Sweepstakes or Giveaways? Which Delivers Better Results?

Posted by Sara on 06 Aug 2014 / 0 Comment

Do you know which type of contest will be most effective for your business?

Better yet, do you know about all the contest options that are available to you?

Once you know the different types of contests you can run, it’s easier to decide which type of contest will work best for your business.

In this article we’ll discuss the promotion options available to you using the ShortStack platform.

All of these promotions can be run anywhere online, like your website or blog, on a stand-alone web page, or within Facebook as an app.



Purpose: Collect information

How it works: Ask your audience to enter information into a form in exchange for a chance to win a prize.

Advantages: Sweepstakes are easy to create and run; a great way to learn a little bit more about your audience; good for quick giveaways.

Tips for running a sweepstakes: Ask your entrants to provide you with valuable marketing information about themselves in order for a chance to win. Good information to ask for includes contact info, birthday, gender, location and personal preference questions that relate to your product. At the same time, keep your promotion simple. Run your contest for several days — up to two weeks — to give your audience enough time to enter.

Want to see a sweepstakes contest in action? Click here!

Photo Contest

Purpose: Collect user-generated photos

How it works: Ask your audience to participate in your contest by uploading a photo from their computer, mobile device, or Instagram account.

Advantages: People enjoy uploading photos and it’s easy to do; allows business to collect marketing material from their audience.

Tips for running a photo contest:  Require a hashtag and run your contest through Instagram. Ask for photos that can benefit your business. For example, Yosemite’s Scenic Wonders is a vacation rental destination near Yosemite. They recently ran a promotion where they asked their fans to submit their best Yosemite photos. They received 247 photos that they then owned and were able to use for future marketing materials. Add another level to your promotion by allowing your audience to vote on the photos after the submission period.

Want to see a photo vote contest in action? Click here!

Video Contest

Purpose: Collect user-generated videos

How it works: Ask your audience to submit a video from YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram.

Advantages: Similar to photo contests, video contests can bring in great user based content for marketing purposes. For example, if you’re a food magazine and you ask your entrants to upload a video of their favorite cooking tip, you can learn the cooking level of your audience and tailor your articles to fit their needs.

Tips for running a video submission promotion: Creating a video is one of the most difficult tasks to ask of your audience, so be sure that the video you’re asking for will be of value to your business. The shorter the video request the more likely people are to submit. These are good for Instagram video contests or for short 30-second or less videos.

Essay Contest

Purpose: Collect testimonials; learn more about how your customers use your products/services

How it works: Ask your audience to share success stories about your product.

Advantages: Get detailed information about how people use your product and what they’d like to see you add to your suite of products/services.

Tips for running an essay contest: Ask your audience their opinions about something that matters to your brand. For example, if you’re a clothing company ask your audience their favorite color to wear during winter in order to fine-tune your seasonal orders. Collect an email address so you can grow your lists and ask your audience if you can use their feedback in further marketing materials.

Vote to Enter Contest

Purpose: Engage your audience

How it works: Ask your audience to voice their opinion for a chance to win a reward.

Advantage: Great for crowdsourcing, voting is easy to do and incentivizes people to enter and participate.

Tips for running a vote to enter contest: Run a multi-level voting promotion so your audience is inclined to come back to your contest more than once,  interacting with it throughout the length of the promotion.


Points Per Field

What is it? The Points Per Field feature allows you to reward your audience for providing you with additional information. For example, you may require your audience to provide you with their name and email address for a chance to enter. However, if they choose to give you their age and gender, you can reward them with two additional chances to win.

Why should you use it? Usually, most fields on contest entry forms are mandatory. However, having too many required fields may lead to a higher abandonment rate. With the Points Per Field feature, you can leave it up to the entrant to decide how much information they want to give you. The more fields they fill out, the more points they receive.


What is it? The Refer-a-Friend feature allows you to reward your entrants for sharing your contest with friends who also enter the same promotion.

Why should you use it? By providing entrants with extra chances to win for referring their friends, they’re more likely to invite their friends to enter your contest. Your entrants can share your contest to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. When they share your contest they’re sharing a unique URL so that when someone else clicks on that URL and then enters the contest themselves, the original entrant is rewarded with an additional entry towards winning. The Refer-a-Friend feature is an easy way to organically spread the word about your Campaign, help it go viral, and get more people to participate.

Action Widget

What is it? The Action Widget allows you to configure an “if this happens, then do that” situation on your Campaigns. For example, you can build your Campaign to pop-up a coupon offer after a user enters your contest.

Why should you use it? The Action Widget is a great way to display or hide content after someone has entered or voted in your contest. It gives you the ability to add a surprise factor to your contest, like a free resource or coupon, and by requiring your audience to enter your contest before they can see the content they want, you incentivize participation.

Want to see the Action Widget in action? Click here!


Now that you know what type of contest you’re running and which advanced features to use, what information should you be collecting from your audience? The answer is anything you want! But as we’ve mentioned before, keep it simple!

Here is a list of the form fields available within ShortStack:

Standard fields




Phone Number



Entry Title and Description

Facebook ID

Custom fields

Text: use for open-ended, short answers

Text Area: use for essays or long blocks of text

Check Box: use for asking your audience if they want to receive emails from your business or be added to a rewards program

Drop-down: use for single or multiple choice responses

Radio: use for single choice responses

Date: use to collect a month, date and year (for example, use this field for reservations, birthdays, etc.)

Hidden: use to embed pre-defined values in your form (for example, set a source code to help you track where the form entry came from)

URL: when used with the Voting Widget, this field becomes clickable and opens in a new browser

Video URL: when used with the Voting Widget, this field displays a video thumbnail that plays within the Campaign (accepts submissions from YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram)

Contests are some of the most successful Campaigns currently being run online. However, there is an art to the act of running a contest.

Are you running a contest with ShortStack? Share a link to it within the comments!