How to Run a Fair Online Voting Competition

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 01/06/21

Online voting competitions can increase your reach, collect user-generated content and boost your reputation. Here’s how to run a fair, effective contest with an online voting app – and keep fraudsters out.

Online voting competitions are a great way to engage your audience. It’s easy for anyone to join in: they just have to pick a favorite and vote for them. You can choose any medium you want for the contest, from video entries to a photo competition or a simple Pick Your Favorite contest. 

But online contests aren’t just for fun. If you’re a marketer, they’re an important strategic tool. You can use online voting competitions to collect data, gauge your audience’s opinion, increase your reach on social media, attract new sales prospects to your website, and overall boost brand awareness.

In this article, we’re going to look at how you can use an online voting competition to increase engagement and hype around your brand. We’ll also cover some ways to collect data from users and reduce voting fraud.

How do online voting competitions work

The basic idea behind an online voting contest is very simple. You present people with a list of options and ask them to choose their favorite.

However, in practice, things can get complicated. You need to think about…

  • Where does the list of options come from? Will you create the list, or do you want users to submit their own entries to vote on?
  • How many times can people vote? 
  • How many options can people vote for?
  • Is the competition restricted by age or location?
  • Do you want to collect contact details from the voters?
  • Do you want to offer a reward to the voters?

That’s why it’s a good idea to use a dedicated online voting app

With an app, you can set your contest up so that it’s only available to the appropriate audience. For example, you might want to limit voters to a particular country, or make sure that only adults are voting. You can also set up vote limits and fraud controls to make sure that the results are accurate.

And most usefully of all, you can integrate the online voting with other apps. Then you can collect data from voters and even ask people to submit entries to the contest. At one stroke, you’ve collected valuable user-generated content and plenty of sales leads!

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use voting in your marketing campaigns, promotions, and online contests.

Different types of online voting competitions

You can ask people to vote on anything.

Their favorite holiday photo. The funniest video. The best recipe for enchiladas, the slickest new product design, the top suggestion for a new store location.

In any situation where you have multiple options, you can ask people to vote.

great british pie off online voting competition

Voting brings a lot of benefits. For starters, it’s just fun to vote in a contest and then find out whether your favorite won. In business terms, it can also make your audience feel like they have a genuine stake in your brand. And of course, the preferences and personal info that they share will be valuable for your marketing strategy in the days ahead.

Easypromos has a range of apps for almost every kind of online competition – from social media posts to videos, writing competitions to surveys. You always have the option to pick a winner yourself, but in case you want all the benefits of a public vote, the online voting tool is fully integrated with each contest app.


Here’s an example of a video contest that used the tournament bracket voting app. The brand was looking for new influencers, so they chose a video contest to test the participants’ skills.

online voting competition

Then they asked people to vote for the best video in several rounds. As some participants moved onto the next round and others were voted off, the voting was a helpful indicator of which creators could become the most influential.

Video and photo contests are extremely popular with marketing teams because they work so well alongside social media. While the vote encourages lots of people to engage and share, the content in the contest can then be shared on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. 

voting app competition

Just like a video contest, you can collect photo contest entries into a single gallery, then ask people to vote for their favorite images. In this photo contest, people could submit their own images from a virtual photo booth – then share their entries online and encourage their friends to vote.

The same thing applies to writing contests: you can collect reviews, comments, stories, or recipes, then ask people to vote for an overall winner.

But what about situations where you already have the material, and you don’t want to collect any user-generated content?

I’m thinking of marketing campaigns such as surveys, where you’re trying to gauge opinions about different products or services. Some brands even run award campaigns where people can choose – or try to predict – the winners for different categories.

All of these situations work with voting, too. Whenever you have a list of candidates and you want to get more feedback, data, and engagement from your audience, an online voting app can help.

How to prevent fraud in your online voting competition

It takes time and effort to run an online voting competition. You have to curate the list of entries, choose a voting mechanism, design the contest so that it appeals to your audience, and monitor the voting process.

Unfortunately, you also have to watch out for fraud. There’s always a risk that someone will want to game the system – to win a bigger prize, earn more votes or just for bragging rights.

Purpose-built apps such as the Easypromos bracket maker come with a dedicated fraud prevention system

This protection includes:

  • automatic fraud detection, including fake accounts and vote-buying.
  • database of rogue users.
  • captchas and vote verification tools.

With the system in place, you can feel confident that the competition is fair. And, even more importantly, you’ll know that you’re building an audience of real people – not bots.

Collect data from participants and voters

Most marketing teams don’t run competitions just for fun. (That’s just a nice side effect!) 

Instead, they have a goal in mind – whether that’s increasing engagement, learning more about their customers, or motivating their target audience to start shopping.

Online voting competitions offer double the value in terms of engagement and data. Why? Because they have two stages:

  • First, you get engagement and collect data from people who want to enter the competition (for example, by submitting a video).
  • Second, you get engagement and collect data from people who vote on the entries.

vote for an entry

However, you still need a system in place to make the most of this opportunity.

Before the competition kicks off, you should think about what types of information you want to collect: Contact details? Demographic information? Shopping habits? If you’re awarding prizes to entrants and voters, then you’ll also need a way to deliver those rewards, either digitally or through the mail.

All of this data has to be collected and stored in compliance with the European GDPR. Even if your brand is based elsewhere, you may have customers or website visitors from the EU. It’s always easier to follow the regulations just to be on the safe side.

Once again, using a purpose-built app can help. When you use Easypromos voting apps, you can add terms and conditions and a privacy policy for your voters. They’ll also have the choice of whether to opt in to further communications from you. All the data will be kept safely until you choose to use it.

Are you ready to run your next online voting competition? Make sure to contact us in case of any questions or doubts!

Corinna Keefe

Content marketer at Easypromos

Publication date: 2021-05-19