*READ THIS* The contents of this article are outdated. Check out our Facebook Promotion Guidelines page for current info.
If you spend your day on Facebook, you probably see giveaways and contests breaking the Facebook promotion guidelines on a constant basis.
Do these sound familiar?
- Want to win a $25 gift card? Click like on this status to enter. 1 lucky member will be chosen at 6pm!
- Caption this photo – the one that receives the most likes wins a $100 prize pack.
- Share this photo on your wall – we’ll randomly select a winner for an autographed version on Monday morning.
We’ve found Facebook pages with 100 fans all the way up to six million fans be in clear violation of Facebook promotion guidelines and probably come across five to ten promotions a day that we see breaking the rules. But why?
3 Reasons Facebook Promotion Guidelines Aren’t Followed
1) No One’s Knows These Guidelines Exist
The first time I ever created a Facebook page was for a business back in 2009. After a month or two, we ran a giveaway. No one knew there were guidelines. So I grabbed a gift card and asked people to invite others to the page & the person to send the most referrals wins.
And who spreads the word about these rules and regs? How do we make page owners aware? It makes you wonder what percentage of Facebook page owners have read through the page guidelines. It doesn’t help that most folks entering giveaways aren’t Facebook marketers, so they probably don’t know they’re entering a promotion that’s not compliant with Facebook (nor would they probably care too much).
So become aware. And tell your friends. We wrote a blog post last week that dissects the Facebook promotion guidelines so anyone can understand them:
2) No One Reports Pages That Are In Violation
As an entrant, do you report pages running non-compliant promotions? Do you know what the protocol would be if you wanted to?
Think from an entrant’s perspective: when you come across a giveaway that asks for a simple like or an easy comment, wouldn’t you almost rather enter the giveaway in hopes of a chance to win and be on your way vs. going to another tab, filling out an entry form, or better yet, seeking out the admin and making them aware they’re in violation?
Is a Facebook fan, a person who is already supporting the page, really going to report a brand they follow?
3) Lack Of Monitoring Resources
Whether the promotion is within the guidelines or non-compliant, there are probably thousands of promotions created on Facebook every hour. Facebook doesn’t have the time to monitor them all.
It’s like speeding. Driving 45mph in a 35mph zone is illegal. But just as police officers don’t have the time to monitor the speeds of every car on the road, Facebook doesn’t have the bandwidth to monitor every promotion run through Facebook. At the time of this writing, Facebook has about 4,000 employees, 955M users, over 42M pages with 10 or more likes, and over 9 million connected apps.
Facebook more than likely monitors non-compliant giveaways primarily through users reporting the page for spam.
Facebook Pages Being Banned Is Rare.
If you think you’ll wake up one morning and your Facebook page is deleted, take a deep breath. Facebook isn’t out to get you… this isn’t how they operate.
There are over 42 million pages with 10 or more fans on Facebook. Try finding 10 instances of Facebook pages being banned in the last year for a promotion.
Creating controversy around banning pages without warning is not in their best interests. If Facebook bans a page for an innocent mistake of not understanding their promotion guidelines, users and page owners will hear about it. It’s not good for Facebook’s ecosystem: the more perceived risk that a page owner sees in running a promotion on Facebook, the more likely they’ll take their promotions elsewhere.
Have you been following the news story about the reporter from ‘The Independent’ having his Twitter account suspended? It didn’t take long before that story was on the front page of TechCrunch and CNN. Twitter has since apologized after realizing what had happened (or maybe realizing that it turned into a PR nightmare and the only way out was to admit their mistake).
If Everyone’s Breaking Them, Why Are These Rules In Place?
Close your eyes. Imagine you’re a Facebook executive. If there are three things that you want to do to keep all Facebook users happy, what would they be? They might look something like this:
- Provide them a great and enriching experience
- Protect them from spam
- Protect their privacy
The promotion guidelines are in place for Facebook to keep control of a good user experience. Without them, your news feed would be stuffed with video contests, prizes, and sweepstakes. Facebook wants to keep your news feed from being filled with incentivized shout-outs.
And for those ‘white hat’ Facebook marketers and page owners, it’s frustrating watching other pages break the rules and accumulate more fans and engagement, isn’t it? More and more folks are becoming aware of these guidelines however, so hang in there and proudly know that you’re making the right decision to abide by the rules.
So if you’re running a promotion through Facebook and you think you might be providing folks with a poor user experience, or you fear that you might be spamming folks, or you think your users’ privacy might be in danger, you’re probably in violation of Facebook. Learn the rules, get compliant, and join the fun!
Any other reasons you might think these guidelines aren’t being followed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
- Facebook Giveaway / Contest Rules & Regulations Explained (rafflecopter.com)
- The Ins and Outs of Online Giveaways (debevansconsulting.com)
- Rafflecopter Mini-Tip: ‘Likes’ For Your Facebook Giveaway (rafflecopter.com)