The Effectiveness of Giveaways in Marketing

Giveaway marketing is one of many tactics for promoting your brand. Social media makes it easier than ever to ask for engagement in exchange for a chance to win a tempting prize. But is it really an effective marketing strategy? What are some of the pros and cons of hosting the occasional giveaway?

The Purpose of Giveaway Marketing

Ideally, offering a giveaway to existing and new customers is an attempt to not only generate more awareness of your brand but to hopefully convert engagement and leads into future sales. Let’s take a look at some of the other purposes of giveaway marketing.

Generate Leads

There’s a reason brands ask giveaway entrants to share their posts as part of the qualifications for entry. Every online share increases the brand’s reach and can generate more leads. Other call-to-actions in a giveaway might include:

  • Signing up for the brand’s newsletter

  • Following the brand’s social media accounts

  • Filing out a survey regarding products or services offered by the brand

The CTA is enticing to the lead because, in exchange, they’re being entered for a chance to win. 

Promote a Product Launch

If you have a new product launching soon, an excellent way to get customers excited about it is to offer a giveaway. Whether it’s for the new product itself or something else, launching a giveaway prior to the release helps spread the word. In a recent blog article posted by Utah-based marketing company Gravitate One, product release content is listed as one of the best topics for generating traffic on a blog. Piggyback on an upcoming release’s engagement by incorporating it into a giveaway if you can.

Increase Online Engagement

Have you ever scrolled upon a giveaway post and noticed there are some engagement requirements for entry? It might be leaving a comment on the post, sharing it with a hashtag, or even just sliding an interactive graphic in an Instagram story.

The reason brands require engagement for entry is because it helps boost their exposure on the platform. Shares, saves, likes, comments… it all adds up to positive engagement that caters to the algorithm.

Sometimes a giveaway will ask that you scroll the brand’s website, pick a favorite product, and then return to the giveaway post to leave it in a comment. These call-to-actions may vary depending on the marketing strategy the brand is utilizing at the time. Another reason the entry requirements vary is that brands are trying to cater to both existing and new customers. Asking for follows can be redundant, so sometimes another form of engagement is requested.  

Tips for Hosting a Giveaway

You can manually tabulate giveaway entries, or you can use a third-party program to manage the giveaway for you. However you host it, be sure to follow these tips for organization.

Set a Timeline

Have you ever entered a giveaway that ran for so long, that you completely forgot about it? Some brands may hope that the longer a giveaway is open, the more engagement and entries they’ll receive. This isn’t always the case, so it’s best to leave a social media giveaway open for no longer than one week. 

Analyze your website and social media traffic to find out when you get the most interactions, and plan for your giveaway to go live around that time. Optimizing when you post it, as well as how long it’s open, can make a difference in how many people see it. 

Give Updates

You can keep your giveaway top-of-mind by offering updates to your entrants. Let them know there are only 24 hours left to enter; let them know how you’ll be announcing the winner (via a live, a direct message, email, etc…); let them know when the giveaway has closed. Updates can create a sense of urgency, and remind people to tune in to hear who won.

Set Specific Goals

What do you hope to achieve as a result of the giveaway? Do you want to generate more leads? Increase website traffic? Gain more social media followers? Be specific, as your goal will help you determine what steps entrants need to follow in order to qualify.

Pick Your Prize Carefully

No one wants your old backstock as a prize, so be sure you pick something that’s enticing for your audience. It doesn’t have to be the latest product, but it should be something that speaks to your demographic. 

Some brands don’t even give away their own product; instead, they may offer a vacation, event tickets, or a gift card as a prize. This may seem out of your marketing budget, but it’s why brands often collaborate and pool their resources to sweeten the deal.

According to, a travel prize is the most popular, followed closely by entertainment- and music-related prizes. If your brand is not in these types of industries, that’s okay. You can approach one that is! See if a popular venue, like Las Vegas’ Virgin hotel, is willing to comp tickets to an upcoming event. If not, maybe your marketing budget will go toward purchasing tickets yourself to then giveaway. 

Offer a Consolation Prize

Some brands offer a small discount after a giveaway winner has been chosen. It serves as a consolation prize to those who didn’t win, converting them to customers.

Pick a Partner

Speaking of partners, is it a good idea to host a giveaway with another brand? As long as the other brand is within your niche, it is! Make sure that if your followers are required to also follow this partner brand, it makes sense. If your brand is all about kitchen products, it’s probably best to partner with a brand in a similar field, like a food blogger. Otherwise, your followers may not be enticed to enter, because they have no interest in the brand you’ve partnered with.

If you’re an outdoorsy brand, can you partner with a vacation rental company like Ski Colorado to offer a prize to your followers? Even if it’s not a free stay on the slopes, you might at least score discounted packages or freebies such as rentals. To help you pick partners for giveaways, be sure part of your marketing strategy includes a media kit you can pitch to brands.

State the Rules

To avoid any legal issues or misunderstandings, state clear rules for your giveaway in the post. Define the following for potential entrants:

  • Giveaway start and end date/time

  • What the prize is

  • How to enter

  • Who the giveaway is open to (ages, location, etc…)

  • Who is partnering with the giveaway

  • Who is sponsoring the giveaway

  • How the winner will be chosen

  • How the winner will be notified

  • What happens if the winner does not respond

  • Whether or not any purchase is required for entry

Analyze the Stats

Data gathered on Instagram giveaway posts in 2021 showed that there was a 34% average increase of followers thanks to giveaway marketing. A giveaway post on Instagram is reported to get 2.5 times more likes and 64 times more comments than a regular post in the feed.

After hosting a giveaway, be sure to analyze your statistics. You need to know how successful your call-to-action was, what pages on your website entrants visited, how the giveaway content was shared, etc… This will help you fine-tune your giveaway marketing strategy so the next one can be even more successful.

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