Skip to main content

We’ve all seen them, “Tag a friend who…”, “Like if you’re an Aries!” posts on Facebook; but as of now, these posts will appear less and less in your news feed as Facebook will start “demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.”

So what? That’s a good thing right? You hate getting tagged in those stupid “These people will be getting a pig this year!” posts (don’t laugh, it’s actually a thing). Well, yes and no, if you run competitions on Facebook with the aim of increasing your likes or ask people to “comment YES below to enter!” – you could be impacted.

Well, Charlotte, did you get a little piggy?!
Screenshot from the now defunct Aardvark Facebook page…

What is engagement bait?

Engagement baiting is a common tactic used by businesses to trick the Facebook algorithm. If they post a couple of these spammy ‘comment YES below!’ type posts, they get heaps of engagement which boosts their ranking in the algorithm, meaning their regular, less spammy content gets seen by more people.

In their blog post, Facebook explains engagement bait as posts that

“…take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach.”

They give some pretty clear cut examples in their post – check out the last image – not only are they going to get heavily penalised for their engagement bait, but they’re blatantly and unashamedly flouting Facebook’s competition rules. Very naughty indeed.

From Facebook’s newsroom article – examples of ‘engagement’ baiting. Source: Facebook.

What does this mean for you?

For obvious reasons, Facebook aren’t really fans of people and pages who bend the rules and trick their cleverly crafted algorithms, so they’re clamping down – and your competition posts are likely to suffer as a result.

Depending on the goal of your competition and the entry method you choose, you may end up running a ‘like to win’ or ‘comment to win’ competition which requires entrants to (you guessed it) like or comment on a post in return for an entry.

Facebook make a point of saying the penalties will apply for pages that “systematically and repeatedly use engagement bait to artificially gain reach” so if you’re running a one-off competition, you’re unlikely to feel the wrath of Facebook, but if you run daily, weekly or monthly giveaways of this ilk, you could quickly find yourself in hot water.

Stay up to date with Facebook rules!

There’s a lot more where this came from! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay up to date with your competition legals.

So how can you avoid getting penalised?

Luckily for you, we’re on hand to show you that this change is actually awesome news for your competition and rather than resenting the change, we’re embracing it whole-heartedly.

Facebook are on a mission to “promote more meaningful and authentic conversations” which means to succeed under these changes, you have to help them do that. With that in mind, here are some simple ways to avoid engagement baiting and build meaningful engagement:

  • Instead of a “Comment YES if…” competition, why not ask them an open question, “Let us know what your favourite thing about our new snuggle socks is for a chance to win a year’s supply!”
  • Instead of “Comment, Tag and Share for your chance to win a new outfit for you and a friend” (which by the way is against Facebook’s rules), ask them to post a photo of your/your friend’s wardrobe fail/win. Photos are amazing for encouraging natural engagement amongst your followers.
  • Instead of “Vote for your favourite and we’ll pick a winner at random”, you could ask your audience to tell you in the comments which is their favourite and why, then pick a winner based on their responses. Not only does this boost authentic responses, but it turns into a game of skill which therefore doesn’t need a licence – win win!

We are really excited about this change, because it means people will have to think about creating more meaningful competitions rather than throwing out a like and comment competition that may boost your post’s popularity in the short-term, but does nothing for your business – or sales – in the long term.

Not sure how these changes will affect you and your business or need help planning a competition that won’t land you in Facebook jail?

Get in touch with us for a FREE 15 minute competition strategy session, as you can see, we LOVE talking about your competitions!

Join the discussion 2 Comments