Choosing a winner for a RT giveaway

62 Responses

  1. Rm says:

    I found a really nice way to do it, you select the winner number from 0 to the number of your followers, then you go to twinotomy where you can see all your followers numbered from 0 to the actual number, so you only need to encounter the one that you picked and then check if it did all the requirements

  2. Rachel Griffiths says:

    Very interesting comment re Matt Richards, who now seems to have changed his Twitter handle to @MattRichards87. Despite not being a celebrity or a prolific blogger (his first blog post written by someone else is 10 days old) he has more than 98K followers. Last year he tweeted about a long haul flight he was about to board and then his account was RTing comps for the next few hours. He frequently RTs comps which have already been won (he did this with a comp I won) and doesn’t seem to know which comps he’s entered when promoters publicly contact him. He’s very clearly buying followers and using an automatic RT bot in order to win and it makes me so cross that he’s winning so many prizes when the rest of us play fairly.

    • Laura Avery says:

      Most of the followers are fake . he recently won a holiday to the philipines (I think it was) NOt to mention all his fake accounts he had , and bullying one other lady .

  3. radioDEactive says:

    An alternative way: use a random time and date generator.

    Set it to generate a date and time between launch of your competition and end of your competition.

    Log in to your account at the random date & time generated and the person who retweets closest to that date and time is the winner. You could argue this isn’t fair on folks who enter competitions close to the closing date, at the same time, there’s as much chance of the end date coming up as ‘the random date and time’ as any other date.

    • Interesting approach! This is actually how some ‘instant win’ promotions work – one prize every day, the person who enters at or after the ‘winning moment’ each day gets the prize. I might run it by CAP to see if they think it’s fair!

  4. radioDEactive says:

    For the geeks, I figured out a way to do this programmatically. You’d use GET statuses/retweeters/ids but the Twitter API can only fetch the last 100 people who retweeted a competition. However, if you run that ‘fetch’ every 15 minutes as a cron job, then deduplicate the list, you’ll only miss people if you get more than 100 RTs in a 15 minute timeframe.

  5. Lauren says:

    I’ve been using Retweetrank: for twitter giveaways – it helps me to easily pick a winner by exporting all (I have exported till about ~10,000) retweets of a tweet to excel. I have also exported tweets for a hashtag using retweet rank. I first signed up for a free trial and now I’m paying just $9 per month and its working very well for me.

  6. Heather May Cain says:

    thank you so much for all this info Di – its so interesting to know that my tweets might not be being shown and to know that i should do some ordinary tweets in-between too – good luck all

  7. mummyslittlemonkey says:

    Hi Di, badly run Twitter giveaways drive me nuts! In fact, even as I type one just flashed up with the hashtag #win. How on earth are they going to distinguish that from all the other millions of people using the same hashtag?!

    When I run Twitter giveaways I use a paid professional hashtag service that I subscribe to. I decide on a unique hashtag (NOT a generic one that could possibly be used by another company, like #coffeebreak) and then I double check by doing a Twitter search to see if it turns up any other usage by any other company or brand.

    If it truly is unique I set up my service to start tracking it. I send out my Tweet, including the hashtag and a clear description of the prize and closing date (i.e.: 1 x copy of The Hungry Caterpillar, e:23.59 31/10/14). Once the end date has past I use hashtracking to compile the results and supply a list of all the contributors.

    I take the total number of contributors, and use to select one winner within that number range. I then manually count down to that exact number and (regardless of who it lands on or how many followers they have) that is my winner!!
    Unfortunately I very rarely see Twitter giveaways with that level (or any!) forethought and consideration for legalities and fairness. Good on you for highlighting this!! xx

    • Thanks for this, a great thorough explanation! With Hashtracking, do they guarantee all hashtag occurrences are picked up – or are they reliant on Twitter’s API? Do hashtracking provide a file that could be imported into a spreadsheet (Google or Excel) – I was just thinking that could save you the job of manually counting, if you could import your list into a spreadsheet which would number each line? I might do a free trial with Hashtracking to test it myself!

  8. Le Coin de Mel says:

    That sounds so unfair, I am not sure I will go ahead with a RT competition, but as it is all for charity, I might do anyway. Will give it a bit of thought. x

    • You could always ask for a reply in addition to a Retweet Mel, then you could favorite each entry to acknowledge receipt. It’s hard to choose a winner fairly though – particularly if you get 100+ responses! A lot of admin :/

  9. Helen Neale says:

    Hi there my dear. Very interesting article, and well research – no surprises there of course! I run RT comps for a client, and will do for myself soon. We use a third party App to do it – Offerpop. This is quite an expensive piece of software that connects directly to Twitter through their API. It tracks all of the RTs real-time from each Twitter account that participates, discounting those that have RTed more than once (if this is part of the T&Cs). You can then download all the details into a spreadsheet and use to choose a winner. This seems pretty fair to me, and the software is very thorough. The methods that you explain above may be how other organisations do it though, and I agree that these need rethinking. In your conclusion you state that people should do what we do, and it does sadden me that you think promoters aren’t *Sad face* We want to be fair to participants so use realtime software, we agree so have invested money to make things work better for RT promotions. Thanks for another great article. xx

    • Ooh! I didn’t realise Offerpop had a Twitter app too, as I don’t enter many Twitter RTs I suppose I’ve not come across it! I’ll look into it, I bet it does a thorough job (although as you say – it’s rather an expensive commitment for smaller companies).

  10. Jane Willis says:

    What I find interesting is that it’s almost two years since I ran my similar experiment and things don’t appear to have improved at all in that time! I find that most of my wins on Twitter come from comps where a reply is needed, even if that reply isn’t a creative one, simply the answer to a question. I had been thinking that was because even the effort of replying rather than retweeting was too much for some people and kept the entry numbers down, but now I can see there is also an element of a reply being more visible and easier to track than a retweet. At last once I week I tell myself I’m not going to enter any more retweet comps, but it’s just SO easy and tempting. I suppose, though, it’s not a huge amount of effort to expend for a slight chance of a win!

  11. Lyla says:

    Thanks for the info – it is all very interesting. I have never won anything on twitter and it seems likely that this is because I either entered too early or because I only ever used the site for comping.

  12. Ali Thorpe says:

    I wonder if it makes a difference when companies ask you to RT and also favourite a tweet. Does ‘favouriting’ in conjunction with RTing help the promoter keep track of entries better? All quite confusing …

  13. Jackie Allum says:

    I use Twitterdraw. I find it chooses a lot more randomly than some of the others who I swear pick people with lots of followers. Until something better comes along though, I’m stuck with it.

  14. Kat says:

    Wow, extremely useful post! Thanks for sharing that. I had no idea. Will make me think twice about those from now. I might even win stuff 😉

  15. Ellie Jones says:

    Thanks for the info Di, I only ever opened and used a twitter account when i started comping. Think I’ll be giving those comps a miss, because I never do really post much on social network sites. If i do again, I might have to rethink my profile, but I never know what to put, because I don’t like the fact you don’t know who’s watching

  16. I have been using TwitterDraw. I obviously need to rethink my strategy …

  17. Diane Wood says:

    Well I just used your twitter search advice as I hardly win anything on twitter and discovered some Facebook wins that no amount of googling picked up!

  18. Ness says:

    Great article Di, I will admit I won a prize a couple of weeks ago from a RT comp which I couldn’t remember entering (it was for a PS3 game & I’ve not got a console & also the game was all guns etc, not my thing!) I went through their timeline and found they had posted 4 tweets over 4 days for the said comp & I hadn’t RT’d any of them & no idea why my name showed up. I had RT’d a previous comp of theirs which I didn’t win, but deffo didn’t enter the 1 I won!
    I was planning on doing a RT comp soon, but now not going to bother! Thanks.

  19. Alexandra Blue says:

    Interesting and informative reading, thanks Di… I have a twitter account as part of my work and am toying with the idea of running a F&RT based comp there later in the year… I was interested to read your findings, but I wanted to ask how come you don’t refer to email notifications? I seem to get an email every time anyone comments, favourites, retweets, follows etc. Are these unreliable, do they not actually include everything that is going on? I wondered why this couldn’t be used to track entries?

    • Ness says:

      A good point but personally I would hate to get that many emails coming through Alexandra, unless I guess you had put in a diff email address on your twitter account so they all just went to that & not my regular email account.

    • I turned email notifications off some time ago because I get such a lot of retweets! I just make sure to check my Twitter app regularly. Apparently you don’t get a notification of every retweet either, so again it’s unreliable. You have to think of the sheer amount of retweets/entries too – even for a low value prize it’s usually 1000+!

  20. nicola stott says:

    Ahhhhhh this is a good read. Thanks Di

  21. jayne underwood says:

    definitely an “eye-opener”, thanks Di!

  22. Toni Quandt says:

    With regards to the section on checking if twitter is filtering you out
    of searches, I don’t know if you are aware but twitter search does not
    show official twitter retweets (OTRTs) which are retweets that are
    performed by clicking the retweet button and so in the example that you
    have given none of the 1092 retweets would be displayed! only quotes
    (old school retweets which copy the original tweet text and prefix it
    with RT) would be returned by the search, the reason for this is that a
    retweet is not a tweet in its own right, it is simply an additional
    entity attached the original tweet (in much the same way as a
    My understanding is that any promoter worth there salt
    who is offering social media promotion of this type will be using
    software that interacts with the twitter API (application programming
    interface) to return the list of users that have retweeted, larger
    promoters who specialise in social media campaigns will have their own
    bespoke software for this purpose, if you know you way around any
    popular programming language it is only a matter of about 30 or 40 lines
    of code to retrieve this sort of information.
    If you have any questions on what I have said please feel free to ask:)


    Paul (Sent from Partners account)

    • Thanks for the reply Paul! Regarding the search, I know that OTRTs aren’t picked up on a search (that would be a nightmare if they were!). I didn’t use Twitter search to track the entries for my comp – I was just using it to search for tweets from the ‘missing’ accounts – these users missing from search results had many manual retweets too, not just OTRTs, yet none of these showed up.

      Twitter API is unreliable, Twitter itself admits that – so promoters using it won’t pick up every entry if they are tracking them after the closing date as I did. Tweetreach uses Twitter API for their report and as you see here, it didn’t pick up every entry. Do you know if large promoters are using software for real-time tracking of RTs? The problem is – how can they prove that this software is tracking every single entry?

      • Toni Quandt says:

        Real time tracking using the streaming API (phirehose) is still quite new and problematic, and as with all things twitter is also highly restricted and as such it is unlikely that many or even any large promoters would yet be using this method for the purpose of a competion, In a commercial context I have only heard of phirehose being proposed for use once and that was for a large scale customer service application. To the best of my knowledge the most common method of commercial engagement with twitter is still based around periodic interaction whereby a service is set up to collect data intermitantly thoughout the campaign / competition, as you may be aware interaction with twitter is metered around 15 minute intervals such that interaction based around a user is limited to 15 get calls in a 15 minute period or 60 for an application, the standard GET statuses/retweets call will return the most recent 100 retweets, so in extreme cases this could potentialy be run once a minute and therefore provide near real time monitoring providing the entry rate is below 100 entries per minute, it is highly unlikely that any service is running at this sort of frequency, in most cases a GET statuses/retweets every 10 minutes would suffice with perhaps an hourly call to to GET statuses/retweeters which allows you to page through all available retweets to pick up anything that may have been missed, The more advanced systems will adjust the frequency of collection based upon known busy times, in extreme cases even reacting automaticaly to the vollume of new retweets received in the most recent call. In addition to the GET statuses/retweets (and GET statuses/retweeters) further calls are also made to the GET statuses / mentions_timeline which would track any mentions (Quoted retweets) and also GET followers/list (for RT & Follow type competitions).

        The Twitter API is not generally unrelaible, just about every application or website out there that interacts with twitter uses the Twitter REST API to some extent, it is problematic however in getting old information, due to the scale of twitter data that exists this will allways be problematic and that is why commercial applications monitor periodically and why the likes of Tweetreach are only of limited use.

        So thats how a twitter engagement system works for a promoter who is geared up for social media, but as we know there are a lot of competitions that are just run by individuals: bloggers, artists, authors etc. who obviously would not have these facilities at their disposal, are they aware of every entry when they decide the winner? I doubt it.

        • Thanks for the excellent information – I didn’t know much at all about the GET calls so it’s fascinating. As you say though, so many competitions are hosted by small businesses/people who probably don’t have access to a service that tracks live tweets – and don’t realise there’s an issue with searching past tweets! Some say they actually write down every RT as the notifications come in, but with 100+ entries that must be very time consuming. Compared to a prize draw that collects data via a web entry form, Rafflecopter widget or Facebook app, a Twitter promotion is just not reliable as a way to guarantee EVERY entry is seen! It’s all a bit…unknown!

  23. Sally says:

    This is really interesting, after reading this article it makes me realise just how lucky I was to win your RT comp! (I am @inbetweenentity) Although I only use twitter for competitions I try to throw in random comments to the universe every so often so it isn’t all RTs on my feed, only won a couple of RT comps though. Thanks again for the prize 🙂

  24. Louise says:

    Don’t know if you were thorough enough checking through those retweets Di – only joking wish every promoter would take it as seriously.
    I’ve been getting cheesed off with RT comps, I like to know how things work etc, so recently have been looking at Twitter comps myself. I always check the winners and a lot of times find they pick either someone with loads of followers or someone who is listed as a blogger. It’s a bit much when 3 out of 3 prizes are allocated like this in a “random” draw.
    I recently saw a prize awarded to someone who hadn’t retweeted at all? The person concerned had previous connections with one of the brands awarding a prize.
    In my mind the promoters who are doing this knowingly are cheating!
    I’ll step off my soap box now, apologies if it sounded like a rant, I just like fair play!

    • I wonder if it’s time we started making more complaints to the ASA about the fairness of Twitter prize draws? I’m not sure they’re aware of how it’s impossible to prove it was a fair draw from EVERY valid entry! (CAP have read this post though, so perhaps it might be something they take into consideration with their review of the CAP Code next year!)

      • Louise says:

        I’m relatively new to comping and just wasn’t sure where to complain, have been looking everywhere and the closest I got was trading standards. if I had the details for the ASA I would definitely be up for that. I have questioned privately a certain company twice (privately) how they can choose a random winner from someone who hasn’t entered a competition in the first place! No reply from them. Thanks for another great post Di, you always have your finger on the pulse.

  25. cakesphotoslife (Angie) says:

    Excellent reporting, now I need to get some to notice me

  26. cornishgirl says:

    Thanks for an interesting report. I think it sort of proves my suspicions that twitter comps are not drawn fairly. Also goes some way to explain why the same people crop up as winners time and time again! Some names are picked so often that they just seem to be prize magnets!

  27. Jo Bryan says:

    Hi Di we did discuss this earlier last week, I have ran a couple of RT and hashtag comps, which are another possible problem filled way to see all entries. I cam to the conclusion many are lost in a mire of what Twitter decides for us, so as a promotor and organiser its very frustrating to know people have tweeted correctly and disappeared. It is interesting to see that those with the most followers are deemed by Twitter to be the tweets you need to see. Its a little ‘Big Brotherish’ So I am reluctant to host any RT style comps, if I have not the full tweet entry list, again a more creative style giveaway even if it is a straightforward tell me what you would wear/eat/say etc and reply.

    I have found when entering comps the straight RT button has never give me a win, copy and pasting, even altering it slightly does bring better results. As I said before promotors in t/c’s such as the Malibu comp have said you have to press the retweet button, and specified copy and paste is not permitted so it seems the results will be unfair. Those with a higher follower count may win.

    Its so tricky, the brands and Twitter need to see this post!! Brilliant research and well done to the winner.

  28. This is fantastic and very thorough – thank you for doing this Di, Really interesting stuff.

    Twitter sends us a weekly email with ‘your week on twitter’ and I wonder how far influence works towards being selected as a winner. I prefer wins entering contests that require some effort and a hashtag.

    I wonder if one person RTed your contest, and another 100 people Rted that comp post from their timeline would push them up the list for ‘influence’ – might explain why bloggers win, when the readers all enter contests from the blog feed rather than the original company host. (So having your retweets retweeted may actually help you to win!)

    Like you said, answered many questions, raised many more – but thank you! Very interesting reading 🙂

    • After reading your comment Rachael, I decided to go back to my Tweetreach report to have a closer look at the figures. Although I described them as ‘influence’, I’ve changed that now to ‘impressions’ which is the term used by Tweetreach. In the list, the ‘impressions’ is the number of followers. BUT a few people tweeted more than once. Those who RTed twice increased their ‘impressions’ score to double their followers – so pushing them up the list! The Tweetreach report didn’t take into account or track retweeted retweets, but as you mentioned on Facebook – people like @M4ttr1987 have lots of people retweeting from his timeline, and so a LOT of influence on the platform! As you say – all very interesting, but no definitive answers!

  29. Rosie d says:

    awesome… I love this research, I was wondering if there was an ulterior motive for running the comp! now I see… googling ‘how to get 10,000 twitter followers’ after I’ve done the ironing!

  30. Juicy Lucy says:

    Very interesting I did wonder how fair a RT competition actually is however I am very lucky so not complaining. I am running a RT competition and forget to add a hashtag, as I would pick a random from that. I now have to write every Twitter handle each evening. Its time consuming but at least I know I can track my entrees.

  31. Chris says:

    Thanks for all your hard work on this Di. We always get really good value from you with your reports. I suspected that just RTing loads of comps was a waste of time. I have been trying harder to interact with companies but have not seen much progress despite this. I shall be scaling down my twitter comps in future and being more selective. Thanks again.

  32. Janie McColl says:

    I have had very little success on Twitter, and the only comps I did win were creative, I have never won a retweet comp so I hardly bother with them. Very interesting report that has answered a lot of questions.

  33. h_igoe says:

    Very interesting findings Di, I may need to rethink too. I have won a couple of times when I have retweeted the post just before the end of the competition so that explains how those companies pick their winner. I am actually wondering if they even realise they only get a few people to pick from, eek.

  34. Claire Kemp says:

    really useful info thanks. I rarely use Twitter as I find it’s almost impossible to win anything but may try entering last minute on a few now 🙂

    • I’ve won a few nice Twitter creative comps, or ones from tweeting a reply – but only won 1 or 2 RT giveaways! As you can see here – 1000 entries for a £20 prize is a lot, so a slim chance of winning in this type of simple draw.

  35. Joanne Mallon says:

    That is so interesting Di. I have won one or two RT competitions, but it was where very few people entered. In future I might not bother.

  36. Webster Angela says:

    I used to just use my twitter account for RT competitions until one of my comping buddies told me that she had had several wins by interacting more on Twitter in general and being really selective about what she entered, I decided to change my tactics using Twitter more for my blog, interacting with people and only entering for prizes that I really really wanted, it might be a coincidence but I’ve won several times all lovely prizes in the 3 months since I started doing this. I think promoters are looking at timelines and are reluctant to give prizes to ‘Serial’ compers (yes I’ve seen them use that term before).

    • Great tips Angela! Looking at my RT notifications, I saw the biographies of each entrant, many of which included comper, comping or comps. That might be an immediate turn off for many promoters, so maybe best to keep it out of your Twitter bio.

  37. Annie Taylor says:

    Very interesting, a very thorough report. Some fairly alarming news though. But forewarned is forearmed and all that. Thank you Di.

  38. Janine Phillips says:

    Very interesting, thank you x

  39. Dawn Fairman says:

    I never knew it was so complicated! Thanks for the education, Di.

  1. 28/07/2016

    […] I like using TweetDraw to select winners, but it does have it’s pitfalls. […]

  2. 24/10/2017

    […] your account may get marked as spam.  Equally you might not get marked as spam but it can and will affect your chances of winning (especially on RT to win comps).  You can find out more about if your twitter account has been marked as spam […]

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