Violating Facebook’s Promotion Policy

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

On February 29, 2012, facebook updated the terms of their promotion policy – guidelines which govern how page users can post promotional material on facebook.

Despite facebook’s policy revision, many businesses and advertising agencies, both local and global, continue to violate the policy.
This article covers some of the most common policy violations and aims to help you comply with Facebook’s new promotion policy.

Rule #1: Don’t Click Like to Enter

The “click like to enter,” audience-building tactic has been one of the most popular and successful tools for marketers wanting to increase their audience on facebook. Marketers encourage users to like their product or service pages for the chance to win a prize. However, facebook clearly prohibits this action in its policy:

You must not use facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism.

That means it is strictly prohibited for users to simply like a facebook brand page to enter a contest – even if there is no prize involved. The policy also prohibits using image uploads, comments of any kind, and the sharing of content as a substitution for registration into a contest.

Rule #2: Liking to Register

Liking to register into a promotion is a similar tactic to “liking to enter,” but results in a different outcome. Liking to register requires users to like a comment, photo, or post to be allowed to register into a contest, while liking to enter automatically registers said user into a contest.

You must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.

Basically, the guidelines make it very clear that brands cannot use facebook functionality to promote their sweepstakes. They also make it clear that they want you to notify sweepstakes winners through email, phone or mail – before announcing it on facebook.

Rule #3: Don’t Notify Winners on Facebook

If you have ever announced the winner of any contest using facebook, you have violated facebook’s promotion policy. According to facebook, winners of any promotions should not be notified via facebook, including chat, wall post, messages or pages.

You must not notify winners through facebook, such as through facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or Pages.

This poses an interesting question: why would facebook prohibit such behavior? As we will address later, facebook is pushing brands to leverage applications instead of basic functionality.

Rule #4: No Calls to Action on Your Cover Image

Images are at the core of social networks and with facebook’s introduction of timeline, cover images are at the forefront of personal expression. However, when it comes to promotions, not all is fair game: facebook prohibits the use of any calls to action in cover images.

You must not include: references to facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features

The policy also lists other restrictions such as the displaying price or purchase information, contact information, and calls to action such as “Tell your friends,” or “Spread the word.”

Rule #5: Build Facebook Apps

With all the restrictions prohibiting users from benefiting through facebook’s main functions, many may be left wondering how exactly they can promote on facebook. Well, the only proper way of hosting promotions on facebook is through apps and canvas pages.

Promotions on facebook must be administered within Apps on, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

But why has facebook chosen this route?

  • Facebook does not want to be associated with any promotions.
  • Facebook does not want to be caught up in controversy because of promotions done in their name.
  • Facebook does not want marketers to exploit their brand to lure unsuspecting users into registering for a contest.

When a user is registering for a contest on an app, Facebook requires marketers to inform users “[…] that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, facebook.” This effectively separates Facebook from any brand and promotion while still allowing them to be a marketing platform.

The Future of Social Marketing

Apps are the future, they enhance the functionality and flexibility of user interactions, and facebook is implementing all of these changes to move marketers to use apps on their platform. Apps have become easier to monitor and to manage, and have evolved into microsites within facebook – rather than static tabs. We recognize that apps are the future of facebook, check out some of the social media apps we’ve built:

Social Media Sweepstakes

A direct response application developed to grow and engage a social community.

Social Application Design

A direct response application that increased consumer engagement by over 5000%.

Measure Social Media ROI

Measure Social Media ROI with facebook Apps & Google Analytics.

Interested in having social media apps for your brand or upcoming promotion? Hire us! We’ve develop award-winning social application campaigns that have done wonders for our clients. Give us a call or fill out the form on the Hire us page and we’ll get back to you within one business day.