Facebook finally updated their promotions guidelines to allow the usage of natural Facebook functions in promotions. Brands can now collect entries by having users post on their page or comment/like a page post. Likes can also be utilized as voting mechanism. So now you do not necessarily need to build 3rd party app to host a competition.
This makes things clearer for brands, because the former guidelines of building the 3rd party apps seemed to be relatively difficult for brands to understand and caused a lot of confusion. Using status updates as competition vehicles has already been a tool, which especially smaller brands have utilized although it has been forbidden. From user´s standpoint this will mean that the newsfeed will be even more populated with promotional content in addition and conjunction with sponsored stories. The recent change is also total turnaround from the rhetoric of pre-listed Facebook about not populating user feeds with commercial messages. Besides the constant pressure of shareholders the reason for this change is super simple:
The biggest caveat of Facebook tabs has been that they are not working on mobile. For some reason, it has been tricky or trivial thing for Facebook to fix. Enabling the contests in normal brand page timeline allows brands to tap into the dramatic mobile usage growth of Facebook. It is also a painstaking proof that traditional status updates do not drive people to like the brands as much as the incentivized ones.
Is this the end of the Facebook tabs?
Now there is no idea to host simple competitions using Facebook tab. Status update competition with appropriate paid media push works totally fine and allows having more smaller competitions outside normal campaign cycle. It is quite limited way for customer interaction. Therefore I would not count Facebook tabs totally off just yet. They provide opportunities for deeper engagement, richer storytelling and more impressive experience than the native Facebook functions. Facebook has not really replaced the campaign microsites due to its limited offering for brands. If you want to wow your audience in Facebook, you pretty much still have to utilize tabs. Which unfortunately do not work in mobile.
Easing the promotion guidelines is a quick fix for Facebook and addresses certain key promotion issues regarding the mobile. If Facebook really wants to replace the still prevalent usage of microsites they either need to fix the tab formats to work in mobile or completely revamp the brand page structure to give more freedom to brands.