10 FREE ways to choose a random winner
If you host prize draws on your website or social media then you need to have a demonstrably fair way of selecting your random winner(s). It’s not OK to choose a winner by scrolling through Instagram comments and stopping on a name you like, and it’s not OK to choose a Facebook comment at random because it makes you laugh.
A random prize draw (or sweepstakes) winner should be chosen fairly from all valid entries – and there are plenty of free tools that can help!
In the UK, all prize promotions should follow the CAP Code, which states:
8.24: Promoters of prize draws must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person.
If challenged, a promoter must be able to show that a winner was chosen at random. It’s sufficient to provide screenshots, spreadsheets or videos of a computer process that chooses at random – and here I’ve shared ten FREE tools that can choose a random winner.
If you’re struggling to track entries and choose a random winner for Instagram giveaways, you will find my post 10 tips for running Instagram giveaways helpful.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has recently ruled against three brands who breached the CAP Code by running unfair prize draws on Instagram, so make sure you dont make the same mistakes they did!
Random.org is the best way to choose your winner if you have access to a numbered list – for example, a spreadsheet of email addresses. On the website, enter the maximum number (eg. if you have 125 entrants, it’s 125) and click to generate a random number between 1 and 125. Then go back to your list/spreadsheet – that number line on your spreadsheet is the winner. You can also use their List Randomizer by pasting in a list of names – use this function, and your list will be shown in random order. Then simply choose the the top name/email address/entry as the winner.
2. Wheel of Names
The Wheel of Names is fun if you want to record or broadcast your random prize draw live. Simply type in your list of names then spin the wheel!
3. Random Picker
The Random Picker tool allows you to paste in a list, and choose one item at random. You can also upload a text file to the tool.
4. Comment Picker
Comment Picker offers lots of free options to choose your winner from Facebook, Instagram or YouTube comments – you can even choose a random winner for a simultaneous Facebook and Insta prize draw. To choose Instagram winners, you’ll need to have a Facebook page linked to an Instagram Creator or Business account. You’ll also be able to add extra entries manually to your prize draw – for example, a list of entrants who completed a bonus Instagram story share. You will need to log in and allow Comment Picker access to your account in order to make your random draw.
Tweetdraw will give you a random winner for a Twitter retweet promotion that has 3000 or less RTs. Authorise access to your Twitter account by logging in, then enter the tweet URL to select a random retweet (you can only link to one tweet using this method). Unfortunately Tweetdraw no longer offers the option to choose a random winner from a hashtag, you would have to use a paid tool like Woobox for this.
(see my guide on how to run a Twitter giveaway)
5. Pick A Winner
If you’re hosting a simple Instagram comment giveaway with less than 100 comments (or a YouTube giveaway with up to 2000), you can choose a random winner without logging in using Pick A Winner (for any more than 100 comments, you will need the paid version). Paste in your link to the post, and choose filters. By default only one comment per user will be entered into the draw – if your giveaway allowed one entry per comment, select Allow Duplicates.
If you have more than 150 comments on your Instagram post, or would like to download an Excel file of all entries, GetComBot is your best bet – although you will need to wait a while for the results. Enter your email address and a link to the Instagram post – a new browser window will open, and after a while you’ll see a list of all the comments. Select options to specify if the winner had to tag 0, 1, 2 or 3 friends. Each comment will be a separate entry in the draw – if it’s only one comment allowed per entrant, select ‘Unique by user’ at the top. When you’re ready, click Get winner!
(see my guide on how to run an Instagram giveaway)
7. Pick Giveaway Winner
Perfect for bloggers who run comment-to-win giveaways, install this WordPress plug in, and access it via your Tools menu. Select a blog post, and it will choose a random comment and show you their name and email address. You can even tell it to discard multiple entries from the same person.
If you’re hosting a simple prize draw on your blog or website, Gleam is a flexible and clever embeddable widget that will effortlessly choose a random winner for you – simply click the ‘Draw winners…’ button when your giveaway ends.
www.gleam.io (my affiliate link)
Like Gleam, Rafflecopter offers a easy flexible way to host a prize draw with a random winner. Simply click the Entries tab to select your winner when the giveaway ends.
Hopefully these tools will help you choose your random winner fairly!
When you’ve chosen your winner, read my blog post How to contact winners for the most reliable ways to contact them (and successfully get a reply!)
If you’d like more guidance on running a fair and successful prize promotion, check my posts:
- Essential terms and conditions for a competition
- Where to promote a competition
- 13 mistakes promoters make when running competitions
You can also join my mailing list for promoters and bloggers by clicking here.
This post contains affiliate links