How a Brand Frustrated with Facebook Grew Their Email List by 717%

Zipcar UK, frustrated with Facebook, found a solution by publishing their promotions outside of the platform, resulting in increased entries and website visits.

By Dana Kilroy ・4 min read
Customer Stories
Social Media

Zipcar UK, one of the world’s largest car-sharing companies, was frustrated with Facebook.

They were struggling to engage with their customers. And to make matters worse, whenever they hosted a Facebook giveaway, they were disappointed with their results.During the course of several giveaways, Zipcar UK customers eager to enter to win would message them.

These messages would often go something like this:

“I don’t have a Facebook account. Does this mean I can’t enter?”

“I entered your giveaway on my smartphone, but I’m not sure if my entry went through. Help!”

“I’m finding it hard to enter your giveaway on Facebook. Those pop-ups are too much to handle!”

Instead of a streamlined giveaway, each time Zipcar UK promoted their Facebook giveaway outside of Facebook, to their email lists and on their other social networks, they would get messages from frustrated customers and fans who were trying to enter to win.

These people either did not have a Facebook profile and were told they couldn't enter, or they were having a difficult time getting through the entry process.

This led to Zipcar UK discovering that a significant percentage of their customers could not enter their Facebook promotions because they did not have Facebook profiles.Something had to change.

The solution:

To solve their problems, Zipcar UK started publishing their promotions they built with ShortStack outside of Facebook. Their campaigns now live on page on their website.This allowed anyone to quickly and easily enter Zipcar UK’s giveaways. Entrants no longer had to have a Facebook profile, nor did they encounter any barriers from Facebook, like the platform’s required pop-up notifications that function poorly on mobile devices.

Here are Zipcar UK’s results when they started hosting their giveaways off of Facebook:

• When they ran the same promotion on their website through a ShortStack-built Campaign, in September 2014 (just three months after their previous giveaway on Facebook) Zipcar UK saw a 717% increase in entries/email addresses collected from their competition the second time around.

• In addition to seeing a boost in entries, Zipcar UK also saw a 203% increase in page visits on their website. This was due in part to driving their audience to a property which they owned, versus directing their audience to Facebook.

Results like this don’t just happen. There are five specific reasons Zipcar UK’s latest promotion had the results it did:

1. They knew the limitations of Facebook

Many of Zipcar UK’s customers did not have Facebook accounts, and the ones who did found the Facebook experience frustrating because of the login, especially via mobile web.

Instead of trying to work within the confines of what Facebook allows, Zipcar UK took their promotion off of Facebook completely and leveraged all of their social channels to promote and invite their audience to enter to win.

After the switch, not only could more people enter their giveaway, but the experience of entering was better.What's more, Zipcar UK was able to see value from an SEO standpoint.

2. They integrated social elements into their Campaign

Just because you take your promotion off of Facebook doesn’t mean it loses its social edge. With their new, independent-from-Facebook promotion, Zipcar UK made sure to integrate relevant social sharing functions.

3. They used tracking parameters to monitor performance

Moving Zipcar UK’s giveaway off of Facebook meant that they had a better opportunity to track the website traffic they received from their promotion. To do this, they set up tracking parameters and embedded UTM tags (Urchin Traffic Monitor) in their Campaign.

4. They asked for minimal information up front

To enter their giveaway, people only had to enter their name and email.From there, entrants would be sent an email that thanked them for entering and prompted them to click through to the website to finish the process by a certain date.The final step to enter included providing a photo, if applicable, and text explaining what they would do if they won their giveaway's prize.When the team implemented this kind of entry process, they saw a substantial increase in the quality of the entries they received.Why exactly?People had more time to create the content (photos) they had to submit to enter to win Zipcar UK's giveaway.Just by giving people more time and space to submit their entries, Zipcar UK was able to boost the number of high-quality entries they received.They now had an abundance of great user-generated content to work with.

5. They did vigorous mobile and desktop testing before launch

Mobile functionality is extremely important for every business to remember before they launch their giveaway.Before launching their giveaway, the Zipcar UK team tested vigorously on several devices to ensure customers would have as little difficulty as possible submitting.

This means testing every share feature, clicking on every link and truly experience the giveaway as if they were someone trying to enter it.

As an added bonus, in this testing process, Zipcar UK found that their giveaway actually looked better hosted on their website than it once did on an app within Facebook’s mobile view.

This is just one case study we shared in our “100 Days to 100,000 Email addresses” webinar with Jay Baer. If you missed it, here’s where you can access a recording of it.

Interested in getting started with ShortStack? Sign up for free here. We don’t even ask you for your credit card.  

About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・4 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

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