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Facebook Updates Brand Page Promotion Guidelines

Jordan Deatherage

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On August 28th, 2013, Facebook announced an update to their guidelines to allow promotions run by brand or company Facebook pages to be "administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook." Prior to this announcement, pages were in compliance with Facebook’s terms of use only if their promotions (sweepstakes or contests) were hosted on an app, which often appeared as a custom tab on the brand’s Facebook page. This latest update will ultimately allow brand pages, many of which were already executing contests/sweepstakes knowingly or unknowingly in this manner, to save money and time on production and execution with the possible bypass of needing a custom app.

Further advantages of this new allowance include the ability for the promotion to be seen or more readily accessed by mobile Facebook users. Currently, custom Facebook tabs/apps are not visible on mobile devices but all Timeline content is available. Likewise, the increased fan activity on a page status update will naturally amplify the organic reach associated with the page for that day. There are a few disadvantages to hosting a promotion on solely a Timeline asset, one being It may be more difficult to contact the winner since most fans won’t publicly provide an email address and brand pages can’t send direct messages without a fan initiating contact. Also, there’s no occasion for fan opt-in so there’s less opportunity to use the promotion as a gateway for CRM programs.

There are a few caveats to this announcement, and a summary from Facebook is available here:

  • Pages can use an app and/or Timeline to administer a promotion. Apps, while costly to develop, offer a place to communicate more details and terms about the promotion. Apps also provide the ability to ’fan gate’ a promotion, meaning only people who have ’liked’ the page are able to enter. This functionality is not afforded to a promotion run solely via a Timeline asset.
  • Pages can gather entries by having users post a comment on the page; comment on/like a post; direct message the page; or use likes on assets as a voting tool.
  • Pages cannot gather entries by asking fans to share assets on their own Timeline or those of friends, or tag themselves/friends in a picture.
  • Unchanged are the Facebook requirements to absolve Facebook from any association of the promotion and the page providing and enforcing any official rules/terms/eligibility requirements.

Implications for Pharma Facebook Pages:

  • Pharma companies are not able to host promotions in the same manner as other companies, since the awards would need to be solely educational in nature and fall under a certain price point. However, for future consideration, this update allows a low cost giveaway method for any educational material.
  • Pages with closed comment sections on status updates will not be able to participate in the most obvious version of this execution. If there are assets in native Facebook photo albums (not a custom photo album), the comments available there would be permissible for promotion hosting.
  • If a pharma company is tracking all the comments that come in on their Facebook page, they should work with their monitoring team ahead of time to accommodate the influx of activity. The same goes if the page chooses to run a Facebook ad pointing to the promotion. This tactic will cause a noticeable uptick in participation and may make the promotion visible to people who aren’t fans of the page.

In light of these learnings, Intouch’s recommendation for current Pharma Facebook pages would be to consider if giving away educational material would benefit the page and if so, confirm that proper monitoring and moderation processes can accommodate for an influx in activity.


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