Online giveaways and competitions


Online giveaways and competitions, are they worth it?

Sometimes you open up Twitter and all you can see are retweeted online giveaways and competitions. Your Facebook feed can be full of friends wishing to win a spa retreat. But as a digital marketing tool, is a giveaway or online competition worth it? Will it actually increase your brand awareness and reach new customers? Here are some points to think about before running a giveaway.

What is the objective of the competition?

Before starting any new campaign, it’s essential to agree the objective. Do you want to achieve more brand awareness, generate new leads or remind and convert existing leads? Be clear about the objective and when you’ve done that. Consider the cost per acquisition.


Can the business afford it?

There are two factors. Firstly the cost per acquisition. If a sale is worth £500 and the cost of the item is £5, that works. Also do consider are there other ways of spending that £5 – perhaps using Twitter cards for a specific advertising message instead?

Cost per acquisition is a key factor and this is often why charities send pens in the post. For every £100 they spend on pens, they generate a regular income of £1,000.

An online give-away is only worth it if you can absorb the cost easily into your business. If, for example, you have a coffee shop that you want people to hear about in your local area, you could easily afford to giveaway a regular cup of coffee, as it’s not going to cost you too much.

Will the online giveaway reach your target customers?

If your target market is 18-24 men, located in London and your giveaway is only shared by their mothers, based in sunny Southampton, you haven’t really managed to increase your awareness. Think about where your customers are online, which social media sites are their favourite, and whether they do share and retweet competitions.

Also, how many people will your giveaway reach? If you think you can boost your followers and that they will genuinely be interested in your product, then a giveaway can be a great way to do this.

And there are people who simply look online for offers and competitions. They are usually good at entering these and for some it’s a full time job! So it is essential to ensure the prize is connected to the business.

Some companies offer a ‘free iPad’ which actually breaks Apple’s terms of service and indicates that you’ve been approved by Apple. Worst still, the person entering doesn’t really care about your business, the simply want a free iPad!


Examples of best practice for competitions and giveaways

Two examples of prizes aimed at the target audience are shown here. Both companies Realbuzz and Dr Oetker have two totally different audiences and have managed to create an appropriate offer, that meets a specific objective. What’s also interesting is that instead of directing viewers to their own website to check out the terms and conditions, they’ve sent them to either Instagram or Facebook. This shows they know their target audience.

Realbuzz is about healthy lifestyles and they’re offering a Fitbit Blaze as a prize and they’ve also included the terms and conditions via the tweet – but in Instagram, rather than on their website.



Dr Oetker is focused on its target market with a basket of goods for bakers, their terms and conditions appear on Facebook. They’re raising awareness of their baking social network, aptly named We Bake  and have cleverly made this a topical giveaway, complete with a seasonal recipe book.



4 more tips on online giveaways

  1. A simple follow and RT on Twitter or like and share on Facebook are the best ways to make sure people engage with your giveaway.
  2. Overly complicated giveaways that involve following multiple accounts might be ignored
  3. Giveaways on Instagram can be difficult, especially if you require the entrants to download a re-post app.
  4. If you want it to be more of a challenge, then a question like ‘when did business x start?’ could be a good way to increase engagement and encourage people to find out more about the business.


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