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What is the Best Duration to Run a Competition?

Last updated: April 1, 2021

While there's no magic number for the perfect campaign duration, here are some factors to consider:

Contests Should Run for Longer than Sweepstakes

It takes more time & effort to submit contest entries compared to sweepstakes/giveaway entries, because entrants need to take time to capture photos or videos, write a photo caption or craft an essay. You should offer sufficient time for contestants to submit their best work.

Number of Winners and Total Prize Value

To make the most of your campaign, ideally you would run the campaign until you cover the prize value investment. The opposing factor is engagement. The longer you run a campaign for, engagement rates are likely to go down because entrants don't feel a sense of urgency to enter.

Competition users often see waves of engagement at the beginning and end of their campaigns, particularly if they are well promoted. This is caused by a sense of novelty and urgency.

To create more waves of engagement, we recommend setting up multiple winners throughout the campaign (if you have multiple prizes) so you can create more opportunities for entrants to interact with the event. You can also use this opportunity to drive more hype by engaging with entrants about winner draws throughout the campaign.

With the increased engagement on social media, you can safely run your Competitions for longer without the risk of your campaign going obscure.

Existing Audience To Promote To

It goes without saying that if you have a large audience to promote to, then the campaign will sustain itself through viral shares or active engagement from your followers. If you're just starting out or launching a new business, it can be really difficult to sustain that promotion effort on your own, let alone on a month-long Competition campaign.

Which brings us to the next point...

How Much Time and Effort to Commit for Promotion

Promotion is the cornerstone of a successful campaign. If no one sees your campaign, they simply won't enter it. The best thing you can do is increase the number of impressions on social media.

A promotion strategy & calendar will help you promote consistently and determine the perfect duration to run your Competition. You'll get a good idea of how much content you have on the promotion queue and how long you could go on promoting the campaign.

Here's a sample structure:

  • First 3 days of the campaign: Promote the new event on social media, announce to mailing list
  • Every alternative day for campaign duration: Promote the prizes to make it desirable (benefits, influencers who use the product/service, unboxing reviews)
  • Middle of campaign: Distribute secret codes, bonus entries or coupons to create waves of engagement
  • 1 week/3 days/1 day before the campaign is over: Promote last-minute entries through social media & mailing list (you can add new actions here to increase engagement)

Test & Log Campaign Durations

At the end of the day, the best duration for a Competition will depend on your actual experience. If you intend to run more than one campaign, we suggest keeping a log of your campaign performances and comparing them over time.

More Tips to Promote Your Campaign

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Take advantage of globally trending #hashtags of the day, especially if you can relate them to your campaign or prizes.

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Send traffic to a microsite (like our hosted landing pages) so users can focus on entering your campaign. You can further curate brand awareness by developing an email funnel for contest entrants.

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If you're running the campaign for over a month, consider using paid ads to tap into new audiences & help sustain your engagement rates. You can also use this opportunity to A/B test prize images & copy.

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