Why You Should Consider Running Recurring Contests

Recurring contests are a powerful strategy for digital brands to generate a consistent flow of leads and engage with their audience.

By Will Blunt ・5 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Do you run social media contests to build awareness, generate leads, or engage with your audience?If so you’re not alone.Contests and giveaways have a long-standing record of success for big brands.For example, Valvoline collected over 38,000 leads with its “Dream Garage Giveaway,” and SunRype gathered over 97,000 entries with its “Home Gym Giveaway.”These are big lead gen numbers when you consider how expensive and challenging it can be to capture the contact information of prospects in a noisy online world.So, what’s my point?Well, while these case studies are intriguing, they appear on the surface to be standalone spikes in lead captures rather than sustainable models of customer acquisition.

Contests and giveaways have a long-standing record of success for big brands.

That’s why recurring contests are a powerful strategy for digital brands looking to generate a predictable and consistent flow of leads.

What are recurring contests?

The concept of a recurring contest is quite simple. Instead of running a standalone giveaway or social media contest, you design a campaign to re-start after a set period of time. For example, you may host a daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly giveaway.When executed properly, recurring contests can generate predictable results that you can optimize and invest in. For example, you don’t need to necessarily offer the same prize for every occurrence of a giveaway. It’s the back-end mechanics of the contest, such as the logistics, automation, landing pages, etc. that are essential components to systemize and repeat.

What are the benefits of recurring contests?

I’ve touched on some of the most prominent benefits of recurring contests, such as predictability and optimization, but I’d like to delve further into why these campaigns are so powerful.Here are four benefits of running recurring contests:

#1. User-Generated Content (UGC)

72% of consumers trust the opinions of their peers more than a brand’s marketing message when making a purchase decision. That’s why user-generated content is so powerful.Contests and giveaways motivate your customers to submit content such as photos and videos in exchange for incentives. This content can be used to build trust with new prospects and increase the value of your brand in the market.The recency of a customer story or photo is important during the trust-building process. If all of your customer photos are two years old, new prospects will question the value of your products. By hosting recurring contests you create a consistent way of collecting social proof, in the form of UGC, from your customers.If the goal of your contest is to collect UGC, it’s critical to have a unique campaign hashtag. When participants use a hashtag to enter your contest, and the contest is repeated at a regular cadence over time, you will build an enormous library of UGC all categorized under the campaign hashtag. You can then feature the hashtag stream on your website as social proof.The GoPro Awards are an excellent example of recurring contests that capture UGC. To enter, participants just need to take photos or clips on their GoPro, upload them to the GoPro website, and have a chance to be featured and paid for the submission.There is a range of challenges people can enter, such as the “Photo Of The Day Challenge” and the “Anything Awesome Challenge.” Each challenge then has its own campaign hashtag, like the #GoProLiveIt challenge, so they can embed the stream on their website:

GoPro Awards Site User-Generated Content (UGC)

GoPro leveraging user-generated content

#2. Sales

Repeating any kind of marketing campaign allows you to track analytics, test and change elements, and inevitably optimize its performance. The same goes for recurring contests. With ShortStack Analytics, for example, you can drill down how every visitor interacts with your campaign and draw meaningful conclusions about what you should change. From the best-performing traffic sources to email open and engagement rates, campaign analytics will become your best friend over time as you improve the results each time you run a campaign.

As well as tracking the performance of your recurring contest and adapting accordingly, you can also increase sales by offering instant gratification for entrants. Instant win contests allow you to award prizes or distribute coupon codes immediately after someone enters their contact details.

An example of an instant-win giveaway.View and Create Your OwnOnce a prospect has a coupon code to redeem in your online store, and you have their contact details, you can automate the follow up so that more people make a purchase.

ShortStack Analytics Running Recurring Contests Sales Coupon Code Redeem

Automated email follow up for contest entries.

#3. Audience Engagement

If audience engagement is on your agenda, recurring contests can lend a helping hand. Much like you can optimize campaigns for leads and sales, you can also adjust the way you interact with prospects during a campaign to increase brand engagement.For example, you may choose to run recurring points for actions contests. With this form of contest, entrants have more chances to win if they complete certain actions, such as following your Instagram page or visiting your website.

Acme Events Win Concert Tickets Recurring Contests For Audience Engagement

A points-for-actions contest. View and Create Your Own Another way to increase engagement with your audience is to ramp up the interactivity of your contest landing page. For example, Giveaway Calendars are a favorite for many brands where they reveal a new prize each day of the campaign:

Acme Mountain Sports Holiday Giveaway Calendar Content Landing Page

Interactive calendar giveaway. While the above example is a holiday-themed giveaway calendar, you could replicate this style of campaign at any time of year.Another unique example of a recurring contest is a “Guess the Score” giveaway:

Guess this Score Example

Guess the score giveaway. View and Create Your Own This example is specific to brands that operate in the sporting industry, however, you could get creative with another type of guessing game that suits any kind of customer.

#4. Customer Data

The amount of customer data you can collect by repeating contests on a consistent schedule is mind-blowing. Imagine, for example, you host a monthly giveaway with your audience. Conservatively, let’s say 1,000 people enter each month. Think about how many interactions those 1,000 people have with your brand. Whether it’s following your Instagram account, liking a certain photo, visiting numerous pages on your site, opening emails, purchasing products… the list goes on.You literally have hundreds of thousands of data touchpoints that can paint a vivid picture of your customers and the way they behave online. Compound that month-on-month, as you get better at optimizing and improving your campaign, and the insights you could develop are extremely valuable to your brand.From the types of products you release to the marketing channels you invest in, there is nothing more important than customer data for making business decisions.For example, your recurring contest could be a “Pick Your Prize” giveaway:

Pick Your Prize Template

Pick your prize giveaway. View and Create Your OwnIf thousands of people choose one of your products from a small group of options over and over again, you will truly discover which products suit which demographics and be able to optimize other marketing campaigns accordingly.


Whatever your goals are for running marketing campaigns, recurring contests could have a place in that ecosystem.From generating social proof, increasing sales, engaging with your audience, and collecting customer data, campaign repetition provides you with predictability. With predictability comes confidence in how you invest in marketing channels and scale up operations.

About the author

By Will Blunt ・5 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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