Hosting a (Legal) Promotion on Facebook – What You Should Know

On my Facebook feed, I often see friends being tagged by other friends or sharing posts to qualify for giveaways. Little did they know that Facebook guidelines prohibits brands from using these kinds of qualifications for entering giveaways.

Here is a guide to hosting a successful promotion on Facebook – without breaking any rules.

Types of promotions

There are three types of promotions Facebook recognizes; sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries. All of which include entry, chance, and a prize. And two of which are legal to be run on Facebook pages.

The three promotion types include:

1. Sweepstakes: These campaigns are based on chance; meaning the winner is chosen randomly. For Canadian sweepstakes, however, winners cannot be chosen by luck; there must be at least some level of skill involved. A popular example is including a skill-testing question.

2. Contest: Referring to campaigns that requires entrants to display a level of skill. Winners are chosen for their ability to perform the skill rather than by chance and is based on a judging or voting criteria.

3. Lotteries: campaigns that revolve around consideration (something of value – monetary or non-monetary, contestants must provide to be eligible to enter).

As you may have guessed, hosting lotteries are illegal on Facebook. As we cannot ask people to pay to enter to win, the phrase, “No purchase necessary” is often posted on Facebook promotions to avoid any legal infringements.

Promotion posts must include:

  • Official rules: this can be written on the post or be directed to through a link. It must include the prize value, odds of winning, judging criteria or method of selecting winner(s), and date winner(s) will be chosen.
  • Eligibility: requirements or restrictions based on age, location, etc. Within Quebec, regulations are strict and vary from the rest of Canada, so any location restrictions should be identified.
  • Not sponsored by Facebook: must acknowledge that the promotion is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Facebook.

Promotions must also be done through a business page; personal page promotions are prohibited by Facebook.

Entry methods

Facebook is strict with their entry methods; since 2016, it has been trying to reduce the amount of brand posts displayed on consumer feeds. As a result, it doesn’t want brands to be requiring consumers to share or tag friends as entries.

Legal Entry Methods

  • Liking your page
  • Posting on your page
  • Messaging your page
  • Liking your post
  • Commenting on your post
  • Completing an entry form

Illegal Entry Methods

  • Sharing pages
  • Sharing a post onto their timeline
  • Sharing a post onto a friend’s timeline
  • Entrants tagging themselves in photos they aren’t in
  • Tagging friends in the comments

Under “Promotions” in the Facebook Pages Term, it states that:

“Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines and friend connections must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend's Timeline to get additional entries”, and "tag your friends in this post to enter" are not permitted).”

With the new Facebook algorithm, not being able to ask entrants tag friends or share posts to enter hinders the reach of promotions. Brand content is slowly being phased out of consumer feeds in exchange for more intimate posts of their families and friends. This will mean brand will have to adapt, find new ways to engage audiences with their content and their contests.