can run contests straight from my Facebook page?

That’s right! The New Facebook contest changes open the door for your business to use Likes, comments, posts, and messages all as “legal” entries into Facebook Timeline contests.

As a business, you can now run basic contests as often as you see fit, and as simply as posting a status update. It’s quicker, cheaper, and lowers the barrier to entry for small businesses to participate in social marketing campaigns.

So, What Now?

To wrap it up…

Your barrier to entry is significantly lower since people can enter straight through their News Feed via your Facebook post. Most likely, this will result in more people engaging with your brand and entering your contests. Heyo encourages businesses to experiment with this new capability.

As you absorb and start brainstorming ideas for your business, just know that running these basic “Timeline Contests” directly in your status updates come with limitations. You no longer have the full 810px width of a Fan Page tab, control over contest design, the use of rich media, or the flexibility of coding to enhance the contest functionality.

Another biggie…no email captures. Hmmm – just know that Heyo’s mad scientists are in the lab 24/7 cooking up some sweetness you don’t want to miss.

Your Turn

Are these good changes? How are you going to switch up your current strategy? Share with us in the comments below!


David A. George I'm a UX + Growth Marketer passionate about people, music, intelligent UX, Android, and breathing underwater. I'd love to connect with you on LinkedIn, Twitter, and on my website.

  • Windee

    This is good news, but do you have recommendation on legally covering your butt in case you miss a post that is a contest entry?

    • David A. George

      It’s always good to play it safe, Windee. Fortunately, “legally” in this case only refers to Facebook’s rules and as long as you select a winner who has *only Liked your post, commented on it, posted on your wall, or directly messaged you – you should be good!

  • Jen

    I’m interested to learn from the Heyo team what you believe the benefits of using Heyo to run promotions vs. FB timeline are and how best to sell that to our clients using Heyo apps.

    • David A. George

      Jen — great question! We’re one step ahead of the game, and we’ll be releasing some incredible updates very soon. Stay tuned 😀

  • Tam Ayers

    Will these changes bring contests t0 mobile apps?

    • David A. George

      Heck yeah Tam! By default, if you use a Facebook post and ask for Likes to enter a contest, it’s automatically on mobile! How cool is that?

  • Ali @ iSocialYou

    Great summary David. I agree that we will have more leads but what about the quality ?
    Also I think your last point about email list is right on. 3rd part apps are still the best way to do it


    • David A. George

      Ali — thank you 🙂 you know what’s good – quality is definitely a question. Also, Facebook contests are now easier to run, but the question is – how much customer data can you actually collect? Wouldn’t you want more than just someone’s profile?

      • Ali at iSocialYou

        Oh absolutely, I don’t want just likes and comments. I wan;t
        1 – emails
        2 – phone numbers
        3 – address if it makes sense

        (and yes only if people want to opt in)

        • David A. George

          That’s what I’m talking about Ali! We’re hard at work innovating on this update so if you have any suggestions of what you would like to collect/do with your contests, please send them my way – email me dgeorge(at) – I’d love to hear them 🙂

          • Andre

            Hi David

            So this means I can put in a great photo and in the description I can ask people to answer a question or like the page as an entry and direct them to the Tab to optin to stand a chance of winning something bigger to get the email addresses?

            • David A. George

              Absolutely Andre – that sounds like some great growth hacking to me!

  • Rak

    Well, I think this is bad news. Now clients don’t need 3rd party apps to run promotions – how is this good news for us?????? These new changes have reduced the need for custom apps……

    • David A. George

      Rak — you’re on to something with apps, but third parties can still be useful. First, a tab provides much more branding opportunities. Second, these changes provide some interesting opportunities for third parties to create extra value for their customers 😉 Would you agree?

  • Ahi

    Hey Heyo team, this is exciting! Is there a link to the statement made by FB HQ?

  • Karen @ YourGo2Gals

    There are some third party page post applications that could be easily used to run a contest and collect email addresses…. I predict most app companies, perhaps including Heyo, will scramble to produce their own version of this to augment their other app offerings…

    This FB change is related to the recent algorithm change. We wondered why Facebook would suddenly focus on punishing brand posts that ask for comments, likes and shares. Really easy to connect the dots here.

    Post page contests may be within the rules, but we will likely see a lot MORE spammy, poorly done contests floating around FB .

    While it makes a lot of sense to now run some small contests this way, keep in mind the benefits of third party app contests that collect email addresses. Third party apps will still have their place.

    Third party apps will continue to thrive, even third party contest apps. And other apps are still necessary/helpful for creating tabs that aren’t contest related (landing tabs for ads, product features, ebook, newsletter signup, etc.).

    This change is really all about selling more ads

    And it’s a sign that FB gave up on trying to enforce “rogue” contests (when they realized they didn’t have enough man power to police it AND they figured out they could make more money on ads this way.

    Third party apps will adapt to provide timeline post contest apps that collect emails and function much the way their app/tabs do now…

    This will actually open up some new creative and effective ways to run contests.


    • David A. George

      Very good point, Karen – this is very complimentary to Facebook’s new algorithm change. What is interesting though, is one of those changes includes docking edgerank for statuses that “ask for the like/comment/etc”. Think that will still be a good combo?

      • Karen @ YourGo2Gals

        I think we have to be careful about “chasing an algorithm”…. By docking edgerank for statuses that ask for the Like/Comment/Share, I think FB is merely trying to force pages into using FB ads… Thus increasing FB’s ad revenue… Which is after all the direction they have been going consistently for some time now.

  • Tracy Petrucci

    I am not sure I understand why this is so exciting? All they are saying is its now legal to do it, even though everyone has been doing it before anyway? Or is there an actual TOOL now to help?

    • David A. George

      Tracy — great point! Lots of pages were in violation of this rule, anyway. WHat would you think if a new tool came out like this?

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  • Mike Macey

    A lot of people, particularly network marketers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, are going to throw money away believing newsfeed contest will magically produce new business. They are clueless about conversions and few understand the importance of capturing email. Many people using social media and particularly Facebook, act like they are out for the Friday night party scene and want to monetize too early!

    Facebook is sure to benefit and I’m okay with them making money. Their marketing team is brilliant. The masses are ignorant about Facebook marketing.

    The masses are already salivating over Free promotions posting the good news everywhere. I don’t believe much will change for them. They will likely get more Likes (dah) and brag about it to their friends but will they ‘CONVERT’ these people into real dollars?

    The ‘Conversion’ winner is definitely Facebook. Sadly, the ignorance of many fledglings bring false hope.

    Consultants can benefit by empowering our clients to utilize these changes and ultimatley drive traffic to an email service provider. My friend Shane Johnston is already managing successful contest utilizing the newsfeed. 3rd party apps like Heyo are even more important for Facebook Marketing consultants and their clients. It is our responsibility to educate current and prospective clients about ways to bendefit from change.

    I believe Change will usher in new ways to build our brand and our customer’s brand.

    How will we change?

    How will we embrace change and bring new value propositions to our clients?

    As an intuitive marketers, my glass if always ‘half full.’

  • Mandy Edwards

    This is great news, but I’m still using Heyo for my contests – they just look more professional!

    • Alex Shamy

      I think a combination of the two is the future of Facebook Marketing – stay tuned with what Heyo has up their sleeves. Big things on the way! – Alex

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  • Gabe Nasser

    Not sure why everyone is so thrilled about this. This ridiculous and sudden relaxation by Facebook, in totally the wrong area, just set contests back to the stone age.

    • David A. George

      Gabe – you might be onto something here. Do you think we’ll see a bunch of spammy contest posts from Pages now?

  • Micheline Bourque

    How in the world will the people who you the like button for instance manage such a contest if they end up with 500 likes. Fun times for them.

    • David A. George

      Counting all of those would be pretty ridiculous, wouldn’t it Micheline? What if there was something to make it easier, like this:

  • Becky

    I still don’t follow how the process works. How does the contest sponsor, the one who requested likes as a contest entry, then finish the contest by picking a winner and notifying them. Since posts do not collect contact info (name, phone, email) in a form like normal contest, how is it done in FB post contests?

    • David A. George

      That’s a very intuitive point, Becky. You can always direct message them I guess – but that’s no fun! And how do you pick a winner with no bias?

  • Nimrod

    wow! this is definitely something useful and convenient to us social marketers!
    I’ve just joined the list to get access..

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  • Nelsan Ellis

    Great tips. It is allowed to enter a contest by liking the page. It is the one exception. It took me a while to realise that this is the case but if you read the terms carefully, it says you cannot enter a contest or promo by using any of the Facebook terms like sharing, commenting or posting on the timeline, other than liking the page….