7 Tips For Promoting a Contest Using Facebook Ads

Learn how to effectively promote your contest using Facebook ads with these 7 unique tips for increasing exposure and engagement.

By Will Blunt ・5 min read
Agency Tips
Business & Marketing Strategy
Campaign & Contest Ideas
Social Media

What happens if you launch a contest and no one signs up?Contest radio silence is a real and concerning problem…With so much content noise streaming past the eyes of your prospects, being ignored or overlooked is alarmingly common.No matter how fabulous your prize is, how beautifully designed your landing page is, and how optimized your follow-up sequence is… if no one interacts with your contest promotion, it will all go to waste.That’s why brands and agencies turn to Facebook ads for increasing the exposure of their contests.Now, there is tons of information online about running Facebook ads. So I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of choosing an objective, setting up a campaign, and handling all the back-end mechanics. Instead, I’d like to share 7 unique tips for getting the most from your Facebook ads when promoting a contest. Note: I’m not talking about “Facebook contests” in this article; rather, contests that are hosted on a website and promoted using other channels, one being Facebook Ads.

#1. Promote an organic Facebook post

Social proof is critical to the success of your Facebook ads campaign and the success of your contest promotion. The more people that like, comment, and engage with your post, the more others will want to follow suit.If you dive straight into setting up a Facebook campaign from the Ads Manager, you will likely miss out on all of this powerful psychology. For example, every time you duplicate or edit an ad in Ads Manager, all of the engagement for that ad re-sets. Whereas, if you choose the “Use Existing Post” option when you set up your ad, the engagement will accrue across all of your ad sets and audience variations.To find an organic post from your Business Page, you can either look through your listed posts in the Ads Editor or enter a post ID.

Facebook organic ads editor using existing post post ID and reactions Facebook Ads

Promoting an organic Facebook post.

#2. Get your content right

One downside of using an organic Facebook post in your promotion is that you can’t test and iterate the content of the ad. You’re going all-in on one set of copy and creatives to make the most of the social proof discussed above.While this approach is a little risky and weighed down with assumptions, you can minimize the risk by following best practices for this style of post. Here are some things you should include in your Facebook post promoting your contest:

  • Draw people in with the very first line of your post because the rest of it will cut off on mobile devices.
  • Clearly articulate the benefits of entering the contest by describing the prizes available.
  • Use emojis and text formatting to catch the attention of scrollers and illustrate key points.
  • Create a sense of urgency by highlighting a deadline for entering the contest.
  • Optimize the meta image and description of your landing page so that you can make the most of Facebook’s link preview feature and increase clicks.
  • Ensure you comply with Facebook’s ad policy and competition rules.

Here is a good example from The Dog Book Company:

The Dog Book Company Facebook post with dachshund dog

Example of a contest promotion on Facebook.Side note: If you still want to test creatives and copy, you could create multiple organic posts, run a short test promotion, and sustain the best performing variation for the rest of your campaign.

#3. Align your ad with the contest landing page

After someone clicks on your ad, the experience on your contest landing page should be a natural extension of the copy, content, and offer presented in your Facebook post.You may choose to test different elements on your landing page to optimize conversions. However, if you’re going with one variation, I highly recommend using similar content to your Facebook post. It’s also essential to double-check that the dates, prizes, and promises all match up too!

#4. Optimize for conversions

If you have the Facebook Pixel installed, send contest entrants to a “Thank You” page after submitting their details. Then you can optimize your campaign for conversions and track its performance.In the example below, you can see that every contest entry cost $2.94 for a total of 153 entries. Use this data to determine how profitable your follow-up sequence and campaign have been.

Facebook pixel optimizing post content for ads conversion

Showing contest conversions on Facebook Ads Manager.The other benefit of optimizing your Facebook campaign for conversions is that the Facebook algorithm will automatically deliver your ads to people in your audience selection that are more likely to convert. Campaigns are optimized based on the data Facebook collects and a comparison of relevant user characteristics.

#5. Test audience segments

Even though you may not be testing creative elements of your campaign due to using an organic post, you can still run targeted split tests to optimize your results.There are several ways to test your contest promotion with Facebook Ads, the most common being to create multiple ad sets that target different audience segments. For example, you could test the performance of your remarketing audience compared with interest targeting and/or a lookalike audience of your customers. There is also the option to get even more granular by testing ad placements, audience location, and a range of other demographic factors.

#6. Spend most of your budget early

When setting up a Facebook ads campaign, most people will evenly distribute their budget across the entire campaign period. With contests, you should flip this theory on its head.Instead of spreading your budget out, spend a considerable amount of that budget, let’s say 40-50%, in the first two days of the campaign. That way, you will generate enough initial engagement and interest to make valid changes to your targeting and grow social proof. As well, the nature of a contest is to catch fire with word-of-mouth marketing. So, if you set up your contest to encourage entrants to share and refer the contest to others, when your contest gains momentum you won’t need to spend as much on advertising for the remainder of the campaign.I would also allocate a decent chunk of your budget to the final 24 hours of the contest. People are more likely to enter a contest with the urgency factor amplified.

#7. Comply with the Facebook contest and advertising rules

Unfortunately, it’s much easier than you think to have your Facebook Ads account disabled or banned if you don’t comply with their policies and competition rules. In saying that, as long as you carefully read Facebook’s Advertising Policy and follow the below contest best practices, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about:

  • Provide contest rules that are available on your entry page.
  • Make it clear that Facebook is not your sponsor or associated with the contest in any way.
  • Know which contests are not allowed, such as lotteries and pay-to-enter contests, for example.
  • Understand the laws of the location where your contest will be available.
  • Don’t force people to engage in actions, such as liking or commenting, to enter.
  • Only administer the contest on a Business Profile.
  • Get explicit permission to use submitted entries such as photos or other user-generated-content.


All-in-all, Facebook is a powerful advertising platform for promoting a contest. However, you can quickly burn through your budget or get your account suspended if you are not careful.Take the necessary time to familiarize yourself with these best practices before launching. You won’t regret it.Good luck!

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About the author

By Will Blunt ・5 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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