My contest isn’t as successful as I’d hoped. What can I do?

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 28/02/22

There are three key moments for every online promotion or contest organizer. In this article you’ll find out what these moments are. You’ll also learn what to do if you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for.

The first key moment is when you get that initial spark of inspiration – the fantastic idea for a contest that will meet the marketing objectives of your brand perfectly. At this point you feel inspired, full of energy and eager to get started. The second key moment comes just after you’ve set up your promotion and are about to click “Publish now and activate all communications and advertising campaigns”. This is always nerve wracking. Will it work? Will people understand what to do? Will they take part? Finally, the third and possibly most climactic moment is when you begin to analyze the results. If the promotion has gone as well as you’d hoped you’ll feel on top of the world and you’ll want to keep refreshing the promotion to see how many new participants you’ve got. But what happens if users are not participating? Or if you don’t attract as many participants as you’d hoped? This is when organizers can hit rock bottom as all that initial excitement turns to disappointment.

But don’t despair! All is not lost. Let’s look at the first thing you can do when your online promotion isn’t working as well as it should. This is what we at Easypromos always recommend to clients who ask us why their promotion isn’t succeeding and what they can do to improve it.

The first thing to do is analyze the number of visits to each page of the promotion. There are two things to look out for first:

  1. Total visits and unique visitors: The number of total visitors and the number of unique visitors to the promotion or contest homepage.
  2. The visitor-to-participant conversion rate: In other words, how many promotion visitors have registered to participate?


These two values will enable you to carry out an effective primary analysis of the performance of your promotion or contest. Here are the two most common scenarios:


1st Scenario: the number of unique visits to the promotion’s homepage is low

The promotion is attracting very few participants and although the organizer has publicized the promotion and invested heavily in advertising, the number of homepage visits is also low. In this case the organizer should think about what techniques are being used to bring traffic to the promotion. This means checking that the links used to publicize the promotion are working – it’s especially important to test the links before sending the newsletter – and make sure that the links are compatible with mobile devices. It’s also important to review the advertising segmentation being carried out.

One exercise that usually works is to put yourself in the shoes of users, looking at your advertising from their perspective. Ask yourself the following questions: Are we sending the right sort of message? Is the image appealing enough? Are we giving enough importance to the prize? Is the call to action clear enough?
Now is the time to check every little detail of your communication and diffusion activities, giving particular attention to the (1) Contents and (2) Segmentation.


2nd Scenario: The promotion receives lots of visitors but few become participants

What constitutes a low conversion rate? Obviously this varies a great deal, depending on the mechanics and objectives of the promotion. For this post we will focus on the most common type of online promotion – a sweepstakes offering an enticing prize which users can have a shot at winning by completing a registration form. For this sort of promotion the average visitor-to-participant conversion rate is between 35% and 40%. If you’re running this type of sweepstakes and find that the conversion rate is lower than 35%, you should revise the promotion contents:

  1. Promotion texts. Imagine you’re a user and ask yourself the following question: Is it obvious what the prize is after reading for just two seconds? Don’t forget: the prize is the one thing that should always stand out.
  2. Promotion image and design. A bright, attractive photo which displays the prize clearly will always attract more participants than a small, pixelated, hard-to-make-out image.
  3. Organizer reliability. The user should be able to decide within seconds whether or not to accept your deal (provide us with your information and we’ll give you the chance to win a prize.) Encourage trust and confidence by making it clear that you are the official organizer and by providing a link to the legal bases.
  4. Registration data. There’s no doubt about it: the more information you ask for, the lower the conversion rate. You’ll need to find the right balance between your promotion objective and your data quality.
  5. Viral messages. Did you know that 54% of users who register for a sweepstakes then share it? It’s vitally important that you put as much effort as possible into designing messages and images for users to share across the social networks.


To help you learn more about the second of the two scenarios outlined above we carried out a study of two Facebook sweepstakes which received the same number of visits but generated very different results. One achieved a visitor/participant conversion rate of 47%, while the other only managed 25%.

Easypromos provides all promotion organizers with access to the statistics module. This enables organizers to view the number of visits to each page and measure the conversion funnel.

Carles Bonfill

CEO and co-founder of Easypromos. He holds a degree in Computer Science, with a focus on network management, architecture and security. In 2009, he developed Easypromos, one of the first global platforms for promotions and since then he has been the technical and development director. He closely follows the evolution of digital marketing in order to adapt the promotions to it. Carles loves sports and his family.

Publication date: 2016-03-17