Facebook has announced it plans to make it easier for marketers to run promotions on the site by abandoning the need for third party apps to run competitions, signalling a potentially huge increase in participation levels.

Facebook’s promotion policy has been updated to allow brands to run competitions directly from their timeline, meaning companies can now collect entries through fan posts as well as ‘Likes’. This is in stark contrast to Facebook’s previous policy, which prevented brands from using the ‘Like’, ‘Share’ and ‘Comment’ functions in competitions. This forced them to use third party apps – something which has drawn privacy concerns.

Privacy issues are not the only criticism third party apps have had to face – they’ve also caused a number of huge mistakes.The most obvious example of this is when a third party app used by Boots mistakenly informed all 9,000 competition entrants that they had won the prize – a mistake that cost Boots £90,000 in Advantage Card points.

The removal of the barrier of third party apps is great news for businesses on Facebook. The costs of running a competition will fall considerably, and the design is more intuitive. Many brands and consumers already participate in this form of Facebook competition (although, up to this point, it had been against their terms of service) and the change in terms plays into this use. Ruth Hobbs, a consultant at the Institute of Promotional Marketing, also claims that consumers have previously “been wary about inputting their data into such apps” and that the new rules will therefore encourage more engagement.

What do you think? Will you be entering, or designing, more competitions now Facebook has changed its rules?