Everything You Need To Know About Online Sweepstakes

Everything You Need To Know About Online Sweepstakes

Find out the legal definition of sweepstakes, what makes them different from other online promotions, and how you can run regulation-compliant sweepstakes that will effectively grow your brand.

When you set out to run an online prize promotion you will be faced with several types of promotions you can run, each with their own definitions, processes, and rules.

The main types of online prize promotions you will come across are raffles, lotteries, contests, and sweepstakes.

Sweepstakes, which are commonly referred to as giveaways, are the most effective type of prize promotion you can run to build awareness and drive real user engagement. We're going to take a look at what exactly a sweepstakes is, what rules govern them, and how they can help you grow your brand.

Defining Sweepstakes

A sweepstakes or giveaway is defined as a type of promotion in which prizes are randomly given away to users who enter the promotion by completing free of charge actions.

For a promotion to be considered a sweepstakes it must include three key features:

  1. The promotion gives participants a chance to win money or a prize with value.
  2. The winners are chosen at random.
  3. Any member of the public can participate without making a purchase or providing other forms of consideration.

Happy Sweepstakes Winner

To put it simply, sweepstakes and giveaways are free-to-enter games of luck. If any of your actions may require a purchase or donation to enter, you must offer a free entry alternative.

This differs from contests, where winners are chosen based on skill or merit, and raffles/lotteries, where people must pay to enter.

Sweepstakes are the ideal type of promotion to run if you want to quickly boost engagement, build awareness, and drive easy but impactful actions.

If you want to drive more involved entries such as answering questions, responding to prompts and even submitting photos or videos you should consider running a contest.

Learn More About Running Contests

Find out the ins and outs of online contests, what rules apply to them, and how you can effectively run your own.

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Sweepstakes Laws & Regulations

The main laws and regulations you need to consider when running a sweepstakes in the US and most other countries are No Purchase Necessary laws. The crux of these laws is that you cannot ask users to make a purchase or provide other forms of consideration in order to enter your sweepstakes.

While these laws generally hold true, some countries like Australia are a bit more lax. Check out our comprehensive look at No Purchase Necessary laws to find out exactly how these laws apply to you:

Lawyer Signing Paper

As well as complying with no purchase necessary rules, there are a few other laws and regulations you need to follow:

  • You have to announce opening and closing dates for submitting entries.
  • You need to disclose when and how winners will be selected, and when prizes will be awarded.
  • You must contact all winning entrants. If a winning entrant doesn't respond to you within a disclosed period of time you can disqualify them from your sweepstakes and redraw a winner.
  • Any member of the public can request for a list of the winners.

Running a Sweepstakes

Running a sweepstakes or giveaway is an incredibly powerful promotional tactic for any business. When you run an online sweepstakes you will be able to gain massive exposure and drive actions that can help you reach any business outcome. Best of all, you can do it all for a fraction of the cost of a traditional marketing campaign.

With Gleam's Competitions app, you can put together your own online sweepstakes that you can use to drive a huge assortment of powerful actions including email sign-ups, social media interactions, webpage visits, social sharing and much, much more.

Take a look at our demo to see what your own sweepstakes could look like:

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