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Last year, Facebook put in place rules that restricted the ability of marketers to use the world's most popular social network to run promotions and sweepstakes. These restrictions were largely a disappointment to the Facebook marketers who were aware of them, and a risk to those who weren't.

But this week, marketers received good news: Facebook has apparently decided to relax its restrictions.

On Monday, AllFacebook published an email reportedly sent from a Facebook sales representative. It states, in part:

We have some exciting updates regarding the administration of Promotions, Sweepstakes and Contests on Facebook that will help to streamline the process and make your lives a bit easier:

  1. We no longer require prior written Facebook approval to administer a promotion on Facebook.
  2. We no longer require a minimum media spend investment to support the promotion.

This means that you are not required to have a media campaign on Facebook to run a promotion, nor do you need to ask for approval on the contest T&Cs from the Facebook team.

There are probably a number of reasons for the change of heart. Not only were Facebook's rules tough to enforce, they kept brands from engaging with Facebook users in ways that will, in most cases, improve the Facebook experience. Obviously, Facebook has reason to worry about legal issues that might arise from unsupervised marketer activity on its site, but putting itself in the position of reviewing third party promotions and sweepstakes probably created an equal number of legal issues.

The unanswered question, of course, is if and how Facebook will try to insert itself into promotions and sweepstakes on its platform. Although it's making a mint from self-serve ads, there's a good chance that greater opportunities lie in the kind of marketing activity that Facebook isn't currently involved with. For instance, retailers are increasingly experimenting with 'f-commerce'. Already, we've seen Facebook move aggressively to take a big piece of the virtual currency market that has developed around Facebook games with Facebook Credits, and it recently launched its own location-based deals offering.

While an offering around promotions and sweepstakes might be a challenge to build, and may not be the most enticing opportunity, don't be surprised if Facebook eventually does something in this area.

Photo credit: Global X via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 1 December, 2010 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2393 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Clemi Hardie

About time! I think although Facebook is a great way of reaching your customers and building your brand online, that the platform itself and FB's terms and conditions often limit this. This is a good step forward but when will functionality like being able to invite your fans of your page (not personal friends) to a FB event arrive? It is little things like this that make it a difficult platform to work with sometimes.

over 5 years ago

Henry Elliss

Henry Elliss, Digital Marketing Director at Tamar

Wow, what good timing - presumably the e-mail hasn't made it's way to the Terms and Conditions team yet, as they still remain in place, but this is a great sign for marketers and brands alike.

over 5 years ago

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Mike Wei

Although this is good news to small and medium size businesses Facebook does require brands to launch their promotion (contest and sweepstkes) through a third party application developer.

You might find Strutta.com helpful in this space.  I might be bias but we've done some really wicked promotions both on and off of Facebook.  I'd be happy to email you case studies if interested.  Feel free to connect!

Mike

strutta.com

@michael_wei

over 5 years ago

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Claire

That's good to hear. I think that previously Facebook were definitely discouraging positive customer-brand interaction by putting restrictions on offers and promotions- both of which are what customers are really interested in finding out about on a brand page. It is the combination of interaction, offering value (offers and promotions) thinking outside the box with innovative approaches to engagement, and providing good customer service that make brand pages rewarding for the business and the customer community.

over 5 years ago

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ed hardy

another piece - as it deserves it's own post. Certainly this point is not lost on community builders, who have been at this for decades

over 5 years ago

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