Meet the Promoters: Traction Digital

Welcome to the latest in my series of Q&As with the people who help run competitions and prize draws. Traction Digital’s marketing experts have delivered promotional campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands. Bringing together technology and strategy to collect meaningful data, Traction Digital ensure that brands stay relevant and engaging to their most important customers everywhere and on every device.

I spoke to Regional Director Sly Yuen about Traction Digital’s work on prize promotions in particular.

What brands do Traction Digital work with?
We work with brands across all industries in Europe and Asia Pacific, including all the different brands under Unilever (such as Magnum, PG Tips, Flora, Persil, Simple to name a few), alcohol brands such as Guinness, Corona, Budweiser and Asahi, and cosmetic brands such as those under the L’Oréal group.  We also work with Vue Cinemas, Shell and MasterCard.

You work on a lot of text entry (SMS) promotions – why are brands so keen to run this type of promotion?
There are some very enticing reasons to use SMS – it’s easy to use, cost effective, produces high ROI (return on investment) and has extremely high open rates, with more than 95% of messages being opened. We find that text entry promotions are a really effective way for brands to engage with their customers, since it is very easy and convenient for consumers to enter. Especially for FMCG (Fast-moving consumer goods) brands, having text entry promotions also allow brands to prominently feature this on their packaging, which helps it stand out when displayed on shelves. We have also found that when we run promotions that are multi-channel (e.g. consumers can either enter via text entry or via website), a third of the entries come from text, which is why we encourage brands who are thinking of running web form-based promotions to also consider text entries.

What type of data do Traction Digital capture from competition entrants – and how is this useful to your clients?
We always capture name, opt-in information, as well as either email or mobile number (or both) as a minimum.  When we build a promotion for our clients we try to understand what their objectives are, as this will enable us to recommend the type of promotion we would be building and the data we should be collecting. For instance, for one of our clients, we collected postcodes that allowed us to give special offers to competition entrants from their nearest supermarket.


Flowchart showing the process for Traction Digital’s recent XXXX GOLD & BBQ’s Galore competition

You work with risk management companies to insure your promotions – can you explain why this is necessary?
We work with risk management companies to give our clients ease of mind that they won’t end up paying more than they budgeted for if they end up with more promotion entries than they forecasted for. It allows our clients to be able to use their budget effectively.

Do Traction Digital clients favour ‘winning moment’ promotions where ‘all prizes will be won’, or promotions where there’s an attention-grabbing prize fund but ‘all prizes are available to be won’?
The type of promotion very much depends on the budget of the client or the client’s brand; Unilever brand budgets for example will differ dependent on the channel they favour, whether there is an event they can tie into that year or how they have performed. This year we have seen two main promotion types move to the front in terms of popularity; algorithmic instant win competitions (where – through the use of our unique API workflow engine – we randomly and in real-time select winners based on pre-defined or dynamically-changing ratios) and major ‘grand prize draw’ competitions where a single entrant will be drawn at random at the end of the competition. For the algorithmic competitions (and indeed, even for ‘winning moment’ competitions) it is entirely possible that not all prizes are given away; we counsel that there are a number of ways to use our platform to fulfil these prizes including ‘second-chance draws’. However, this is at the discretion of the client and the risk management company.

Flowchart for a grand prize draw online

Flowchart for a grand prize draw online

Do you run ‘refer a friend campaigns’ – and how successful are these in gaining new subscribers?
We have run ‘refer a friend’ campaigns and they can be extremely successful not only in gaining new subscribers but also increasing brand awareness and engagement.  For instance, we ran a hugely successful campaign in Australia for Tourism Victoria where entrants are given three photographs of a location in Melbourne and they need to identify where this is to get into the draw.  They can then increase their number of entries by sharing the promotion via Facebook.  We ended up hitting the promotion target halfway into the promotion period, which was happy news for the client!

What’s the most unusual prize promotion you’ve been involved with?
We ran a really interesting promotion for a milk brand who were trying to position themselves as the ‘cool, daring milk choice for men’.  The prize was a vintage orange Ford Gran Torino, similar to the car from Starsky and Hutch.  Entrants basically had to film a video of themselves doing something crazy with the brand and upload to the brand’s site where other people can vote for the best video.  The entrant who created the video, along with those who voted for it, would then be in the running to win the Gran Torino.  The great thing about the promotion was that it perfectly encapsulated what the brand was about, and it also created a sense of community for its customers as they had to participate in generating content for the brand (which can then be re-used).

Are you using mobile apps more in developing prize promotions? 
We have done a few with mobile apps, but interestingly enough, they don’t necessarily create an uplift in the volume of entries.  Entrants just want to enter in the easiest and simplest way possible.  Again this is where we would work with our clients to map out the best customer journey during the ideation process.

Have you ever discovered cheating in a promotion you’ve been involved with – and how was it dealt with?
We sometimes do find this, and this is where the T&Cs are important, because we can reject them if the T&Cs allow us to do so.  This is why we always try to get involved with the drafting of our client’s T&Cs, because we have seen other promotions in the market where T&Cs are so poorly written that cheaters get away with it.

Traction worked on the recent Butterkist 'Kick for Cash' instant win

Traction worked on the recent Butterkist ‘Kick for Cash’ instant win

What mistakes do you see other companies making with their promotions?
There are quite a few common mistakes that companies do when they run their promotions.  Not collecting the right data is a common one, where it means brands won’t be able to communicate the right offers to their customers.  Another is the T&Cs as I mentioned previously, where it allows for people to claim prizes unfairly or lead to a bad customer experience, either because the T&Cs are impossible to find or written so ambiguously that the customers and the brands interpret them differently.  Finally, there are competitions where there is not enough testing or quality assurance, such that it becomes impossible for customers to enter the promotion as they can’t submit their entry, or they don’t get a confirmation message or even receive the wrong prize.

Finally, what’s your opinion on compers – useful influencers, or unwanted visitors? 
It depends on the brand, some of them welcome compers as it helps raise awareness.  Many of the brands we work with have a point of sale element in the promotion, so obviously the more entries there are the higher the sales and the better their ROI.

Many thanks to Sly for answering my questions! Find out more at and follow them on Twitter at @tractionD.

2 Responses

  1. PrizeDeck says:

    An interesting read as it’s always good to know what promoters are doing and the types of promotion they run. People tend to forget about SMS but it still is one of the most widely used methods of communication with the greatest (and fastest) open rate.

  2. rebecca beesley says:

    Did i read that correctly about them doing a voting competition – boo! Other than that a very interesting read. I love seeing this side of things as well as the winner stories that you share. x

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