The latest videoclip from Miley Cyrus, the Season Finale of Lost, and running Social Media promotions with a big prize that only delivers a low number of entries; have all something in common: they will leave you with a WTF face for weeks.
Recently I wrote an article explaining how complex promotions usually have lower engagement, and suggested a few ways to compensate for this. One of them is increasing the value of the prize.
One of my readers very wisely suggestedthis may not always work, as she had seen some cases where promotions including big prizes – one of them even giving away a car! – didn’t provide the expected results.
I have also seen similar results on a few occasions, however deep campaign analysis showed how most of the times this behaviour was caused by some external factors – other than the prize and promotion rules.
Here are the main reasons why a Social Media promotion with a big prize could also fail and provide a low number of entries.
1. IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE
Have you ever received any of those e-mails that suggest you have just inherited a million dollars from a relative you had never heard off, who has recently died in an African country?
Unless you are an idiot – which you are not, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog – , I’m sure you have never replied to such messages.
People could become very suspicious when they think something is too good to be true. It’s a self-defense mechanism at our instinct level.
In the same way, an easy to join promotion where prizes have a big value could have the opposite effect that you would expect.
Always make sure that the level of complexity of your promotion is in line with the value of the prize – and vice-versa.
2. A SIMILAR SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION HAS JUST FINISHED
Many companies believe replicating a Social Media promotion and prize that a competitor has recently offered will provide good results; after all, those participants who didn’t win in the first promotion may be given another chance.
It seems like a very logic thinking… unfortunately we humans are not always logic.
Of course, you may get some of those users in your promotion too, but many others could decide not to join this time
Some could still be disappointed from not winning on the first place and prefer not to experience this feeling again, whilst others could have simply realised their chances of winning are low and thus prefer not to try their luck one more time.
Never clone a Social Media promotion that a competitor has run recently; always allow some time and create different rules and prizes to suit your own unique audience.
3. PEOPLE DON’T TRUST YOUR BRAND
If your brand is not very well known, or if you are starting your business and offer a big prize, users may have a reaction similar to the ‘too good to be true’ explained before.
First of all, people may not trust your capacity to afford such a big prize.
Then, they may become suspicious about what are you going to do with the data they will provide, especially if it involves personal information.
This reaction is not so extreme when the prize is smaller though, since users perceive you as a more credible.
4. TOO MUCH INFORMATION
I already explained how people are more hesitant to join Social Media promotions that request a lot of information, and how the best way to compensate for this is increasing the value of the prize.
But sometimes, even if the prize is quite good, it may not be enough for the amount or type of information you request.
For example, if in the same survey you ask for: someone address, household income, and working hours; people will not feel very comfortable giving you such a personal information that, if ending in the wrong hands, could compromise the security of their home.
(NOTE: I have seen these questions in a survey from a company I had never heard off)
It is necessary to find a balance between the amount of information you ask and the value of the prize. Sometimes it will be better to split your campaign in several sub-campaigns, where you request less information (and thus, offer a lower prize)
5. COMPLEX TERMS & CONDITIONS
At times the reason why people don’t want to join your Social Media promotion could be your Terms & Conditions. There could be some requirements that make the promotion more complex than what initially perceived by users.
Cash prizes may require winners to pay some taxes or go through boring paperwork; pics used to enter a photo contest may become property of the company running the promotion…
If users find something they don’t like, they will use Social Media to spread the news and your promotion will be affected.
6. SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION RUN BY COMPETITORS
If one of your competitors is running another Social Media promotion simultaneously that looks easier to join and/or has a better prize, many participants could reconsider joining yours.
You may think people wouldn’t mind to join more than one promotion simultaneously, as this would increase their chances of winning.
However since they will also be requested to do something in return (quite likely to provide an e-mail address among other stuff) they could also see a risk of being bombarded with newsletters and ads from two similar companies.
In this case, many users will simply join the promotion that looks easier or with a better prize.
7. YOUR AUDIENCE IS WRONG
This could refer to your followers or to your Social Media promotion target audience in general.
If the prize you are offering – regardless of its value – is not appealing to your target audience, you may not receive as many entries as expected.
This also applies to the rules to enter the Social Media promotion: ask an audience of older males to submit an Instagram selfie with a duck-face and your entries will be very low.
It is paramount to have a clear understanding of your target audience: use Facebook Audience Insights for this purpose.
8. RELYING ONLY ON ORGANIC DISTRIBUTION
You may think your promotion is so good, it will go viral by itself and users will start sharing it with their friends – perhaps because that gives them more chances of winning.
So once the promotion is running, you announce it to your followers with a post. However, if your Page engagement is low Facebook will not show your content to many of your followers.
And from those viewing your post, not everyone will join…
And from those who join, not everyone will share it…
Your expected virality doesn’t happen, and the promotion fails.
The lower your Engagement, the lower your Reach, thus the lower your entries and viral effect.
9. REAL LIFE EVENTS
Sometimes the only problem is, your timing was really bad.
Perhaps your Social Media promotion is perfect, but right when you launch it something unexpected happens – on Social Media or in real life – that makes people pay less attention to it.
For example, if you launch it just a few days before a long public holiday where most of your target audience may be travelling or focusing on other leisure activities, chances are the total number of entries will be very low.
The best way of avoiding this is having your Social Media promotion running for a longer period of time. Shorter promotions with a duration of just a few days could be more affected by unexpected events than those that run for a few weeks.
Have you also experienced low engagement on a Social Media promotion with a big prizes? Why do you think it happened?