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Contest on Facebook: successful and according to the law

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Is it worth creating a contest on Facebook?
How to create a contest on Facebook: fanpage or external application
Popular formats and best practices for Facebook contests
Policy and regulations for contests on Facebook
What dangers are there?
Steps to launch a successful Facebook contest
The advantages and disadvantages of sweepstakes in summary
Create the contest on your fanpage: how it works, advantages and disadvantages
Facebook contest apps: more laborious but flexible
Comply with Facebook rules
Legal bases: participation conditions
Define the objectives
Attract the target audience
What is the ideal prize?
How much budget should we invest?
Set the contest format


Contest on Facebook: successful and according to the law

Few users can resist the temptation of a Facebook contest. What is the popularity of this format? Contests are fun - more so if they are rewarded with a prize - they go beyond classic advertising methods and allow potential customers to interact with a company in a playful way. All of these issues need to be weighed when determining whether a Facebook contest is worth the investment of time and money that it requires. It is important that you set specific objectives and do not lose sight of them, without neglecting the legal aspects ..

  1. Is it worth creating a contest on Facebook?
  2. How to create a contest on Facebook: fanpage or external application
    1. Create the contest on your fanpage: how it works, advantages and disadvantages
    2. Facebook contest apps: more laborious but flexible
  3. Popular formats and best practices for Facebook contests
  4. Policy and regulations for contests on Facebook
    1. Comply with Facebook rules
    2. Legal bases: participation conditions
  5. What dangers are there?
  6. Steps to launch a successful Facebook contest
    1. Define the objectives
    2. Attract the target audience
    3. What is the ideal prize?
    4. How much budget should we invest?
    5. Set the contest format
  7. The advantages and disadvantages of sweepstakes in summary

Is it worth creating a contest on Facebook?

Winning a prize, contacting a firm or expressing our opinion are just some of the incentives that a contest on Facebook offers to interact with a company. This type of contest activates passive fans and makes new users also become followers or, in the best of cases, become customers.

With a contest on Facebook you will be able to increase your organic reach without the need to make large outlays in paid advertising actions. But this shouldn't be your main goal as organic reach rarely leads to long-term success. You have to bear in mind that the curve of your reach can fall in a short time if you have not launched other types of actions at the same time. According to some experts, this is because they negatively influence Facebook's algorithm . The algorithm interprets that a post that presents an unusually high interaction with respect to that of the other posts is not natural and the profile runs the risk of being penalized. Only those who act strategically will achieve more reach and improve their presence permanently..

Are you in charge of a small business, are you responsible for marketing in an online store or do you publish on a blog regularly? Depending on what your task is, your objective will be different. Knowing your regular customers better, positioning a product, awakening purchase interest or getting more readers are just some of the goals that can be pursued through a Facebook contest. Once your purpose is defined, you must determine the rest of the formalities such as the prize you will offer or the format that best suits your target audience. If you decide to create a contest on Facebook you can achieve, among other things:

  • Get noticed and get new fans
  • Activate the community and improve interaction
  • Retain fixed customers and attract new ones
  • Generate leads or potential customers (databases)
  • Position products and arouse purchase interest
  • Strengthen the brand
  • Launch user-generated content
  • Conduct market research
  • Gather opinions

Many of these goals intertwine and lead to further ones. For example, by using the Facebook fanpage of your online store, you can increase interest in your products or services and, with it, the chances of increasing sales . By using a Facebook contest to conduct market research, you can determine what your customers want and tailor your product range accordingly. By generating leads, the chances of establishing contact with potential buyers are increased.

How to create a contest on Facebook: fanpage or external application

There are two ways to create a contest on Facebook : one is through your fanpage on the social network and the other, through specific external platforms to create contests. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. The scope of action of the application is much wider. The contest does not consist of individual posts, but is integrated into a user interface designed specifically for it. The main disadvantage is that it requires more time and budget..

Create the contest on your fanpage: how it works, advantages and disadvantages

This type of Facebook contest is integrated directly into the wall of our Facebook profile . The organizers publish a post, where they call on users to participate and indicate the conditions. For their part, the contestants have the basic functions of Facebook at their disposal : they can mark a? Like? or write a comment. In a quiz, participants respond in the comments. Users who have found the contest through the fanpage or the organizer's private profile, can indicate? Like? on these pages and in this way the publications will appear in your Facebook news and the number of followers will grow.

To prevent the publication from disappearing while the contest remains active on Facebook, it is advisable to pin it to the top of the biography. The proclamation of the winner will also take place on the wall, since it is not possible to write private messages from a public profile. When announcing the winner (s) of the contest, they will be asked to send a private message with the necessary contact details in order to send them the prize. This is because the interaction possibilities for these types of profiles are limited .

Contests created directly on the Facebook wall are very easy to implement. The posts on this platform are created quickly and the basic functions for participation and the giveaway do not involve additional costs. In favor of this method, it must be said that it requires little time and money . On the contrary, the limited design options are a disadvantage. Thus, for example, you cannot create an animated advent calendar or a colorful quiz because, unlike with applications, the design cannot be customized.

Also, Facebook contests created on the wall are not suitable for any commercial purpose. They are not recommended if you are looking to create leads because it is almost impossible to record user data ; On the other hand, they are suitable for carrying out market research. Note that you are only allowed to ask for opinions on the product range in the context of a poll or a vote and the evaluation of the many comments is quite cumbersome. Also, running a contest in accordance with the law is complicated, due to the large number of legal requirements that must be taken into account. For example, it is not allowed to ask for a post to be shared, which slows down its viral effect. In short, these types of contests are suitable to increase the reach of the profile, activate fans and attract new interested parties .

Facebook contest apps: more laborious but flexible

A contest app that runs through Facebook? Not only is it possible but it also has many advantages. These applications are capable of exploiting the full potential offered by social networks and can be programmed by the user, although it is also possible to acquire them already completed through a service provider. Typically, they are connected to the social network channel via the Facebook API (application programming interface), but not to a Facebook profile page. In addition, they are not only used on the smartphone, but it is possible and convenient to integrate them simultaneously on your own website, on a microsite or on a landing page.

Those who do not have previous knowledge of programming or application development, do not have to do without Facebook contest applications. More and more agencies and software developers are tasked with programming them for their clients , developing entirely new applications based on customer requirements or providing them with templates. Generally, in these templates the design and functions can easily be adapted to different ideas thanks to a modular system.


You don't need to program a contest app. There are companies that do it for you in exchange for a consideration.

Regardless of whether it is a quiz or interactive voting, an application allows you to take better advantage of all the contest formats and facilitates the creation of attractive designs, as well as the orientation to the target audience . Since these types of applications are more expensive and complex, using them makes sense within large advertising campaigns.

The options available through an application are much more versatile, which opens up a range of possibilities: as it can provide more multimedia content and increase interactivity, the player's profile is more marked and this increases the number of participants and the rate of success. In addition, an individualized design is more attractive and more closely resembles the corporate identity of the company. Not to mention that some processes can be automated, such as the evaluation or notification of the winner, the review of the success obtained or the redemption of a coupon. To increase the reach, other channels such as Twitter or Instagram can be connected.

In the framework of a contest on Facebook, very valuable data about customers is collected thanks to the functions integrated in different places of the application: when subscribing to the newsletter or when filling in a questionnaire or contact form. Those whose objective is to generate leads or a market study, will be able to do it better through an application, yes, an essential condition is that the legal requirements for data protection are met.

Popular formats and best practices for Facebook contests

In a contest on Facebook, users can take various actions to enter. Depending on our intention and our target audience, the recommended format will vary. They all have in common, however, that Facebook users are activated in some way and that the draw takes place after the deadline that has been defined. If you want to collect user-generated content, it is normal that you prefer a creative contest than a quiz game. The appropriate formats are, among others:

  • Trivia games
  • Polls
  • Gambling
  • Photography contests
  • Personality tests
  • Advent calendars
  • Comments
  • Competitions
  • Voting
  • Likes

An example of the success that a contest can achieve is carried out by the German airline Lufthansa on the occasion of the Oktoberfest in Munich. This popular beer festival, which attracts a large number of visitors from different parts of the world year after year, was the perfect hook for the airline. It was a poetry contest that required the creation of a traditional Bavarian quartet, known as Gstanzl, and submitting it to a microsite created specifically for the contest. Through Facebook, users were able to comment and rate the quatrains, which increased traffic, attracted new customers and helped improve the image of the company. A "Like" button was included within the microsite.

It does not always require such a large expense or the creation of a specific web page. This is the case of the Facebook contest created by the company Pura Vida Bracelets , whose business is based on the online sale of handmade bracelets by artists from all over the world. The company appealed to Facebook users to comment on the bracelets that appeared in the posts. All those who commented on the piece of costume jewelery that they liked the most entered the draw. In a few hours, the fanpage got more than a thousand comments. Without spending a lot of budget on market research, the company quickly discovered which products in its range are the most popular .

Policy and regulations for contests on Facebook

Facebook contests have to comply with specific rules determined by the social network itself and by Spanish legislation. Those who do not abide by the rules of Facebook risk being penalized or, in the worst case, having their account deleted. Both the data protection and the legal bases of the contests have restrictions. Therefore, it is essential to familiarize yourself with these rules.

Comply with Facebook rules

Taking a look at the guidelines of the social network you can clear all your doubts about what you can do and what you can not do in a contest on Facebook. In the general conditions of use  of Facebook, in the option? Promotions on pages, groups and events? you will find all the information regarding the rules you must abide by. To avoid taking risks, it is advisable that you review the policies before starting a contest, in case they have undergone changes. The restrictions imposed by the social network seem very numerous, although it should not be a reason not to run a contest. The reason why so many rules are imposed is that Facebook wants to protect itself against the launch of illegal or non-compliant contests and that is why when creating a contest on Facebook you must be careful and check that each action is adjusted to legality.

The platform requires that each contest on Facebook include an exemption clause , legal notice in which the following points must be included:

  1. Facebook will be released from all liability in connection with the promotions.
  2. It should be recognized that Facebook is not associated with the contest in any way and that the social network does not sponsor, support or administer it in any way.

Although this implies that additional text must be included in the framework of a dynamic contest, those who want to protect themselves against any eventuality must adhere to the guidelines established for Facebook contests and include the corresponding disclaimer.

The rules will also depend on the type of contest on Facebook. As a general rule, it is more difficult to adjust to the legality the contests that are launched through the fanpage , since, after all, they take place directly on the social network and not as part of an external application. Below you will find an overview of what is allowed and not in the contests created on the fanpage.


Not allowed

Users can comment and like? to publications.

Calls to share a post

Users can post a photo on the fanpage.

Invitation to tag friends or yourself in photos or comments.

Users can give? Like? to publication.

Promote the publication of content on the profile of other users, post on other fanpages or upload photos.

Users can like? to the fanpage and all fans participate automatically.

Call to change Facebook profile status or sign up

Users can send private messages

Notification to winners through a post on their profile

Before announcing the name of the winner or the winning publication, the user must have accepted

Promote the spread of a hashtag

In short, in the contests with the fanpage, users can participate through likes, comments or by publishing a photograph, so that the one who has published the photograph that has obtained the most likes or the comment with the greatest impact could be considered the winner. On the contrary, it is not allowed to make calls to follow a company through a private profile or invite friends to participate through a publication. Also, sharing a post cannot be a necessary condition for entering the contest.

The legal situation of applications is more complicated. In fact, when developing an application, one must take into account, among other things, the policies of the Facebook platform, the rules of the community and the advertising policies: changing the basic functions of Facebook is absolutely prohibited, although there are issues with less stringent requirements, for example regarding the sharing function or the implementation of other forms of interaction that allow data collection. Even so, it is mandatory to offer users the possibility to erase such data. Therefore, the simplest option is to buy an application that is already developed, so that compliance with the law has been previously verified.

Legal bases: participation conditions

In a contest on Facebook, in addition to the guidelines of the platform, it is important to consider other aspects. In order not to take any false steps, for example, you have to clearly indicate the rules of the contest, not only for transparency, but because it is established by law. Nor can the participation conditions be absent. The legislator does not specify a specific way in which the information should be presented, but it does require that it be clearly written and that it be perfectly visible .

For a Facebook contest to comply with legal requirements, the terms and conditions must include at least the following information :

  • Information about the organizer of the contest
  • Participation requirements and eligibility criteria
  • Calendar: duration of the contest, deadline for submission and date of the draw
  • Details on the prize (s) offered
  • Winners information
  • Notification to the winners

Sometimes it is advisable to include more information:

  • Steps to follow if the winners do not appear
  • Right to modify or suspend the game
  • Prohibition of abuse
  • Information rights to participants

Likewise, it is important to include a section in which an exemption from liability for damages that may arise from the enjoyment of the prize is included.

In addition to the conditions of participation, in the Facebook contest it is advisable to include a privacy statement, especially in those cases in which, through a function of the application, you include a contact form or a subscription to a newsletter, already that the statement provides information on how such personal data is collected and processed: for example, the use of data for a newsletter always requires the consent of the user.

If we jointly publish Facebook's disclaimer, participation conditions and privacy policy, we will get too long text, it does not make sense to publish all these rules at once. If we create a contest on the wall, we can publish them in additional posts or place them within the Facebook notes. Of course, it is less advisable to place them on our website or landing page.


Legal requirements take up much more space in contests that are created directly on the wall. Alternatively, you can locate them in the Facebook notes. It is important that you refer to them and that you allow users to access them through a link.

What dangers are there?

Situations can occur on Facebook that, although not common, cannot be completely ruled out. It can happen that a provocative comment causes a discussion on your profile, that the controversy is beyond your control and that, as a result, your contest is canceled. In this sense, it is important that you are aware of the existence of these risks so that you can evaluate whether this form of marketing is worth it and so that you are careful in case they occur.

Furthermore, Facebook contests can be subject to manipulation. If someone buys likes to increase their chances of winning, there are many difficulties in proving such fraud. This means that the rule according to which the participant who gets the most likes will be proclaimed the winner of the contest is not entirely reliable. In addition, there are many other possible violations of the conditions of participation that are difficult to identify. Therefore, it is advisable to include a clause that can serve as a deterrent: "Abuse and violations of the conditions of participation will lead to expulsion. The benefit may be later revoked."

You can also protect yourself against fake users by limiting participation to contestants of legal age. It is recommended that you schedule a second draw in advance in case the first winner does not appear rewarding, for example, the second most popular comment, and it must be taken into account that a prize that has been neglected would damage the image of your brand. In addition, you can prevent the winner from claiming their prize months after the end of the contest. Another problem is that you attract people who participate in all contests and who will not bring you any commercial benefit, so you should try to make your campaign clearly oriented to your target audience to avoid this type of participation.

Trolls always pose a risk on social media. Through the Facebook customer service you can report comments or posts that incite hatred. The platform will study whether the post or comment violates the rules and will remove it if necessary. A good remedy against trolls, however, is to fight back in the most objective way possible.


Whatever happens, act. Those who do not react to these violations of Facebook policy are considered untrustworthy, arouse the discontent of other participants, and ultimately damage their corporate image.

The worst possible scenario would occur if Facebook canceled the contest for violation of its policies, and could even delete the account. Regulatory compliance is checked regularly, especially if Facebook's algorithm detects unusually high activity. Also to protect ourselves from competitors we must abide by the rules of the platform to avoid warnings or complaints from them.

Steps to launch a successful Facebook contest

So that you can get an idea of ​​how you can start a contest that brings you commercial benefits, we present the following fictitious example.

Define the objectives

The goals you pursue with a Facebook contest will differ depending on whether you are a small or medium business or a blogger. If it were a yoga school, for example, it would not interest that this contest had a great reach outside the city. The main objective would be to win clients who reside in the place where the school is located.

Attract the target audience

To reach new potential clients, the yoga school must know its target audience well . The campaign will only be successful if it appeals to local residents who want to do something for their well-being and who are willing to practice yoga. Depending on the offer, it may be worth narrowing it down to a more specific group. For example, if courses run on weekends have vacancies, it would make sense to appeal to people who work during the week and are looking for a better work-life balance.

When deciding who is the audience, there are different aspects that must be taken into account: the type of prizes, the conditions of participation and the style of writing the contest must be appropriate to the person to whom they are addressed. Take your time to decide what tone to use when addressing the participants. It is also recommended that communication through Facebook be fluid and that the images used are suitable to appeal to your target audience.

What is the ideal prize?

The contest prize must also be tailored to the target audience . In the case of the yoga school, a free subscription month, discounts on courses for beginners or a card of 10 free visits could be raffled. These types of awards fulfill two functions: on the one hand, they satisfy the target audience and, on the other, they encourage them to try the courses. It can also be a way to retain existing customers, since as a result of the award they may attend courses more frequently. A trial subscription won in a contest could be converted to an annual subscription. The difference of this type of prize compared to others, such as the raffle of products related to yoga, is very clear: the participants in this second competition do not necessarily have to be people who live near the school and may not even are interested in the courses. In addition, it must be taken into account that if the prize consists of attending a course, all participants will be informed through the Facebook contest about the school's program.

It doesn't always have to be such a big prize. If you want to expand your chances of getting new leads, it may make sense to offer several small ones instead of a single large prize, such as coupons or trial subscriptions . The value of the prize must correspond to the effort to be made by the contestant . For example, if you raffle a discount, no one will enter a time-consuming, multi-party contest, but they will participate in a knowledge test for an annual subscription.

How much budget should we invest?

Of course, your investment in Facebook should pay off. That is why it is important that you make an approximate cost-benefit calculation. You should take into account not only the money that the award represents, but also the work time and effort invested in the campaign. The benchmark used to determine whether an advertising campaign is profitable is ROI (return on investment). This metric expresses the percentage of money invested and the resulting profit. Check the profitability of the contest so that you can better estimate your budget next time.

The yoga school, for example, could raffle five monthly subscriptions worth 50 euros each. In the case of a contest created on the Facebook wall, which requires little work time, it may only result in personnel costs of 80 euros. A multi-day Facebook ad to promote the contest could cost 140 euros. Therefore, the school has invested 470 euros in the campaign. If in two months, at least three of the participants in the contest decide to make an annual subscription of 600, the school would obtain 1,330 euros in profits. It is more difficult to measure the reach obtained with this campaign because this effect sometimes occurs much later.

Set the contest format

Once the object, the prize and the budget of the contest have been established, you must take care of choosing the format and setting the general conditions of participation.

Regardless of whether it is a photo contest or a quiz, the expense and effort should be commensurate . Going back to the yoga school example, link participation with a? Like? it would be too easy. A game about questions related to different styles of yoga is more likely to attract an interested audience. Even beginners should be able to answer questions regarding different styles of yoga or positions known to all.

In addition to the conditions of participation, the aforementioned information should be collected: the duration, the prize, etc. The duration of the contest on Facebook will largely depend on the conditions of participation . In a simple trivia game, the quiz should not last more than two weeks. At the same time, the ad serving should be carried out as they achieve very precise targeting on Facebook.

The advantages and disadvantages of sweepstakes in summary

The table below should help you determine if a Facebook contest is worth it, or if another marketing campaign would be more appropriate for you. To help you, we compare the advantages and disadvantages of implementing both. However, you should bear in mind that the relevance of one aspect or another will largely depend on the marketing objective we have.

Contest in timeline






? Low cost

? Limited features

? Many functions to interact, establish contact and collect data

? Costs linked to the development of the application or the service

? Little difficulty (just have to publish)

? Performance measurement is difficult

? Automated control of success

? Greater installation effort and technical adaptation


? Not suitable for collecting user data

? It allows obtaining quality data

? Data protection policies are more complicated

? Basic functions already known

? Design limitations

? Individualized design to create a better brand image


? Participants do not have to leave the timeline

? Increased risk of misuse

? Greater viral effect

? Reach is achieved outside of the fan page



? Better integration of the conditions of participation, disclaimer and privacy policy




? Multichannel marketing by integrating other social media channels