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Top 5 things to know for creating a Facebook Competition App

Facebook competitions are a great way for companies to draw visitors to their page and have some sort of interaction with their brand. Here are the top 5 points to have in mind when developing a Facebook Canvas App to hold your competition:

1. Fan Gates / Like Gates have been banned
As of Nov. 5 2014 Facebook does not allow Pages to require a user to Like a Page in order to gain access to competitions, content or apps. Here is what Facebook has said about this:

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, check in at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”

2. Secure Server
Facebook requires that the base URL for the app content to be on a secure server. That means that you will need to have an SSL Certificate installed on the server that will host the files for your app.

3. PHP >=5.4
If you are using the PHP SDK to develop your Facebook App it requires that your PHP version be 5.4 or greater.

4. No Page Tabs on mobile devices
Facebook Competitions are usually created as Page Tabs. But Page Tabs are not supported on mobile devices, meaning that visitors using a mobile device won’t be able to view your app. The common practice here is use an intermediate page that will check where your visitors are coming from (mobile or desktop). If the visitors are coming from desktop then you redirect them to the Page Tab URL, if they are coming from a mobile device then you redirect them to the browser to view your web version.

5. Facebook in-app browser
On August 2014 Facebook rolled out a new feature for its app. A built in browser that loads timeline links inside the app, rather than opening them on your device browser. There have been reported issues relating with this browser on Android 5 Lollipop, specifically with FB.getLoginStatus() method always returning the status "unknown". So if your Facebook Competition App is using the FB.getLoginStatus() method to get the visitor’s details, you should implement a mechanism to detect the Facebook in-app browser and offer some type of warning, or different functionality.

There you have it, 5 simple tips to have in mind the next time you are developing a Facebook Competition.

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George Botsaris
George Botsaris

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