Navigating the new Facebook Promotions Guidelines

img-newpromoguidelinesAs you may have heard, Facebook recently changed their Promotions Guidelines. We’ve received a lot of questions about this new guidelines so we wanted to highlight what we consider to be the most important aspects. The good news is that the new Facebook Promotions Guidelines do not stop any company, big or small, from using promotions (i.e. contests and sweepstakes) to grow their fan base and to make their fan page more engaging. The Wildfire team has been working hard over the past couple of weeks to adapt our platform so that companies can get the optimal results from their promotions in Facebook while still adhering to Facebook’s new guidelines. Any business or agency that uses our platform can be sure that their promotion is compliant with the Facebook Promotion Guidelines. Here are some ‘highlights’ of the new guidelines and the changes we’ve made:

Publicizing vs. Administering

The big distinction that Facebook makes in their new policy is between ‘publicizing‘ and ‘administering‘ a promotion on Facebook. ‘Publicizing‘ a promotion means that you promote, advertise or reference a promotion in Facebook, but you do not collect entries or draw or notify winners in Facebook. ‘Administering‘ a promotion means you both publicize it, collect entries and draw/notify winners in Facebook.

Publicizing a Promo DOES NOT REQUIRE Facebook Approval

All companies/organizations can ‘publicize’ promotions in Facebook without needing any special permission. Wildfire provides you with the ultimate solution for doing this – using our application you can easily create a promotion that displays on your Facebook fan page, you can require entrants to become a fan to access your promotion and you can spread the word by enabling entrants to publish newsfeeds. We also enable you to easily collect entries, draw winners and notify entrants, but this all happens outside of Facebook so that you do not need to seek special permission from Facebook. As always, our solution enables you to have a promotion up and running in Facebook within minutes.

Administering a Promo REQUIRES Facebook Approval

For those companies wishing to both ‘publicize’ AND ‘adminster’ their promotion in Facebook, it is now necessary to check in with your Facebook sales rep to get approval and to have your rules reviewed. Wildfire can manage this process on your behalf and if you do not have a Facebook sales rep we can help you to get one. Just drop us a line at or give us a call at 1-888-274-0929 and we’ll help you through this process. Please note that eligibility for a Facebook sales rep does depend on your level of spending on Facebook advertising so not all companies will be eligible to get a rep. We recommend that smaller companies use our solution to publicize their promotion in Facebook and administer it outside of Facebook, thus avoiding the need to get permission from a Facebook sales rep.

Promos Can Only Be Run Through a Facebook App (like Wildfire)

Another important change is that companies can no longer administer a promotion in Facebook without using an application, such as that provided by Wildfire. In the past many companies have run promotions by telling entrants to post a comment on the company’s fan page wall, upload a photo to the company’s Facebook album or click the ‘become a fan’ button to enter. Such promotions are no longer allowed and must be run using an application. Wildfire’s contests and sweepstakes application which enables entrants to submit photos/videos/text, vote, complete an entry form, invite friends and collect entries provides a compliant way for companies to run a variety of different promotions.

Special Facebook Restrictions

Certain promotions can no longer be publicized or administered in Facebook; these include:

  • promotions that are open to under 18 year olds (Wildfire’s promotions platform automatically excludes under 18 years olds if you’re running your promotion in Facebook)
  • promotions that are open to citizens of Belgium, Norway, Sweden or India or countries that are embargoed by the US (Wildfire’s promotions platform automatically excludes these nations)
  • promotions that promote: gambling, tobacco, dairy, firearms, prescription drugs, or gasoline (Wildfire’s promotions platform automatically reminds companies of this restriction)
  • promotions that offer any of the following prizes: alcohol, tobacco, dairy, firearms of prescription drugs (Wildfire’s promotions platform automatically reminds companies of this restriction)
  • sweepstakes that condition entry upon the purchase of a product, completion of a lengthy task or other form of consideration

Special Language Required

Facebook’s new guidelines require that you include certain language on your entry form that makes clear to entrants that the promotion is not sponsored or endorsed by Facebook. Wildfire promotions platform automatically includes this language for you.

Facebook Promo Guidelines only apply to Sweepstakes & Contests

Facebook’s Promotions policy only applies to sweepstakes and contests. The other formats that we offer (i.e. coupons, quizzes, virtual gifts, giveaways, ‘top favorites’, trivia and sign-up forms) are not affected by Facebook’s Promotions policy and nor, of course, are our solutions for Twitter and websites.

If you have any questions about the Facebook Promotions Guidelines or the changes we have made to our platform so that you can easily comply with the new changes, please dont hesitate to contact us at or call 1-888-274-0929.


30 Responses to “Navigating the new Facebook Promotions Guidelines”

  1. 1 Rich Wilson November 17, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Thank you for the update. Keeping track of this ever-changing environment is tough, especially when we’re constantly selling clients on new ideas. It’s amazing how one little tweak in Facebook’s rules can affect what seemed to be a harmless promotional campaign.

  2. 2 sroth November 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

    thanks for the clarification. I will share this with my clients.

  3. 3 Chad Lancour November 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    The Wildfire team is on top it! Thank You.

  4. 4 Deano Power November 17, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. I really appreciate the tweets as well. All the best Deano

  5. 5 Dave Kerpen November 17, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Great post, Wildfire. Tweeted. 🙂
    Keep up the excellent work!

  6. 7 Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama November 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    I don’t see how you can say “using our application you can easily create a promotion that displays on your Facebook fan page, you can require entrants to become a fan to access your promotion” and that is compliant with the new policy. I understand the distinction made between administering and advertising, yet Section 4.2 of Facebook’s new policy governing promotion states that “in the rules of the promotion, or otherwise, you will not condition entry to the promotion upon taking any action on Facebook, for example, updating a status, posting on a profile or Page or uploading a photo.” Further, Section 4 states that Facebook reserves the right to remove any materials or disable your Page or your account if you violate the Promotions Guidelines. It seems that you are saying that to “see” the promotion, a person would have to fan the company, which is basically an end run around Facebook’s policy. Given that Facebook is looking to force companies to pay for advertising to run their promotions, it would seem that Facebook would take a dim approach to this . . .

    • 8 Alain Chuard November 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks so much for your comment. It’s explicitly stated in the Facebook Promotions Guidelines that it is OK to only allow fans to access a promotion. Here is the exact language:

      “You can: Only allow fans of your Page to access the tab that contains the third-party application for the promotion.”

      I hope this helps!


  7. 10 Santa Barbara Computer Support November 19, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I just got off the phone with you guys, and you said that if we administer a contest using the White Label option, we need to get approval, but if we administer a Premium contest (or any non white label option), we don’t need approval from a Facebook Sales Rep. That distinction is not made above, and it seems like that’s an important one. Is that accurate?

    • 11 Alain Chuard November 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks for your comment and sorry for the confusion. What the person on the phone meant to say is that any campaign (Basic, Standard, Premium & White Label) can be publizied on Facebook (please see our blog posting above for an explanation of what it means to ‘publicize’ a promotion in Facebook). Anyone can also seek approval to administer their campaign in Facebook. However, for this approval to be granted you do need to have (or get) a Facebook sales rep. We can help you with this, however, to get a Facebook sales rep you need to be a company that is likely to spend several thousand dollars in Facebook advertising per month. If your company fits this criteria but does not have a Facebook sales rep, please let us know and we’d be happy to get one for you. If you do not fit this criteria, our solution enables you to publicize your promotion in Facebook and still benefit from Facebook’s great social features.

  8. 12 Jonathan Streeter November 19, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Okay, several of us are dying to know…what’s that restriction on DAIRY all about?

    • 13 Alain Chuard November 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm

      Hey Jonathan, the dairy restriction is something that surprised us too and next time we meet with the fbLegal team we’ll ask them the question. I’ll let you know as soon as I have more info on that 🙂



  9. 14 Jean November 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Would these new guidelines prohibit the following: Having a contest, for example first 100 people to become fans win this prize. Can I send a link to the one-time-click coupon via facebook message? Or what if I made a private facebook group with a link to the prize (one time click) that required me inviting them to the group once they become a fan.

    Thanks for your help.

    • 15 Alain Chuard November 20, 2009 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Jean,

      I am unclear how your contest works but here are a few hints. The Facebook Promotion Guidelines tell you the following:

      “You cannot: Administer a promotion that users automatically enter by becoming a fan of your Page.

      You can: Only allow fans of your Page to access the tab that contains the third-party application for the promotion.”

      The take away from this is that you need to use a third party application (like Wildfire) to administer your contest if you want to provide the Fan requirement.

      Hope this helps. All the best,


  10. 16 Milena Regos November 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks for the post. I’ll call you in the next few days to discuss.

  11. 17 marc January 6, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Facebook has adapted their policy… sweepstakes are no longer allowed in Belgium, Norway, Sweden and India.
    There is however no clarification whatsoever why these countries are now excluded so we can at least understand the reasoning…
    We run world-wide sweepstakes on large fan bases and you have adviced us to use the micro-site option as a workaround for these specific countries; this doesn’t make things easier…. now we have to “explain” these technicalities in our sweepstakes which is of course stupid… on top of that you have told us that it is not allowed to communicate this alternative inside the Facebook application…again because of … Facebook policies

    How to deal with this… perhaps run the entire sweepstake through the microsite to avoid Facebook restrictions? but then we miss out on added value of having the viral effects in Facebook.
    In that case we could consider any alternative to the Wildfire solution…

    The least WildFire could facilitate for it’s customers is some clarification WHY all this is happening!

    • 18 Alain Chuard January 6, 2010 at 11:41 am

      Hi marc,

      Thanks for your comment! We understand your frustration but unfortunately this is a Facebook policy and not something that we have any control over. I’m sure that Facebook’s legal team has very good reason for implementing restrictions on certain countries but unfortunately we cannot speak for Facebook with regard to these restrictions. If you are interested in learning more about the reasoning behind the country restrictions, I’d recommend that you contact Facebook directly. As I am sure you are aware, Facebook is a controlled platform and they set the guidelines for how businesses can interact with consumers on this platform. We have adapted our service accordingly to ensure that both we and our clients are compliant with Facebook’s guidelines.

      In addition to hosting your sweepstakes on your microsite, you have an alternate option to continue your sweepstakes on Facebook (but exclude entrants from the restricted countries of Belgium, Norway, Sweden and India.)

      I’m sorry that I can’t be more helpful but unfortunately this particular restriction is not something that we can control.

      Thanks again for your comment!

  12. 19 katrina January 7, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I’m wondering if this policy applies to giveaways? I see Whole Foods doing giveaways of $25 gift cards weekly. Is this against the new policy?

    I logged into your app and noticed promotions for contests and sweepstakes but what about random drawing giveaways?


  13. 20 Alain Chuard January 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Katrina,

    Thanks for your comment!

    It’s not that you can’t administer a promotion on Facebook, you just need permission from Facebook to do so. A large company like Whole Foods most certainly has permission.

    This blurb of text taken from our blog post above helps explain that.

    **‘Administering‘ a promotion means you both publicize it, collect entries and draw/notify winners in Facebook.

    For those companies wishing to both ‘publicize’ AND ‘administer’ their promotion in Facebook, it is now necessary to check in with your Facebook sales rep to get approval and to have your rules reviewed.**

    Hope this helps!

    • 21 Andrew Jones February 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm

      I’m really getting hung up on the whole issue of administering a promotion “in Facebook”.

      Here’s an example. We have a promo tab that requires users to become a fan, and from there, they go to an app canvas page to fill out a short form. This form actually posts the data to our externally-hosted database and returns to a “thank you” page on Facebook.

      All registrants receive a free product that we mail to them based on the addresses saved in our own database.

      So technically, we’re collecting the data within a FB tab, but we’re handling all the data processing and storage.

      Does this scenario mean we’re NOT administering the promo “in Facebook”?

      • 22 Alain Chuard February 18, 2010 at 10:14 am

        Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for your reply!

        It sounds like you’re doing a giveaway. The Facebook Promo Guidelines only apply to Sweepstakes and Contests, as was mentioned in the blog post.

        Facebook Promo Guidelines only apply to Sweepstakes & Contests

        Facebook’s Promotions policy only applies to sweepstakes and contests. The other formats that we offer (i.e. coupons, quizzes, virtual gifts, giveaways, ‘top favorites’, trivia and sign-up forms) are not affected by Facebook’s Promotions policy and nor, of course, are our solutions for Twitter and websites.

        I hope this helps clear up the confusion for you!

  14. 23 Roger Elliott January 12, 2010 at 3:50 am


    Thanks for this post – the difference between getting people to become a Fan and only allowing Fans to see a tab seems a fine distinction.

    What we are proposing doing is pasting a link to a download on a Tab that only Fans can access, then promoting this to our own list, off Facebook.

    So when customers come to the Facebook page, they will see the Tab is for Fans only and will therefore become Fans.

    So the difference here is that we are not asking people to become Fans, they are making the decision themselves. But really, the outcome is the same as if we required them to become Fans.

    So I’m a little confused as to whether this contravenes the guidelines or not?



  15. 25 Roger Elliott January 13, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Thanks Alain, that’s very help.

    All the best


  16. 26 Dragev February 25, 2010 at 5:00 am


    I have almost the same question as Andrew Jones.
    We have an inquiry form based contest in a app tab on a Fan Page.
    Fans fill in the form in the tab and the information is sent to our database for storage and we notify the winner trough the gathered email adress.

    Are we something “illegal”?

    • 27 Maya Grinberg May 17, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Hey David,

      Thanks for your message– the guidelines only apply to sweepstakes and contests run in Facebook, so doing a signup form like yours if different. Cheers!

  17. 28 David May 17, 2010 at 9:16 am


    I have a question regarding running a voting contest on my website using the Facebook “Like” button.

    Would these new rules apply to this too?

    • 29 Maya Grinberg May 17, 2010 at 9:38 am

      Hi David,

      These guidelines only apply to contests and sweepstakes, so if you are doing a vote, that is different. Thanks for your inquiry!

      • 30 David May 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

        Hi Maya,

        Thanks but I not sure if that answered my question. Maybe I wasn’t clear.

        I am going to insert Facebook “Like” button on my website and I will use that for voting. It’s a photo contest where the most amount of “Likes” wins a prize.

        I was wondering whether these guidelines include the use of the “Like” button outside of Facebook for contests.

        In the introduction of the guidelines it says “Administering a promotion on Facebook means operating any element of the promotion on Facebook or using any part of the Facebook Platform.”

        Does Facebook Platform include the “Like” button on an external website?

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We are a group of innovative developers, designers and marketers with a passion for creating a social media marketing platform that helps companies & agencies to engage the millions of social network users. Our platform allows you to easily grow and cultivate your fans & followers.

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Palo Alto, CA 94306

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