Our business develops white label contest applications for sports teams and online sports communities, so we talk to a lot to people who are frustrated by their results with running online contests for fans. There are a few common reasons why online contests don’t work.
Here’s a brief education on the types of online contest management methods and their pitfalls.
The email method: When an organization asks fans to “submit all photos to email@example.com by Some Date, 2010”, here’s what fans think is going to happen:
- Nobody is going to look at my photo.
- They might not receive my photo.
- If they get my photo they might lose it.
- It’s probably not going to be fair. They are just going to choose a photo submitted by a friend.
- Numbers are relative to the voter. When looking at a person, place or thing and asked to rank it on a 10 point scale, a 6 to you is often not a 6 to the person next to you. As such, on a large scale, number ranked contests eventually always center around a mean, where the majority of all submissions end up close to the average. We learned this after talking to threadless.com when developing our contest application for collarfree.com, our crowdsourced t-shirt line.
- When the winner is determined by the # of votes for a submission, the campaign has built-in bias towards early submissions. Submissions entered early have an unfair advantage because the duration of their time in the contest is longer than later submissions.
- There is bias in promoting. Not always a bad thing, as people should be rewarded for their effort, but when winners are determined strictly by the number of positive votes, people with resources (time, lots of followers, etc.) have an unfair advantage in skewing the voting pool when the contest’s submissions can be linked to directly and a non-relative vote can be cast for said submission. Here’s a link to my image, simply take a second to click on the thumbs up and leave.
- What are your fan’s key interests? Pets, babies, winning moments, hobbies, girls (Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, let’s be honest)…
- If you are running a fan submitted photo contest, what type of photos do your fans have quick and easy access to?
- If you’ve run contests before, what type of submissions did you receive? Did you learn anything from your audience? We run contests for a consumer food products brand called Tapatio Hot Sauce. We noticed that for the first 2 months we kept getting submissions from military folks in places like Kosovo and Kuwait – Tapatio sitting on a tank, or on the table in a barracks. How would we know that Tapatio was such a hit in the military, maybe military food needs a little extra kick? Anyway, we switched things up in December and are running a “Best Military Family Photo contest” – a great goodwill piece for a loyal fan base.
- Create prize packages that your customers want. Think of something they want, and may never buy for themselves.
- Justify the effort involved with a equivalent prize package. If it’s a photo contest, submitting is easy, offer something small. If it’s a video/audio/design contest, fans have to spend time on creating it, editing it, uploading it. Make the prize justify the time it takes to participate.
- Target prizes that have a high value to cost ratio. If you are a football team, give away a used game football and call it a “Commemorative Game Used Football”. No cost to you, huge value to the fans.
What makes Artistic Hub’s contest software work for the fans:
- It’s interactive. This is not a sweepstakes. We can capture email too, but we can also keep your fans there, and keep them coming back.
- It’s addictive and simple. Here’s happy face and sad face, which do you like? Here’s panda and chimpanzee, which do you like? How fast can you click? How long is your break between meetings? We’ve helped take Active.com’s eteamz property site time to over 8 minutes with interactive photo contests. A substantial increase for them. The reason: we make decisions simple with an “A vs. B” method, and super fast loading between votes. No time wasted in scrolling down the page, or clicking from page to page, then clicking that little “…more” button, only to lose the page you were on before.
- It’s Fair! Submissions are displayed at random, from a database of all submissions that fans submit, and the client approves.
- It’s transparent. Fans vote and can see the rankings change. We include auto e-mails and a search bar so participants can be easily notified when their submission goes into voting, and can go search for it when they return.
- It’s easy to promote/share. Our Direct links and the ShareThis feature allow fans to promote the contests their friends and family, and get voting support for the contest.
Our Results. Here are the first week’s results of our newest client, The Oakland Raiders
# of fan photo submissions: 649
# of individual fan votes: 420,621
Check out the campaign at http://raiders.artistichub.com/