I recently asked my readers to complete and share a pair of surveys about blog giveaways – one for entrants, and one for bloggers. I received 111 responses from entrants, plus 41 from bloggers.
The results were fascinating and today I’m sharing insights in the hope that bloggers, compers and PRs can work together to make blog giveaways a more professional and enjoyable experience.
- All of my survey respondents use giveaway widgets for their prize draws. 82% of bloggers who took the survey prefer Rafflecopter, yet only 26% of the entrants prefer Rafflecopter, with 50% favouring Gleam and the rest preferring to enter via comment or email.
- 75% of respondents set less than 6 tasks in their giveaway widget, and 80% of entrants who responded said they won’t complete more than 6 tasks. One entrant commented that she once counted ’32 entry methods’ in a Rafflecopter widget!
- You may be surprised to hear that NONE of the 41 bloggers surveyed charge a fee to host a giveaway, despite the work that goes in to setting it up, promoting it, selecting winners and organising prize despatch (and often, following up problems with delivery) – although 45% of respondents do ask for an additional prize for themselves.
- Bloggers told me they run giveaways to ‘increase readership’, ‘give something back to the readers’, team up with companies they ‘really like and approve of’, or simply because they love ‘the excitement’ and ‘making someone’s day’.
- What bloggers don’t like is ‘having to trust the PR to send out the prize’, ‘chasing after PRs’, and that they are ‘time consuming to set up and promote’.
- Several bloggers commented that they have stopped asking for mandatory entries on Rafflecopter/Gleam giveaways, as it’s easier to ‘keep them all optional’, or ‘weight the ones I want them to do with more entries’.
- Of the respondents, only half of them knew that it’s the blogger who is the main promoter and is ultimately responsible for ensuring the winner gets their prize. This is what worries many bloggers about hosting a giveaway – ‘the knowledge that if something goes wrong I need to cover the prize costs myself.‘
- Entrants are suspicious about the fairness of random draws. Even though Rafflecopter and Gleam are publicised as a fair way to choose a winner, it is still possible to manually pick a winner for a giveaway. One respondent commented they ‘would love to see short video clip footage of them doing the randomised draws to prove fairness and transparency’ – I love this suggestion, and will be streaming my next draw live on the new Periscope app to see how that goes.
- Entrants suggested that some bloggers need to ‘learn how to create a live link’ in the giveaway widget. This is easy to do, looks professional and makes entry much quicker.
- Several respondents said that even after chasing two or three times, the prizes never arrived and they ‘eventually gave up’.
- Entrants love that blog giveaways are ‘low entry and great for small gifts’, they love the ‘personal touch’ of a review post, the ‘amazing advice’, and hearing about ‘fab new products’.
- On the other hand, the entrants worry that bloggers may ‘discriminate against compers’, and give ‘far too many hoops to jump through’ – why do entrants need to ‘follow their mother’s cousin’s dog’s parody account on Bloglovin”?!
- Several entrants pointed out that they dislike leaving a comment as a mandatory entry: ‘comments should be voluntary and relevant’
- Entrants felt frustrated with bloggers who ‘never display the winner on the widget’, which makes the entrant ‘doubt the honesty of the giveaway and the blog’.
Some problems & solutions
- Bloggers dislike the hassle of validating and checking winning entries, and entrants dislike the endless tasks. Bloggers should set less tasks to do so there’s less room for error – and avoid the daily tweet option, which is fiddly for entrants and spammy. If running regular giveaways, split the tasks across them – in many cases, the same people are entering so why ask them to follow on Instagram every time?
- Entrants are frustrated that Rafflecopter entries can’t be amended – and bloggers are frustrated that entries are incorrect. Switching to a Gleam widget with validation at point of entry means less manual input from the entrant and less admin for the blogger.
- The blogger’s entry instructions aren’t clear enough, so the entrants make mistakes. Entry instructions should be super simple! And please, state if the tasks are mandatory or optional.
- Prizes don’t arrive within 28 days. Bloggers should agree up front with the sponsor/PR what is expected of them – posting the prize to the winner via a tracked method of delivery within 28 days.
- No T&Cs. Every UK prize promotion MUST have Terms & Conditions – bloggers should put together a master set which are easy to understand and can be adapted for each giveaway.
- T&Cs excluding ‘professional compers’ or ‘competition accounts’. These terms can’t be defined, and it doesn’t make for a fair draw. It’s not right to tar all compers with the same brush (and compers shouldn’t tar all bloggers with the same brush either!) – most compers are consumers and readers too, and can be hugely beneficial for spreading the word about a blog. If a blogger is desperate to keep compers away from their giveaways, they should come up with more imaginative prize promotions where the entry task is targeted at the blog’s niche market – for example, uploading a nail photo or reviewing a beauty product. Of course, compers will still enter – but it will be compers who enjoy your blog and appreciate what you’re writing about. If a blogger wants to assure compers that all entries will be treated fairly, Sarah at Life in a Breakdown has created this ‘Comper Friendly’ badge to display on their blog.
- Bloggers aren’t usually despatching the prizes themselves, so they have no idea if they have been received. Winners should contact the blogger to let them know the prize has arrived safely and thank them – many respondents commented how disappointing it was not to hear from their winners again.
Hopefully there are a few ideas here that can be taken on board, and there are plenty more in my new book ‘Blog Giveaways: how to run successful competitions, contests and prize draws on your blog’. You can also join my promoters/bloggers mailing list here, for up to date news on running prize promotions!