Should your Facebook contest require your participants to install a Facebook app?

Among Facebook contest application vendors, there is a little tug of war: some claim that not requiring your participants to authorize a Facebook application is a must and the only way to go, others tell you that this is the other way around. At the end of the day, community managers who have to choose a system for their next Facebook campaign are left wondering what option really is best for them.

As we get a lot of questions on this very issue, we wanted to give you a real answer, one backed with facts and figures and statistics you can rely on. So we have digged into our app data for thousands of apps and campaigns and here are our findings. You can’t get more transparent than that!

#1 Does requiring the installation of a Facebook app will reduce the number of participants to your contest?

Some Facebook contest app vendors require your fans to install a Facebook app in order to participate into your Facebook campaign (Sweepstakes, Photo Contest, Coupon, etc.). This is our case. And to be straightforward, yes, this will turn some users down and you will never have a 100% conversion rate.

To be precise, we have looked into 3 of our applications’ statistics for the same period and checked the conversion rate (number of people who have installed the app / number of people who have been displayed the app authorization dialog*100) and here are the conversion rates we have found:

  • For our Quiz application, 87% of users have installed the Facebook app (i.e., 13% have dropped at that point)
  • For our Instant Win application, 78% of users have installed the Facebook app (i.e., 22% have dropped at that point)
  • For our Fan Vote application, 84% of users have installed the Facebook app (i.e., 16% have dropped at that point)
Here is the screenshot of Facebook app insights for the Quiz app:

Conversion rate for a Facebook Quiz application for one month as shown in the app native Facebook statisctics.

Here is the screenshot of Facebook app insights for the Instant Win app:

Conversion rate for a Facebook Instant Win application for one month as shown in the app native Facebook statisctics.

 

Remember that these are averages among dozens of different campaigns, some may have had a better conversion, others a worse one. But averages are interesting as they give you a rough idea of the overall conversion rate you can expect.

Obviously, a well known brand offering attractive prizes will get a better conversion rate, and vice versa.

So, will the requirement to install a Facebook app turn down a percentage of your participants? The answer is yes. But the real question should be: is the alternative to a Facebook app requirement give you a better conversion rate? Let’s find out.

 

#2 Does requiring participants to fill in forms only instead of approving a Facebook app boost your number of participants?

As you will run a campaign that will, in most cases, reward your participants with prizes, you need their contact information. At the very least. And most of the time, you will also want to have qualified information about them to leverage this information in future email marketing campaigns or in connection with your CRM efforts. The only way to obtain this information is to ask for it in a good old form!

Facebook photo contest form

An example of form asking participants to a photo contest to enter their contact information as well as the type of motorbike they own.

So, Forms vs. Facebook App what is the best option for conversion? That’s a good question! To give you an answer, we have audited the conversion statistics of three of the recent campaigns we’ve had on our platform, and here are the results:

  • For a Sweepstakes with 3,872 visitors and a like gate, the app install conversion rate was 71.5% and the form completion rate was 74.6%. Pretty close.
  • For an Instant Win with 24,381 visitors and no like gate, the app install conversion rate was 88.3% and the form completion rate was 27.3%. Wow, this client would have had better conversion by sticking with the app install and not requiring its participants to fill-in a form!
  • For a Fan Vote with 3,270 visitors and no like gate, the app install conversion rate was 56% and the form completion rate was 32.8%. Both pretty bad.

Conversion funnel for one of our sweepstakes:

Facebook Sweepstakes app install and qualification form

Facebook Sweepstakes app install and qualification form conversion rates

Conversion funnel for one of our Instant Win:

Facebook Instant Win app install and qualification form conversion rates

Conversion funnel for one of our Fan Vote:

Facebook Instant Win app install and qualification form conversion rates

Facebook Instant Win app install and qualification form conversion rates

 

The conclusion? Well, first things first, you will not necessarily have a better conversion with a form versus a Facebook app install. In some instance, you may even have a worse conversion rate!

Second, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to that question. The Facebook application conversion will depend on the type of authorization you ask from your participants, and the form conversion rate will depend on the number and nature of the fields you require your participants to fill-in. So whether you use a Facebook application or a form is not the point, the real matter is what you ask from your participants in one or the other.

In any event, as you can see in the results above, the number of people who leave your app because you ask them to install a Facebook app is no way higher than the number of people who leave your app because you ask them to fill-in a form.

 

#3 Arguments in favor of the Facebook app install

The good thing with forms is that you can ask for information that do not exist within Facebook, that is the reason why we also offer customizable forms to allow you to collect the data you really need.

But having a Facebook application installed in the process brings a lot of advantages:

It allows to socialize the experience of the users. You can show them their friends’ scores in a quiz, display the number of friends who have also signed a petition, tell them what personality their friends have in a personality test, etc. In a nutshell, if your want your participants to see their friends in the app, challenge them, invite them to increase their score or get more chances to win, you need to have them install a Facebook app. Otherwise, you won’t know who is friend with whom!

Requiring the installation of a Facebook application will reduce the number of cheaters. It is pretty easy to have a lot of Yahoo or gmail email addresses and enter a form several times, it is much more difficult to do the same by creating several fake Facebook profiles. Plus Facebook doesn’t like fake profiles and have a lot or weapons to track and disable them, so this is not a sustainable strategy for prize hunters…

Finally, it allows you to track your fans individually across multiple campaigns and to link that with their engagement on your timeline. If they install an app, you will get their unique Facebook ID and you will be able to gather all the activity they’ve had on your page, across all campaigns and on the timeline. This gives you a much better view of your fan base and its engagement. If you just use forms, you will never be able to match up the data collected and its value will soon be close to nothing…

 

#4 What are the best practices to maximize your conversion rate and number of participants?

Do not require your participants to enter information you will never use! Actually, never ask your participants to provide you information that is not absolutely necessary for your app to perform well. The fewer data you collect, the less anxious they will be to provide you with it.

However, this is a general rule, and there are exceptions.

For example, if you are a love brand and want to ask your participants if they already own one of your super sexy products, go ahead, chances are that they will not be anxious to let you know!

Or, if you prefer to collect high quality (and well qualified) fans, it may make sense to ask relevant questions (such as “what is your frequent flyer card number”)! There are situations where quality (of the participants) matters more than quantity (and high conversion rates).

Now, your take, what is your opinion on that matter?

 

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Emeric Ernoult

Emeric is the co-founder of AgoraPulse, a Facebook Marketing Software company launched in 2011 and based in Paris and San Francisco. AgoraPulse is currently being used by more than 17,000 Facebook Pages across 137 countries.
 
Since 2000, he has been one of the European pioneers in the field of Social Media Marketing. He has advised French and international brands such as Virgin Megastores, FIA and Microsoft.
 
He is a regular speaker at International conferences such as the AllFAcebook Marketing Conference, Facebook Success Summit and BOLO. He is also an accredited instructor at the Online Marketing Institute.