Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, Facebook loosens their grip on contests



Remember the golden days of Facebook contests?

It was a simpler time. You could enter a contest by liking or commenting on something. It was glorious. Then Facebook squashed it all by requiring contests to be run through third party apps. Suddenly we had to create interesting and unique content to get likes or comments. The horror!!!

Fear not my marketing friends, the golden days have returned!!!

In a shocking move Facebook has done a 180 on their contest requirements. On August 27th Facebook announced they have changed the Page Terms to make it easier for businesses to run promotions on Facebook. You can now run contests on your business timelines without a third party app!! Huzzah!!

So what does this mean?

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

As before, however, businesses cannot administer promotions on personal Timelines.

Let’s take a more detailed look at what you can do and what you can’t do in your promotions:

Do this:

  • Use likes as a voting method (either liking a post or photo on your timeline).
  • Require people to like a post and/or comment on a post to be entered.
  • Require that someone post something directly on your timeline to enter.
  • Require that someone message your page to enter.
  • Announce the winner of the contest on your page.
  • Use a Like button plugin on your website as a voting mechanism.

Not this:

  • Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win (contest does not take place on the timeline).
  • Require that people share a post or photo to be entered.
  • Require someone to post something on their own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline to enter.
  • Require people to tag themselves in a photo to either vote or enter.

As you can see there are still a few caveats for running promotions. It’s not a free for all. A few distinctions worth mentioning.

  • Liking your page cannot be used as an entry to the contest
  • You can’t ask people to post something on their timeline. The contest must be contained on your timeline only.

If you want a more detailed look at what you can do with your facebook promotions check out their Facebook Promotion Guidelines.

I’m looking forward to seeing a few more promotions for fly gear now that the rules have become a little easier to work with. I’m in the market to win a new carp rod…

-Nick Hoover runs Niby Design Group in Denver.



  1. Nick, can you recommend some “best methods” for collecting the email addresses of the contestants? Is there an easy way to export the email addresses for all of the “Likers”? The “Do this” and “Not this” almost sound like they are in conflict with each other. Ultimately, I’m looking for an easy way to run contests that would also enable us to subscribe (opt-in) the users to our newsletter. Are there any “contest” apps that you prefer?

    Many thanks!

  2. Nick Hoover on


    That’s a great question. Unfortunately you can’t export the emails of your Facebook fans. But you can ask them to sign up for your newsletter on Facebook. Maybe you could run a contest that says “Like this post to be entered in the drawing and for every one who signs up for our newsletter will get 2 additional entries.” Get creative with your content and have fun with it!!

    Your Facebook page and a Facebook post are two different things. Requiring someone to like your page to be entered in a contest is not allowed. Requiring them to like a post on your page is allowed. Does that help?

    For apps I like the product Google has put out. It’s not free but it’s a nice product and has a lot of great features.

    If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me an email.

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