As a former coupon blogger, I am well aware that Facebook has a long list of naughty words. Words that cause the algorithm to trigger a “DO NOT SHOW” flag. Status updates or links that included words like “coupon”, “sale” and “discount” always seemed to compromise my audience reach. I have always wondered however, how Facebook felt about giveaways, after all, they practically encourage you to run these types of promotions on your business page.
I ran a 12 Days of Christmas promotion for a company called Gsalr.com. We increased our daily status updates from 3x day to 5 per day to promote the contest 2x a day….what I found was absolutely shocking…and validated my longstanding theory that….FACEBOOK ABSOLUTELY HATES GIVEAWAYS.
You can see from the Buffer screenshots below that our reach absolutely tanked each time the ‘giveaway’ or ‘promotion’ was mentioned or linked to. For reference the Gsalr.com Facebook page had just over 11, 000 fans at the beginning of this promotion. According to reports, an average Facebook reach is somewhere around 4.11% which is clearly proven with our non-giveaway updates. However, any time we mentioned the giveaway, promo or even linked to the contest page, our reach absolutely TANKED. Below you can clearly see the average reach for non-giveaway status updates on the page was 644, whereas the average for giveaway posts was only 49!
Because Gsalr is part of a larger online yard sale network, I tested out linking to the giveaway from another page in their network. Part of me wondered if Facebook just hates it when you link to your own content or if it was giveaways in general. So to test out that theory, I linked to the giveaway from another one of the company’s pages that has has over 14k fans…and the outcome was the same! Any mention or link to the promo absolutely tanked. As you’ll see..the results were the same. The reach of any giveaway related post was 1/10 of the other posts.
The screenshots listed above only shows the content for one day, so I wanted to take it a step further and see how the giveaway statuses performed overall during the first week of the contest, as you can see from the spreadsheet below, the status updates relating to the giveaways had the least amount of reach compared to all of the other status updates.
Most of the giveaway status updates reached fewer than 100 people, on a page with over 11,000 fans! You will notice the purple highlighting above which shows a $100 Boosted Post we ran, which had great reach and great engagement. I wondered if because I was running a boosted post on the Gsalr Facebook page that it was somehow throwing off the other similar giveaway updates. BUT, that was quickly refuted when I also looked at the stats from another one of their pages, that did NOT have a boosted post about the contest and the results were the same.
As you can see the bottom half of the status updates with the least reach were almost entirely made up of giveaway links and promos. Whomp Whomp!
Don’t put your all of your eggs in one basket…
The good news is that Facebook was not our only means of advertising, we also employed a virtual assistant to post the giveaway in forums, blogs and linkups. We had some great success with that. Below you will see the analytics of which site brought the most traffic:
The top 3rd party traffic drivers to the giveaway were (excluding the Gsalr site & Facebook):
So if you are looking to promote your giveaway, I would definitely start with 5 sites listed above!
Let me recap what I learned by running this promotion on Facebook:
- Any mention or link to the contest post resulted in a limited reach
- We did get a good amount of reach and engagement with a $100 boosted post
- Linking to the giveaway from another FB page resulted in the same low reach
- Running a boosted post, does not compromise any similar posts on the page
Have you had this same experience? I would love to hear from others! Leave me a comment in the comments section and let me know if you had a similar or different outcome with running a promotion on Facebook.