Contests and giveaways are extremely important tools that can drive impact to your business. We’ve all seen how contests can get millions of likes to brands or giveaways can turn an unknown company into well-known in a matter of days. Before we dive in, however, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.


Contests require skill to win, and there’s no element of chance. There are many different types of contests, but some examples are:

  1. Best photograph of your company’s product
  2. Best essay about your organization’s impact
  3. Best hashtag describing your company’s newest product


With giveaways, winners must satisfy certain criteria. There isn’t any skill, random selection, or element of chance involved. Some examples include:

  1. Every 100th person to like your post
  2. Sign up before time runs out
  3. Share our post the most times

With an understanding of the difference between contests and giveaways, let’s determine which one is right for your brand. Both create a different impact on your brand and your goals. Whether you’re looking to increase traffic, sales, awareness, or even partnerships; we’re going to explore the significance of contests and giveaways to help you create the best results.

Significance of Contests

Similarly, contests and giveaways influence two primary segments that impact your brand: your audience and your business.

Impact on Audience

  • Expansion
    • Contests expand your audience. They expose your brand to more people, help build community, awareness, and subscribers.
  • Engagement
    • Contests help drive engagement. As more people comment, like, and share your posts; you’ll create greater engagement.

Impact on Your Business

  • Data
    • As you expand your audience and engagement, you gain access to a wealth of data to understand who your audience is, what content to create, and products to promote.
  • Scaling marketing efforts
    • Contests help turn your audience into your marketing channel, lowering the cost it takes to acquire new followers and customers. They become your most powerful channel.

Significance of Giveaways

Impact on Audience

  • Expansion
    • Like contests, giveaways also help expand your audience, achieving more exposure to your brand. They help your small business SEO to place your brand in front of more eyes.
  • Ease of Conversion
    • If you give away sample products or content, you enable customers to test drive the experience. This helps ease conversions by convincing people to come back and try your product, watch your content, and more.

Impact on Your Business

  • Brand Recognition
    • If your giveaways carry your brand’s logo and name, you will build brand recognition without spending large amounts of money on outbound marketing efforts.
  • Long-term Relationships
    • If you already have followers or customers, giveaways help retain interest and loyalty. Giving away products, content, or promotional material drives stronger bonds between your audience and your brand.

It’s clear to see that contests and giveaways can have a tremendously positive impact on your brand. However, no guide would be complete without understanding how to create a contest or giveaway that creates value.

If you are looking to create your own contest or giveaway, let us know. We’re here to help and love interacting with brands looking to grow! Contact us here for our digital marketing services.

Let’s say you’ve decided to create a contest or giveaway. Here are the steps that you should take to ensure that it’s valuable for your brand.

  1. Determine your goals
    1. What do you want? Likes, followers, shares, email addresses, unique site visitors, etc. Establishing this from the outset helps optimize your contest or giveaway for its intended results.
  2. Identify your channels
    1. If you receive most of your traffic from Instagram, it may not make much sense to advertise on Google AdWords. Identifying the channels that you will use to promote your contest or giveaway helps manage costs and time.
  3. Establish the parameters
    1. What are the prizes? How long will you run the contest or giveaway? What content do you need to support promotion? Are there any additional guidelines for winners? Establish the parameters of your contest or giveaway early to give people a sense of the structure and to manage expectations.
  4. Ensure legal compliance
    1. Promotion laws and guidelines are highly regulated by both federal and state law and are ever-changing. We’ll jump into this later on, however, it’s important to ensure your contest or giveaway falls within legal guidelines.
  5. Finalize logistics
    1. Once you have established the appropriate parameters and your contest or giveaway falls within the appropriate legal guidelines, be sure to dot your i’s and cross your logistical t’s. Identify what technology you will use such as Hootsuite to track engagement, MailChimp to distribute your emails or Submittable for managing your contest entries.
  6. Begin promoting
    1. You’ve got your parameters, you’re in line with legal guidelines, and you’re marketing channels are ready to go. Now it’s time to begin promoting your contest or giveaway through social media marketing or any relevant channel, so get after it!
  7. End the contest or giveaway
    1. Once the timeline or parameters are reached, it’s time to end the contest. Select your winner and then notify them of the amazing prize(s) they’re about to receive. Be sure to promote them afterwards to encourage some post-contest excitement!

Earlier, we mentioned the highly regulated promotion laws that affect contests and giveaways. We’d like to note that you should work with an attorney to minimize your time commitment and ensure you’re within compliance.

While we cannot give legal advice, before you continue reading you should be aware that the information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

With that being said, here are some basic rules that you should be aware of:

  1. Avoid having your promotion be categorized as a lottery. A promotion is considered a lottery if the following three elements are present:
    1. Prize – anything of value is awarded in the promotion;
    2. Chance – random selection of winners; and
    3. Consideration – any value given by entrant to enter the promotion; “value” can be monetary (making a purchase) or non-monetary (attending a sales presentation, supplying personal information, filling out a form) with the definition of “consideration” varying by state.

We hope this information helps you understand the significance of contests and giveaways and run one of the best ones the internet has seen yet. If you’re looking to create your own awesome contest or giveaway, you can reach out to us here for a free consultation of our digital marketing services.