Facebook announced in a blog post that it is removing the third-party application requirement for brands running promotions on Facebook. Previously, brands were required to run all aspects of a promotion, including collecting entries, communicating with entrants and allowing entry into a sweepstakes through another application, typically living within a Facebook Tab.
The requirement's removal means marketers can now:
- Collect entries by having users post on a Page or comment/like a Page post
- Collect entries by having users message the Page
- Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
Things are simpler. A quick promotion is now at any brand's fingertips. Simply, post to your page and ask people to participate. This used to have the potential to get complicated, making promotions too lofty for small businesses without the resources to launch a promotion through a third-party app.
Simplicity isn't necessarily a great thing, however, because there will undoubtedly be brands that abuse the new freedom and clutter users' News Feeds. The danger here isn't in users unliking a Page. The danger is in users unsubscribing and removing the brand from their News Feeds. Brands will need to balance this newfound freedom and not burn users out.
Sponsored Posts become more important. At first glance, this appears to be an olive branch to brands frustrated with Facebook requirements and rules, but Facebook also benefits from the change. Sponsored posts have become a major part of Facebook's monetization plans, and brands executing promotions through posts will likely want to increase the exposure of their efforts. Promoting those posts is the simplest way to do that.
Overall promotion costs drop. Sometimes marketers do not want to invest dollars, particularly for very quick promotions with small prizes. Removing the requirements reduces overall costs and creates much more flexibility.
Rules are still our responsibility. Running promotions requires brands to manage entrants, and Facebook does not make managing thousands of entries simple. That's where third-party applications shine, and the last thing a brand wants is to be called out for not properly handling entries. Brands must also still provide rules for all promotions. Terms and conditions are still our responsibility.
Third-party platforms still have a place. A native Facebook promotion is as simple as it gets. Brands that want to provide deeper consumer experience will still need third-party applications. This means we'll likely see 'micro' promotions using Facebook's native functionality and larger promotions run through third-party applications.
Your fan base won't increase. Third-party applications allow brands to require people to 'like' the Page to enter. A native Facebook promotion does not have that capability. If fans are an important success metrics, a third-party application will be more effective.
Facebook gets the data. Brands that want to gather entrant data will be limited by Facebook's native capabilities. A promotion run without a third-party application will not yield a great deal of data to, for example, be used for future marketing purposes and communication.
Facebook's removal of the third-party application requirement gives brands greater flexibility on the platform. It offers an excellent opportunity for brands with small fan bases and for those looking to launch quick promotions with small prizes and no need to collect data. At the end of the day, Facebook's announcement doesn't change the game. It adds more options to it.