Has Facebook failed marketers?

A friend sent me an article on MarketWatch.com titled “Has Facebook failed marketers?

I wrote a response in the comments section of that article and I have re-posted it here:

There are marketer’s who get the value of facebook and those who don’t.   From my perspective there’s just a lot of education needed to show marketers the value of facebook and how to take advantage of it.   And those who figure it out and stay ahead of the rest are the big winners in this game.

At the end of the day the key things you need to realize is that facebook has massive audience reach, incredible targeting capabilities, access to your social graph, and very high performing ad units (when done right).   Not to mention mobile, where usage continues to skyrocket.

You need to take the best parts of facebook and pair them with the best parts of your other marketing/advertising strategies.  When combined you will see fantastic results.

Want to see an example of a company I think all marketers should study closely in the social media space?  Check out these guys –> https://www.facebook.com/CountryOutfitter

Nick Taylor
Founder / Social Contests

3 Facebook Contest Prize Types and Why Prizes Matter

facebook prizeWhen it comes to your brand’s Facebook page, engaging content is king. Without engaging content, your fans will more than likely hit the “unlike” button, especially if they are not your customers. Contests and sweepstakes are a great way to drum up excitement for your fans and get them glued to your Facebook page. However, what really drives those fans to entering your contest is the prize. Contest prizes should hook your fans right away. Whether its in descriptive text or a compelling graphic that shows the prize, your fans should understand what your prize is and why they should enter. When thinking of your prize, you have to think about your target market and your product. These are key in getting the most return on your contest, whether that be converting non-fans to fans or fans to customers. Here’s three different contest prize types you should be giving. 

Giveaway Your Product as a Prize

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 2.40.10 PMFor some, it may be best to giveaway their own product as they may not have the budget for a larger prize. This option may also be best for start ups that are looking to increase their customer reach. Giving your fans the opportunity to try out your product may be enough to persuade them to buy your product at a later date. The advantage of offering this prize is that it’ll weed out contest/ sweepstake sharks who go on contest forums and enter contests that give away huge prizes. This method works especially well for companies selling niche products, such as the Gardeners contest on the left. Because Gardeners sell products that are solely specific to gardening, giving away such products would attract more of the people who love to garden, thus engaging their core target market. Furthermore, the more people from this segment enter your contest, the more likely they convert from fan to customer in the long term.

Giveaway a Prize that Resonates with your Customer/Company

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 2.40.20 PMA prize that resonates with your customer reaches at their likes and interests, outside of your product. It is related to what you sell and should definitely grab the attention of the appropriate target market. A prize of this type does not necessarily have to be for companies on a small budget. The Hello Kitty memorabilia example on the left makes sense for Sephora for two reasons: one, they sell Hello Kitty cosmetics; two, they know that target customers of Hello Kitty cosmetics are young girls/adults who attend school. Because of the many options of prizes you can give away in this product category, its very important for marketing managers to know their customer very well and giveaway products that they will love. As with the previous example, the more people from your segment that enter your contest, the more likely they convert from fan to customer in the long term.

Giveaway a High Value Prize 

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 2.40.31 PMHigh value prizes are tricky. One the one hand, contest’s giving away these prize types may generate the most entrees because the scope of people who want to win is more broad than with other prize types. You don’t necessarily have to like Church’s Chicken, for example, to want to win a family reunion in Florida. Offering a prize like this isn’t completely unreasonable for Church’s, since its a chain restaurant that primarily attracts families. Because contests that offer these prize types face the risk of more opportunists to enter, its best for a company to know their main goal for such a contest. If it’s to get as much fans/email addresses as possible, then this strategy should work very well.

Key Takeaways

  • Know your customer.
  • Know your marketing goals.
  • Choose a prize that excites your customer and meets those goals.

Don’t forget to comment!

We hope we answered all your Facebook contest prize questions. Let us know your thoughts on our post and how we differentiated prize types. We’d love to hear from you.

-The Social Contests Team







7 Quick Ways to Promote Your Facebook Contest

600x300xmegaphone.gif.pagespeed.ic.EDQOLs6sYQFor any Facebook contest, there are three things that will make it successful: the contest itself, a prize that your fans will love, and the advertising that will get your contest noticed. Because advertising can vary widely, from paid to unpaid, its best to know what your specific goals are for this contest. If you have the budget and want to acquire as much contest entries and email subscribers as possible, then the paid route might be a better and faster choice for you. If you’re looking for a way to engage your current fans or attract fans that are within your target market, there are a variety of different paid and unpaid options. Remember to keep the call to action and message very clear for potential contestants so that they will want to enter your contest without any hesitation. Below are seven quick ways you can promote your Facebook contest and why they are beneficial to your campaign.

Promo Tip 1: Use your current email list

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  • Engages your current fan base
  • Converts email subscribers who may not be Facebook fans
  • Leverages high email marketing open rates 

Promo Tip 2: Publicize on Twitter

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  • Reaches a new channel of customers 
  • Increases your contest entries as Twitter followers retweet
  • Converts Twitter followers who may not be Facebook fans

Promo Tip 3: Publicize your contest on your website

Premium Outlets: Everyday Discounts on Designer Brands

  •  Converts web viewers to Facebook fans
  • Has a higher reach than email or social outlets

Promo Tip 4: Ask blogs related to your product or target market to link to your contest

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  • Reaches people who may not even have considered your brand before
  • Converts higher value fans 
  • Builds trust with your brand through a third party blog they already trust

Promo Tip 5: Use Facebook Advertising such as Sponsored Stories or Promoted Posts

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  •  Reach depends on how much you spend 
  • Potential to reach people who may not be fans of the Southwest but share similar interests with existing fans
  • Facebook share button can spread contest fast

Promo Tip 6: Send text alerts to your mobile lists


  •  Reaches your current mobile fan base faster than email
  • Converts mobile fans into Facebook fans

Promo Tip 7: Use Google Ads to direct users to a specifc contest landing page

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  • Reach depends on how much you spend 
  • Potential to reach people who may not be fans of the Southwest but type keywords that relate to the brand or the contest

Don’t forget to comment!

We hope we answered all your Facebook contest promotion questions. Let us know your thoughts on our post. We’d love to hear from you.

-The Social Contests Team


6 Tips to Optimize Your Facebook Contest for Mobile

banner-sullivanIt’s a pretty clear fact now that mobile optimization is a necessity for most applications, including Facebook. With 70% of Facebook’s traffic coming from mobile, its even more important for apps within Facebook, including contests and sweepstakes, to be mobile optimized. Making your contests mobile optimizes matters because it shows your Facebook fans that you are in sync with their needs and are trying to make their contest entry process as seamless as possible. Thus, this causes less barriers to entry and more email subscribers. Lastly, making your contests mobile optimized helps with your brand’s credibility. What this means is, customers that notice that your site is optimized for mobile are 67% more likely to buy from your site while 61% are more likely to leave if your site is not. Even though Facebook contests are not necessarily on your site, the same rules apply. Your fans want the best experience they can have; anything subpar will deter them away from your site or company overall. Since were talking about how great optimizing for mobile is, I’m sure some of you are wondering how exactly you can optimize your contests. Here are 5 tips that can help you make your contest mobile optimized!

Mobile Tip 1: Make Contest Page Uniform 

mobileThe easiest way for a person to know if your contest is not mobile optimized is if they have to pinch or stretch their fingers to zoom in on parts of the contest. Contests like these face a higher chance of being abandoned because contestants would rather not be inconvenienced for just a chance to win a prize. To prevent this from happening, build a mobile version of the contest page from scratch that can only scroll up or down and has easily legible text and images. That way, your fans will see right away what this contest is about and how they can enter.   

Mobile Tip 2: Avoid using Like-Gating

mobileMost times, a fan isn’t going to find your contest on your Facebook page, especially since Facebook Tabs are currently not available on mobile. They may find your contest on your website or another persons Facebook page through their mobile browser. And it’s those times when they are most likely not signed on to Facebook. While it may seem like a no-brainer to use the like-gating technique used on desktop devices  and ask fans to sign on to Facebook first and like your page, this is not a good idea for mobile. Mobile users are frequently on the go or are multi-tasking with different apps on their phone. They want to their mobile experiences to be as fast and efficient as possible. Adding multiple barriers to entry will turn off your potential contestant and they will most likely move on to their next mobile experience and forget about your contest. Instead, ask them to like your page after they sign up. Even if you don’t capture them as a Facebook fan, you’ll still have them on your email list.

Mobile Tip 3: Keep the Entry Form Process as Simple as Possible

mobileYour contest entry form should accomplish two goals: One, guide the contestant through the contest and two, capture the data you need. The entry form should be as short as possible to accomplish these goals and not overbear the contestant. Little changes to the entry form, such as combining first and last name fields and not having an address field can make a huge difference. The shorter the form, the quicker the process and the happier the contestant.


Mobile Tip 4: Test across ALL Mobile Devices

mobile It’s one thing to make your contest mobile optimized for iPhones but if its not for Androids or Windows phones, then your mobile efforts will not be fully rewarded. This also includes tablet devices as 40% of web users are using them to go on Facebook. Make sure to test your contest across all these platforms to avoid alienating a subset of your fans. The more you optimize, the more entries you contest will generate.


Mobile Tip 5: Track your Entry Stats across Mobile vs. Desktop

mobileTracking your contest stats may show insight on what device your specific target market uses to view your site, Facebook page, or Facebook contest. It may turn out that almost all your contest entries are coming from mobile devices, thus proving critical for your company’s entire web presence to be optimized for mobile. Use separate bit.ly links to your contest for each device you’d like to test whether it be mobile, desktop, or tablet.


Bonus Mobile Tip: Use SMART Links/URL’s for Mobile 

mobileIn addition to testing your contest across mobile, you have to make sure that you deferential desktop vs. mobile links to your contest. A desktop link clicked on a mobile device will send your potential contestant to a DEAD END where they will not be able to take the contest. To avoid losing fans, use SMART links that are mobile optimized to take the viewer to a mobile version of the site. Tabsite can help you create those SMART Links.




Don’t forget to comment!

We hope we answered all your “mobile optimized” questions. Let us know your thoughts on our post and more tips you may have. We’d love to hear from you.

-The Social Contests Team


Use Our Free Facebook Ad Checker Tool for Facebook’s 20% Text Rule

Facebook 20% Text Image CheckerFacebook contests/sweepstakes thrive off of advertising and promoting in order to reach the largest audience. Most Facebook ads come in the form of Sponsored Stories or Promoted Posts, those coincidentally relevant posts users see in their newsfeed. Now of course, there are rules to posting these types of ads on Facebook. Here’s a rundown of the most basic rules regarding Facebook Ads.

Click Here for The Facebook Promoted Posts 20% Image Checker Tool

Don’t Forget These General Rules for Facebook Ads:

  • Ads cannot explicit political or sexual issues or issues that people may be sensitive towards
  • Ads cannot be used to scare or shock audience
  • Ads cannot have imagery that are sexually explicit or show excessive skin/unnecessary body parts.
  • Ads cannot have imagery that show inactive video play back or exit buttons
  •  Ads cannot have QR codes or Facebook branded icons or logos without its permission
  • Ads must have appropriate imagery for ads targeted towards users below 18. 

The Facebook 20% Text Rule:

Above all these rules for Facebook ads lies the 20% text rule. In very general rules, any image used as a Facebook admay notcontain more than 20% text. However, it gets tricky when products are involved. For example, if a product normally includes text in the packaging, such as the Pepsi can below, then that text does not count toward the 20% rule. This also applies to a photographed background that originally has some sort of branding or logo on it, as the case with the Red Bull and Swatch ad below. Any other sort of text applies to the 20% rule, including text and logos that were not originally part of the photo. Take a look at some visuals below to clarify any confusions you may have!

Does’t Count toward 20% Rule

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Pepsi Logo does not count towards 20% Rule


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Swatch & Red Bull Logos do not count towards 20% Rule







So, how much is 20%?

The most commonly used method to check this rule is by dividing your image into grids and counting the number of grids are highlighted by text. If its more than 20% of the total number of grids, then Facebook will not approve your ad. Now, you’re probably thinking: Do I really have to divide me image up into grids? Luckily, our image checker tool does it right for you! All you have to do is click the number of boxes with text and our tool well tell you whether your ad falls within the 20% range. Here are some examples below: 


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Follows 20% Rule

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Does not Follow 20% Rule






Tips & Tricks:

  • The bigger the font size of your ad’s copy, the more it will take up 20%
  • Make copy font size small if you need to fit more words into your ad.
  • Using images with minimal text makes your ad more engaging for your audience. Insert copy that is necessary for your messaging/branding and avoid reckless word dumping.
  • Incorporating products/branding into images that show real life scenes/human interactions makes your ad more engaging and creatively doesn’t count towards the 20% rule.
  • Don’t forget to bookmark our image checker tool!

Don’t forget to comment!

We hope we answered all your “Facebook 20% Rule” questions. Let us know your thoughts on our post, image checker tool, and this rule. We’d love to hear from you.

-The Social Contests Team

Facebook Rules Checklist for Contests/Sweepstakes

FacebooScreen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.40.49 PMk contests/sweepstakes have proven to be very lucrative for brands seeking to both grow their email lists and engage with current followers. With ideas ranging from photo to social gaming contests, their are many creative ways to excite your fans and increase traffic to your Facebook page. However, before jumping to your company’s Facebook admin panel, here are a few rules you should know about creating contests on Facebook. Contests that fail to follow all rules almost always are found out and shut down by Facebook. Companies that continue to break these rules face their complete pages being shut down.


Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PMMake sure to let Facebook know about the contest via this form https://www.facebook.com/business/contact.php.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PMSweepstakes/Contests must be administered through a third party agency/software service, either on a Canvas Page or a Page App.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PMMake sure your contest is in compliance with state/regional laws and guidelines for businesses running prize giveaways through Facebook.

During Contest/Contest Components

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PM When running your contests, you must not grant entry to the registration or form upon the user liking a wall post, uploading a photo, or commenting on your Facebook wall. You can however set up like-gating, or suggesting a user like a page to enter your contest.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PM Include an opt-in check box on your contest in order to legally send emails to contest registrants and utilize demographic/email data.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PMYour contest must state somewhere specifically that it “is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PMFacebook’s like button cannot be used as a voting mechanism for contests or a sweepstake entry button.


Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.42.37 PMFacebook messages, chat, or timeline posts cannot be used to notify contest winners. Companies must communicate with winners privately.


Since Facebook loves to change their rules and guidelines every season, its best to follow up with their promotional guidelines page for a comprehensive list. As for now, use our handy list when crafting your next social media promotions.

4 Necessary Tools & Tips to Throw an Awesome Facebook Contest

Having contests on Facebook lets you take advantage of many of Facebook’s features including social sharing and data analytics. Company’s have used Facebook contests to grow their fan base in short time spans and to provide engaging content to their current fan base. If your company decides to run a Facebook contest/sweepstake, here are some necessary tools and tips to transform your contest from a promotional tool to an awesome interactive experience.

Tip #1 Utilize Your Facebook Tabs

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Combined with Facebook advertising and sponsored posts that drive traffic to your page, Facebook tabs can dramatically increase your fan base throughout the duration of the contest. Tabs are one of the first visual impressions a person sees when they enter your brands page. They also show fans that your brand has greater value to offer other than status updates.

Why are Tabs awesome?

Tabs are one of the only items that are static on your page. They will always be seen and easily accessible compared to posts. Make sure your contest tab lures entrants in and captures more fans.

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Tip #2 Optimize your Facebook Contest for Mobile

This is a must-have feature if you want to reach the highest amount of contest impressions. Approximately 68% of all Facebook users have signed on via mobile. With mobile usage steadily rising, many websites have already redesigned their pages to be mobile friendly. Contest micro-pages should be no different. Mobile-friendly pages end those frustrating pinch and slide experiences involved in all pages which aren’t mobile optimized.

Why is mobile optimized awesome?

Mobile optimized means greater reach and higher conversion rates from contest entries to Facebook likes.

Tip #3  Excite Your Fans with a Relevant & Compelling Prize 

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 4.24.31 PM

No matter what your company’s prize budget may be, your sweepstake prize should always be relevant to your company and compelling enough to bring the most number of contest entries. Whether that be a vacation package for a travel company or a home coffee prize pack for a coffee maker company, make sure the value of your prize pack matches up with the amount of effort required to enter. Keep in mind also how your fans react to Facebook posts on current/new products as their level of excitement measured by the number of likes/shares can be used to determine your prize.

Why are compelling prize awesome?

Contest with compelling prizes give instant boosts of fan engagement on a company’s Facebook page.

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Tip #4 Drive Virality for Your Contest

An alternative to waiting around and spending dollars on Facebook advertising to promote your contest, including Social Sharing widgets to your contest can really reel in those extra fans and save your company a lot of money on promotion. Encouraging fans to share the contest through Facebook, Twitter, Email, or any other social media channel adds another level of reach for your contest.

Why is encouraging virality awesome?

Rewarding fans to share causes lightning fast signups and more positive associations with your brand.