Last week, when Facebook announced that page administrators can now create promotions without needing to use third-party applications, it stirred up a lot of conversation around our office. And it prompted our development team to get to work on a new feature to help our users collect and use the valuable data that comes from Timeline contests.
For anyone who missed the news, Facebook’s promotion guidelines now allow page admins to host basic contests and promotions on Timeline, making it super-simple to collect promotion entries by having users comment or like page posts for a chance to win.
The change is really exciting for lots of small businesses and brands — and even for us! We hosted our very first Timeline promotion last week and saw some pretty awesome results and engagement from our fans.
Of course, ShortStack is still biased in favor of apps. We have a few specific reasons why we believe apps continue to be super-valuable for businesses and brands on Facebook.
- Facebook promotion/contest apps allow businesses to easily gather email addresses through opt-in forms.
- With third-party apps, you can use the email addresses you collect to contact your fans and followers outside of Facebook (remember, only a fraction of your fans ever see your status updates).
- Facebook apps allow businesses to offer their fans a customized experience with voting, videos, slideshows, and more.
- Facebook apps allow you to incentivize sharing (which you cannot do with a Timeline promotion/contest).
- With a Facebook app, you have more control over the promotion/contest and less risk of cheating or other fraud.
- Using a Facebook app, you can maintain an integrated branded presence — apps appear more professional.
- With a (fan-gated) Facebook app, you can require that contest entrants like your page in order to gain access to your contest app, helping to grow your page’s fan base.
- By using an app, you won’t risk fans and followers seeing your promotion as spam in the News Feed.
- An app allows you to write and host rules for your contest and include required Facebook disclaimers. It also makes it easy for entrants to access your rules with a simple click (keeping your Timeline clean).
- Facebook apps allow you to collect valuable analytics about your contest/promotion, including how many people clicked to view your promotion versus the number of people who entered.
Readers: What did you think about this roundup of contest/promotion app advantages?
Chelsea Hejny is a member of the content strategy team at ShortStack, a self-service custom app platform.