Is Instagram comp tagging out of control?
Recently I’ve been entering more prize draws on Instagram. But my delight at finding a fabulous new giveaway is quickly replaced by annoyance when I see those dreaded words in the caption…
“Tag a friend. Each comment is an entry, must tag a different friend in each comment”
“Tag two friends in a comment (as many comments as you want but tag different friends)”
“Tag one friend per entry but enter as many times as you like”
I find this type of prize draw infuriating. An entrant gets a prize draw entry for each comment they leave – and can drastically increase their chance of winning as a result.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram doesn’t give us the ability to share a post on our feed – it requires a screenshot to be taken and reuploaded with the information, or the use of an app like Repost. And promoters know this might be a bit too much to expect from an entrant. After all – the whole purpose of Instagram is to upload our own photos and videos, and who wants to spoil their profile with someone else’s stuff? So regram/repost comps aren’t that common.
Promoters could ask an entrant to share a post to their Instagram Stories – this is great as it doesn’t spoil a profile page, and can also reach lots of viewers, but it can also be tricky for a promoter to keep track of entries.
But most often, a promoter usually wants entrants to spread the word about their giveaway by asking them to tag a friend on their post. Or maybe two or three friends. That’s easy enough for the entrants – most Instagram users have at least a couple of friends who would be interested in a pair of handmade pom pom earrings!
But lately, I’ve noticed a trend in promoters asking us to tag as many friends as we can, in separate comments – with each of those comments counting as a new entry into the draw. So for example, an Instagram comp with 80 comments might have 20 comments from the same entrant, giving that entrant a 1-in-4 chance of winning.
Many tagged friends aren’t real accounts
I’ve been looking out for people that leave multiple comments on competition posts, and some of the tagged users aren’t quite what they seem. On several posts I’ve counted thirty or more friend tags from the same entrant! Tapping those “friends” names, here’s what I’ve discovered:
- Private accounts with a handful of followers
- Accounts with no photos at all, and a couple of followers
- Accounts with one or two photos that are more than a year old
- Business accounts (belonging to the tagger)
- Made up account names (‘user not found’ when you tap the name)
Now, if I tag a friend in a comment on Instagram, my friend will usually tap the heart on my comment – and sometimes even leave a reply. I tag real, regular Instagram users – because I know they would appreciate the prize.
But the type of accounts listed above aren’t genuine users – they’re not going to follow the profile or interact. They’ve probably not even logged in for 6 months. And should someone have a better chance of winning a prize because they’ve tagged 20 dormant Instagram accounts? I don’t think they should.
In fact, regular followers of a brand may be put off from entering when they see a long spammy list of tagged names from the same person, believing they won’t have a chance of winning when someone else already has twenty entries in the draw! Why alienate real fans for the sake of a few useless tags?
Of course, lots of multiple taggers are tagging genuine friends – so please don’t think I’m tarring them all with the same brush! But wouldn’t it be nice to make it a level playing field, and give everyone the same chance of winning?
Set a limit on the tags
It would be great to see brands, bloggers and influencers set a limit on tags – asking an entrant to tag three friends in a comment is more than enough to spread the word to hundreds or thousands of people. And if they really must ask for more, then set a limit – ‘tag up to six friends in the comments, each comment is a separate entry ‘- would work without getting ridiculous!
I’d also like promoters to stop automatically sharing Instagram competition posts to Facebook without making it clear that the competition is running across both platforms. This is very common with Advent competitions – but it’s not fair on the entrants, who have no idea there could be double the number of entrants. And for the promoter, it’s not as easy to choose a winner fairly when Facebook and Instagram entries are combined. It’s also worth remembering that Facebook Promotion Guidelines do not allow tagging friends as an entry mechanic! Finally, excessive tags on Facebook or Instagram can trigger a ban for the entrant too – so it’s not a good thing to encourage.
What are your thoughts – does Instagram tagging drive you crazy?