Designing the Perfect “Giveaway”| Minimum Marketing

Image Courtesy : My Pen My Friend

Many brands do giveaways. It’s a typical growth hack to create awareness, increase your followers and create engagement. Who doesn’t like free stuff? But more often than not, these giveaways are poorly designed. Businesses tend not to reap all the benefits a giveaway can provide.

This blog dives deep into the problems with traditional giveaways and how you can craft the perfect giveaway. I also showcase the same via a case study:

Traditional giveaways to date:

  • Refer others to get more tickets/to have a better chance to win—results in lowering your probability of winning.
  • Follow accounts on social media.
  • Buy something to get enrolled in the giveaway.
  • Engage on social media — tweet, like, comment, share
  • Signup for the newsletter.
  • Do a bunch of things to keep increasing your probability of winning .

There is no leaderboard. Essentially it’s not the one who has maximum points who wins the giveaway. Instead it’s a lottery. With every task completed, you get more tickets in the lottery, increasing your probability of winning.

Even if she completed all the steps and invited a lot of her friends, she can still loose to a person who didn’t do anything.

Play to win giveaways

Quiz Based Giveaways :

Both these are examples of traditional gamified giveaways.

If you want to craft a successful giveaway, you need to ask yourself one simple question —

Can entrants control their own destiny?

If the answer to that question is yes, then your giveaway design is on the right track. If not, you will be one of many giveaways.

  1. Lack of transparency — How are winners being chosen? Did you really pick your winners at random?
  2. Miniscule odds of winning — What is the probability that I will win? If I am competing for one prize(You are giving away one $1200 iPad) amongst millions, I would have mentally given up any hope of winning already.
  3. Wham, bam, thank you brand —Does your giveaway design follow — “One time engagement with your brand” philosophy? Do I just need to sign up, and I’ll enter the raffle? Is that it? Can you create continuous engagement?
  4. Forced Network Effects — Are people being forced to invite their friends to increase their chance of winning? If you force people to message their friends to also join the give away, then you end up making entrants feel shitty for spamming. This leads to the deterioration of the brand for short term gains.
  5. Increasing the probability of winning by inviting others — Most of the giveaways are designed to give you more tickets for every referral, increasing your odds of winning. If your giveaway has a leaderboard, then this might work. If this is a lottery based giveaway, this should be a big no-no.
  6. High Effort Tasks to win more tickets — This is the evilest of the bunch. You ask people to do some high effort tasks like filling a survey or subscribing to a newsletter to enrol in a cheap giveaway, or worse, just to increase their chances of winning in a lottery-like giveaway. Not cool.
  7. Brand Value Deterioration- If brands/personalities are not careful, a simple giveaway could lead to a loss of brand value. Read what happened with Pepsi.

How did one YouTuber tackle all these problems?

Last year, Unbox Therapy did a giveaway of 100 FREE iPhone12. As a marketer, I was blown away. It came very close to solving all the problems with a traditional giveaway. Take a bow, folks.

To win an iPhone12, you had to — follow LewLater on Twitter and tweet with hashtag #100 FREE iPhone12 during the live stream. Will Du(Unbox Therapy) then picks a tweet at random and DMs them on Twitter. The person then has two minutes to reply to win the iPhone. If they don’t, then they are disqualified.

  1. Having a catchy giveaway100 Free iPhone12. Big enough giveaway. Very catchy. Unbox therapy used its social media and YouTube clout to create hype about the giveaway. They scheduled a live stream with the same title - also that thumbnail ❤.
  2. Relatively high winning probability: Having a giveaway where the number of items to the giveaway is large enough psychologically helps a person ensure that they have a high chance of winning, increasing participation.
  3. Livestream the giveaway — The giveaway happens on the live stream. It increased transparency in the giveaway. Everything from selection, the chance of winning was happening in front of everyone. Doing this entire giveaway on a live stream was a big gamble, which in hindsight paid well.
  4. Using Twitter and the selection mechanism: Using a neutral platform, Twitter to select people during the live stream ensured everyone participating had an equal chance of winning. They made sure they could tackle the bots by making it mandatory to reply within 2 minutes of winning.
  5. Hope of winning until 100th iPhone: The chances of winning the iPhone remained the same until the last iPhone has been given away, thereby making sure people who were not winning were still tuned in until the end and increasing the awareness of the giveaway with every tweet.
  6. Growth Loops: 100iPhones *2 mins/per iPhone giveaway= 200 mins =~3.5-hour live stream. Sustained viewership and continuous engagement of Livestream created an organic traffic loop on YouTube. #1 trending hashtag created an organic referral loop to get more people via Twitter.
  7. No spamming — Entrants were posting on their Twitter feeds and tweeting at Lew, no “inviting friends” nonsense, word spread purely by word of mouth…err…Twitter.

Throughout this giveaway, every entrant controlled her own destiny. She could win only if she tweets, she could only win if she would reply. She need not invite or depend on her friends to increase her chances of winning.

What a beautiful giveaway design! Take a bow!

What was the final impact?

Let’s see the final impact of the giveaway:

Twitter Impact — LewLater Twitter account went from 70,000 followers to 500,000+ followers in 2 hours. Even after 36 hours of the giveaway, the follower count ended up at 370,000 followers. This giveaway added approximately 300,000 followers to their Twitter account.

The hashtag was trending #1 worldwide for nearly two hours.

Impact on YouTube- YouTube live stream averaged 120,000 subscribers for nearly three hours.

Data from Socialblade

They got 8000 comments, the stream and video have been watched over 3 million times.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the subscriber growth count for their YouTube channels during this period. If anyone has the numbers or can find them for me, please let me know on Twitter.

(YouTube live stream average is my estimate, based on my observation. Actual data may differ)

iPhone Cost: 100*$1129 = $112,900

Cases: 100*$50= $5000

Charger 100*$50=$5000

Total Cost: $122,900

This was a masterclass in live streaming and crafting a giveaway. Follow me on Twitter to read more such exciting marketing case studies and hacks.

I talk about marketing at Minimum Marketing.