How to Run an Online Voting Competition with Brackets

Corinna Keefe
Corinna Keefe
Want to create your own March Madness-style tournament? Here's how to use the Easypromos tournament voting app - plus a few ideas and examples to get you started with the bracket maker.

There are lots of reasons why marketers use online contests. They’re an effective way to collect user data, gather user-generated content, drive web traffic and increase engagement.

Out of all the different types of contests, bracket voting competitions are especially popular. Why? Maybe it’s because the excitement stays high all the way through. Once people vote in the first round, they’ll be keen to see how their choice performs in the second, third, and fourth round of the tournament. And all that excitement means more engagement and interaction for your brand!

In this article, we’re going to look at how you can use a bracket voting app to run championship votes and boost your brand. We’ll also cover some tips to make your campaign as successful as it can be!

What are tournament brackets?

Bracket voting systems work just like a sports championship or a knockout tournament. You start out with lots of different entries or competitors, which face off against each other in pairs.

The winner from each pair makes it through to the next round… where they face another challenger. Then the winner of each pair in that second round goes on to the third round. The online voting competition carries on like this until there is a final, single winner.

The “brackets” in the name refer to the brackets that match each pair of entries together. For example, in this diagram, the first “bracket” is purple versus teal. The final bracket – the final round – is purple versus black.

voting competition: brackets

With a bracket maker or bracket voting app, the competition happens through voting. So the winner of each challenge is determined by how many votes they get from the public. 

Here’s a fun example to illustrate the idea: the World Cup of Biscuits.

biscuit bracket on twitter: voting contest

As everyone knows, the British love their biscuits. So in 2017, as part of a charity campaign, the Biscuit World Cup was launched on Twitter. People had to vote for their favorites, eliminating 31 different types of biscuit before the winner was finally chosen.

voting contest: biscuit brackets

The genius of this kind of contest is that people keep returning to your website or promotional page, again and again, in order to vote in the different rounds. It’s a fantastic way to maximize the return on promotion and keep engagement high for weeks at a time. 

Let’s take a look at some of the other ways you could use tournament voting in your marketing campaigns, promotions, and online voting competitions.

Different types of online voting competitions

What kind of competition are you running? You have a lot of options depending on your marketing strategy, preferred social media channels, and target audience.

For example, video contests are very popular with younger audiences who are used to video challenges on TikTok and YouTube. You can set up a video contest app to collect entries from users, and then use a bracket generator to choose the winning entry.

You can also add a bracket voting system to other types of contests. Photo contests have been popular online for years – because they’re easy, fun and provide brands with user-generated content that they can share on social media.

Here’s an example from a brand that makes musical and recording equipment. They challenged customers to share photos of their home studio set-ups.

online voting bracket

After uploading a photo, the real work started. Users had to share the contest with their friends, family and colleagues in order to get as many votes as possible. There were some fantastic entries – but only one photo could win the prize.

You can also run a tournament voting contest with photos from social media. 

Instead of uploading their photos directly to the gallery, people can join the competition by posting photos with a specific hashtag and brand mention.

For example, in this giveaway, people had to share photos with the hashtag #blokkgame and tag @blokk_games. The Mention + Hashtag app automatically collected all the posts in one place so that the voting could begin.

online voting app

Just like in the classic photo contest, users had to share the entries as widely as possible to get more votes. But because they were sharing on social media, the contest also gave the brand a big boost on social networks.

You can use the bracket voting app for almost any kind of contest – videos, reviews, recipes, voting for new products or designs. You could even create your own fantasy football league or film industry awards!

Whenever you want to grow sustained engagement, tournament brackets can help.

Collecting user data with a bracket voting app

There’s another benefit of tournament bracket contests that we’ve only mentioned in passing.

Voting competitions are really useful for collecting user data. Things like contact details, newsletter subscribers, and information about your target audience’s tastes, location, habits, and preferences.

So how do you get all of this information? It’s simple!

Because a tournament contest has multiple voting rounds, the Easypromos app asks voters to log in to register their votes. At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to ask them for a few basic contact details – as well as any other information that might be valuable to you. Then all the data gets stored, securely and privately, until you’re ready to use it.

This can be incredibly valuable in planning your marketing campaigns and learning more about your customers. However, it’s important to only collect the information you need. Don’t ask people for too much, too soon – or it can put them off voting!

More tips for running a bracket voting competition

We’ve talked about how bracket voting works, and the different kinds of contests you can run. Now let’s look at some of the ways you can ensure your promotion’s success.

  • Publicizing the contest. Make sure you share the promotion everywhere: on your website, email newsletter, social media and even in store. 
  • Encourage sharing. Always include a prompt that reminds people to share the competition online. This will help you get more views and votes. You can even offer rewards, such as discount codes, for users who share the contest with their friends and followers.
  • Reward voters. Bracket voting contests are already exciting – people love coming back to see how their favorite has performed in each round. But you can add extra incentives! Run a random prize draw for everyone who votes, or offer a free gift to people who vote a certain number of times.
  • Reduce the fraud risk. Unfortunately, there will always be some people who want to take advantage of open competition. Use the built-in anti-fraud tools of the Easypromos bracket voting app to keep the contest safe, fair, and friendly.

Ready to create your own online voting competition? In case of further questions, you can chat with our support team!