The Pros & Cons of Amazon Giveaway for Marketers

One of the biggest online retailers just got into the sweepstakes game today with Amazon Giveaway. And it looks like an attractive option. Running a sweepstakes involves a bit of work after all. There are entry forms to create, rules to write, prizes to ship out and even tax issues to handle.

Amazon handles most of that. So we can see why a self-service tool like this will appeal to “everyone from authors, aspiring artists, non-profits, brands, bloggers, social media gurus and more.”

But if you’re a brand marketer or have your own business, there are a few cons to consider as well. First, let’s go over how it works…

How it Works

  1. Select a prize on Amazon and pay for it.
  2. Use the wizard to set up the sweepstakes.
  3. Get a link you can share by email or on social media.
  4. Entrants click and log in to Amazon to enter (they must have an account).
  5. Entry is an easy instant-win process.
  6. Amazon notifies the winner, ships the prize & handles tax reporting.

A look at how it works

Sounds easy right? But there’s more to consider. Here are the pros and cons to using Amazon Giveaways for your sweepstakes:

PROS

  • Easy to set up
    You can leave most of the work up to Amazon, including entry setup, (some) rule requirements, winner notification, prize fulfillment and tax reporting.
  • Easy to enter
    It’s as easy as logging in and clicking two times to find out if you’re an instant winner.
  • More than a million prizes to choose from
    Electronics, books, home appliances… you name it, Amazon probably has it.
  • Option to build your Twitter following
    You can build in an option asking entrants to follow your Twitter account. This could help you grow your Twitter following obviously (a tweet doesn’t seem required though).

CONS

  • Who entered? You won’t know
    This is the biggest drawback of using the tool: you won’t know who entered. Sure, you’ll find out who won and may get a boost in Twitter followers, but that’s about it. As marketers, we all want to gather information from entrants (email or perhaps other details), but with Amazon Giveaway this is not an option. Per our contact with the company, all you’ll get is the winner’s name and address.
  • Website traffic? Yes, to Amazon
    Having the entry on Amazon means your prospects or customers will be visiting the big A’s site, not yours. Remember, all you’re getting is a link to the giveaway. We suppose you could set up a landing page or blog post to post the link on your site, but all your traffic will leave and will surely get hooked into wandering around this behemoth’s site, rather than your own. (The thank you page doesn’t link back to your site, in case you’re wondering.)
  • Official Rules are still your responsibility
    Some of the legal aspects are handled in the setup. For example, the overall prize value can’t exceed $5,000 (otherwise, you’d have to file a surety bond in certain states). This is helpful, but you’ll still need to create Official Rules for your sweepstakes and host them on your site.
  • Brand-centric or high end prizes are ruled out
    Yes, there are more than a million products to choose from, but there are still limits. You won’t be able to offer your own merchandise (unless it’s available on Amazon), gift cards to your store/site or items excluded by Amazon such as digital songs, movies or apps, along with Marketplace items (sold by third party vendors). Trips, cars and other luxury goods are also ruled out.

Longer-term benefits are missing

This tool will be great for Amazon’s business, but won’t give you all of the benefits of a good sweepstakes—especially, the ability to contact entrants after the promotion. You’ll get a temporary buzz boost, extra Twitter fans and the goodwill of offering a free prize, but the longer term benefits are missing.

Overall, Amazon Giveaway is a great option if you’re not worried about building your email (or mobile) list or don’t want the means to further contact entrants . But, for us as marketers, we consider that a primary goal.

Visit the site to try the tool for yourself.

Why Is It Important To Have a Mobile Optimized Sweepstakes Page?

Mobile Optimized Sweepstkes -MOMARESThe short answer is because you get more participants when your sweepstakes is optimized. Making the sweepstakes mobile optimized shows that you are in sync with customer preferred communications channel and you’re making the sweepstakes entry process as seamless as possible. This causes fewer barriers to entry and ultimately more participants.

5 tips to help make your sweepstakes mobile optimized:

No Pinch
The easiest way for a person to know if the sweepstakes is not mobile optimized, is if they have to pinch or stretch their fingers to zoom in or out of the page. Pinching is cumbersome and sweepstakes like these face a higher chance of being abandoned simply because of inconvenience and time consumption in having to zoom in or out to view the content. To prevent this from happening, build a mobile version of the sweepstakes page, formatted for up and down scrolling only and easily legible text. All images should be proportional for the frame. In other words, make the images size up or down automatically based on the mobile device screen size of the user.

Keep the Entry Form Process As Simple As Possible
The sweepstakes entry form should accomplish two goals:
1.    Capture the data you need from the participants
2.    Guide the participants through the entry process
The entry form should be as short as possible to accomplish the marketing data goals and not more. Small changes to the entry form, like combining first and last name fields and not having an address field, can make a huge difference in total participants. Make the form as short as needed, but not more.

Test Across All Mobile Devices and Mobile Browser
Its one thing to make your sweepstakes mobile optimized for iPhones, but if it’s not for Androids, Windows, or tablets, you risk losing participants. Make sure to test your sweepstakes across devices and mobile operating system. This tool can help you test rendering across mobile devices www.mobilephoneemulator.com

Track Mobile Vs. Desktop Entry Stats
Tracking your sweepstakes may provide insights on the kind of devices your specific target market uses to view your site’s sweepstakes. It may turn out that almost all of your sweepstakes entries are coming from mobile devices. This insight can help you focus your future marketing efforts. Google Analytics will give you desktop vs mobile traffic.

We’re here to help. Any questions, reach out to us at support@momares.com

How Sweepstakes and Contest will be affected by Facebook’s Like Gate Policy

Facebook Kills the Like Gate
Facebook has removed the functionality to Like Gate or Fan Gate content or promotions. As of Nov. 5th 2014, Facebook will no longer allow Like gates in Facebook pages.

This means that people will no longer be required to click the Like button to enter a sweepstakes or participate in your promotion.

The Fan Gate was a way to ensure that new non-fans could be required to become a fan prior to participating in your promotion.

In turn, sweepstakes were particularly benefitted by like gates on Facebook and this resulted in increased likes for a page and encouraged high quality sweepstakes entries and engaged fans for the brand.

The ideas is that people who were willing to like the page in order to enter the contest, were also more likely to be genuinely interested in the business’s goods or services.

Rest assured removing the like gate would not affect the promotions goals much.

You can still count on Sweepstakes to:

  • Increase your social visibility/social buzz and engagement
  • Increase new fans
  • You will still be able to collect email addresses as part of the sweep entry
  • The number of entries might increase if users are not required to perform an additional action or commit to liking your page.

I don’t believe removal of like gate will result in fewer fans. I think it will help reduce bounces, where people like the page just until the promotion ends, then unlike.

In a nutshell, social sweepstakes will continue to be one of the best tactics to gather qualified Fb fans.

What Every Marketer Should Know About Sweepstakes and Contest Laws in the U.S.

For Marketers Sweepstakes and Contest Laws in the U.S.
For Marketers: Sweepstakes and Contest Laws in the U.S.

One of the reasons why contests and sweepstakes work so well is because consumers have faith that these promotions are legitimate and that the prizes promised will be delivered as presented. This was not always the case, but today laws are in place to protect consumers and fine companies that don’t play nice. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates most sweepstakes and promotions. The rest of the regulatory work is handled at the state level, with every state having their own set of laws for sweepstakes and contests. SMS sweepstakes are also bound by these rules.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and the following information is not legal advice. It’s meant to guide marketers in running promotions. You should contact an attorney for specific advice.

All sweepstakes in the United States must meet the following regulations:

1. No purchase necessary. You can enter the sweepstakes without buying a product or service.
2. Winners are required to pay taxes on prizes they win.

What is the difference between sweepstakes and contests?

  • In Sweepstakes the winner(s) is selected randomly from a group of entries.
  • In Contests the winner(s) is determined primarily on a basis of skill by a judging body. An essay contest is one example.

What should I do if the sweepstakes prize is $5,000 or more in cash or value?

  • When the approximate retail value of all prizes exceeds $5,000, the sweepstakes (contests do not need to be registered) must be registered in the state of New York and the state of Florida. Registration must be done 30 days prior to the start of the promotion in NY and 7 days prior to the start in Florida.

Do I need a surety bond?

  • A surety bond is basically an insurance policy that New York and Florida hold to guarantee the sponsor will award all prizes. If you register your promotion in Florida or New York, you will need to set up a surety bond in the amount of the prize value.

I heard that in Rhode Island you also have to register your sweepstakes?

  • It’s true, but only if you are running a retail sweepstakes with a prize valued at more than $500. A retail sweepstakes requires the participant to walk into a retail store in the state of RI to enter.

What if I’m giving prizes that are less than $5,000 in cash or value?

  • Then you are good and there’s no need to register the sweepstakes in either NY or FL.

What if my promotion is targeted to children?

  • When promoting to children, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) comes into play. Operators of commercial website(s) and online services directed to children under the age of 13 that collect personal information, like a sweepstakes, must be compliant with COPPA. This requires posting your Privacy Policy and obtaining verifiable consent from parents to the collection of information from their child. Big League Chew Sweepstakes Official Rules offer a good example.

What about Mobile, Text to Win (SMS) Sweepstakes and Contests laws?

  • I thought you’d never ask. All federal and state laws apply as in regular sweepstakes. In mobile sweepstakes or contests, where the participants enter the contest via text message (SMS), all of the Mobile Marketing Association’s Best Practices and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) rules should be upheld. As of 2014 the TCPA requires additional opt-in language similar to this;
  • “Message and data rates may apply. Autodialed texts will be sent to your cell phone. Consent is not required to purchase goods or services. To opt out at any time, reply STOP to [your short code]. For help, text HELP to [your short code]. View our privacy policy and terms of service.”
  • It’s extra fine print, but a small price to pay for the most effective way to build a mobile database and gather sweepstakes participants.

What about Facebook promotions?

Facebook recently simplified its sweepstakes and contest rules as follows:

  1. You are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including; The Official Rules and Offer terms and eligibility requirements.
  2. All promotions should be in compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered.
  3. Official Rules must include a complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant and acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  4. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook

What about Instagram promotions?

  1. Every contest must include some variation of this statement of release: “Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.”
  2. Include Official Rules and Terms of Eligibility
  3. To avoid spam, Instagram does not permit you to inaccurately tag content or encourage users to inaccurately tag content.
  4. See the 4 Instagram Contest Best Practices

What about Marijuana or Cannabis promotions?

  1. Follow the Law- with marijuana laws changing at a rapid pace, you have to be very aware of the local and state laws that pertain to marketing and advertising for any type of marijuana or cannabis-infused products. See list of general laws to follow.
  2. Prizes- in general the Sponsor is not permitted to give away cannabis or any product containing cannabis. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t give away prizes related to you brand. See Marijuana or Cannabis prize ideas.

Running a Sweepstakes for Marijuana or Cannabis Marketing? Our Suggestions…

Need to see specific rules and laws rules and laws by state?

Would you like to see past examples of sweepstakes and contest Official Rules?

Don’t let all of the legal speak discourage you from launching sweepstakes or contests. They are one of the best promotional tools out there by far and you won’t regret your decision to hold one. Like all promotions, just make sure to cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

If you need any help with your next promotion contact us. We are here to help!

The Difference between Sweepstakes and Contests

People often use the words “sweepstakes,” “contest,” and “giveaways” interchangeably. They all mean something different and will affect the type of promotion and rules you use.

The basic definition are:

Sweepstakes are games of chance, where the winner(s) of picked randomly

Contests are a games of skill, where the winner shows the best skills within a particular set of judging criteria.

Giveaway are promotions where something is given free usually to all participants or the first of some.

In summary:  Contest winner(s) are selected by judges and sweepstakes winner(s) are randomly selected.

If you need help planning your sweepstakes or contest contact us at support@momares.com