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How We Increased Conversions by 700% Using Giveaways to Capture Leads

Incentivibe contest widget
Click for full-size image

For years, online marketers have regularly used giveaway contests as a buzz-creating strategy. However, according to our research at Incentivibe, giveaway contests have another powerful benefit that marketers have rarely utilized: Giveaway contests have the ability to convert daily targeted visitors into email subscribers and leads.

Think about it, when was the last time you ran a contest on your regular landing pages to boost your lead conversions and build your email list? In this blog post, I’ll discuss our research results using giveaway contests as a lead conversion strategy, and the eight tests that we conducted to optimize this strategy.

The Test:

Before we delve into the details, here are some important points to help you understand our giveaway-as-a-conversion-strategy research:

  • Data: We analyzed 3 million visitors from 100 of our client websites between the period of March 15, 2013 and April 15, 2013.
  • No announcement: The giveaway contests ran only on individual client’s landing pages – they were not featured or announced elsewhere. This ensured that only the targeted organic/paid traffic saw and converted from these contests.
  • Call to action: Each contest asked visitors for their name and email to either subscribe to their newsletter or stay in touch.
  • Shared Prize: These clients used our shared-contest-prize service to offer a $500 contest prize for a minimal cost, and put our black contest widget with their name as the co-sponsor.

The Result

increase email leads by 700 Percent
Landing pages with a contest collect 700% more email subscribers

The increase in email leads due to the contest was predictable, but the magnitude of the increase was astounding. We discovered that landing pages that ran a contest with a $500 prize collected 700% more email subscribers than landing pages with no contests. You can read more research conclusions here.

The 8 factors that increased conversions from 200% to 700%

The most intriguing part of this research was not only the end result, but the journey. When we ran these contests for the first time, email subscriptions increased by 200%. How did we reach 700%? We tested and optimized eight different factors that bumped the average increase in email subscribers to 700%.

Test 1: The Month Effect

Have you ever come across a contest, only to question when it began and when it will end? It is one of the most common pieces of information that is left out of contests and one of the reasons why people won’t enter. The result in our research reinforced this point. When we specified the month of the contest on the widget, our conversion rate increased by an astounding 40%.

Increase conversions from 200% to 700%: Incentivibe The Month Effect

Contests that specify a month receive 40% more email subscribers.
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Test 2: The Promotion Labeling Effect

Is “giveaway ” the same as a “sweepstake” in an online visitor’s mind? Do people respond more to “promotions”? In our research, the word “giveaway” was the winner. It resulted in 27% more conversions than the word “sweepstake” and 50% more conversions than the word “promotion.”

Incentivibe Promotion Labeling Effect

The word “giveaway” gets 27% more conversions than “sweepstakes.”
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Test 3: The “Like-gating” Effect

Isn’t everyone logged onto their Facebook account pretty much all the time? Doesn’t it seem that getting a Facebook like would be a more frictionless action than requesting a visitor to type their email address? Not so fast…

In our research, the contest widget that simply asked for a visitor’s email address, got 80% more email subscribers than the widget that asked visitors to like a Facebook page to access the contest (a.k.a. like-gating).

Granted, that a decrease in email subscribers makes sense for the like-gating widget since we erected a like wall. However, the magnitude of the decrease was very surprising, given that the widget also gave visitors a clear path to bypass the like wall.

Unbounce saw a similar trend when they let people pay for their ebook with a tweet or with an email. The A/B test found a 24% conversion lift when asking for an email. Read the full case study with Oli’s psychological conclusions here.

Increase conversions from 200% to 700%: Incentivibe Like-Gating Effect

Facebook likes can decrease email subscribers significantly.
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Test 4: The Location Effect

Do visitors focus more on the left or the right area of a website? We read from the left, but scroll and sign in from the right. This is one of the trickiest web behaviors, and results vary for different call to actions.

In the case of a giveaway contest, when the contest widget was placed on the bottom-right, it increased email subscriptions by a whopping 125% than when the contest widget was placed on the bottom-left.

Increase conversions from 200% to 700%:  Incentivibe Location Effect

A contest placed on the bottom right increased email subscriptions by 125%
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Test 5: The Stating-The-obvious Effect

This test reminded us of the importance of stating the obvious to remind online visitors that a specific action will in fact be very quick.

For the first few days, we used the words “Submit” or “Enter” as the button text for contest entry. We assumed that visitors would look at the contest form and understand that clicking “enter” will finish the entry process. However, when we changed the button text to “Enter in seconds”, the number of email subscribers increased by 33%. This Unbounce post teaches you how to write effective CTA copy & increase conversions. In addition, Unbounce always preaches that you should “Never Submit” when it comes to your CTA copy.

Incentivibe Stating The Obvious Effect

“Enter in seconds” gets 33% more email subscribers than “enter.”
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Test 6: The Image Effect

Shouldn’t an image that fails to communicate the message of a $500 prize, lead to lower conversions than a message in big text that clearly conveys a chance to win a $500 prize?

It turns out that this is not the case and that simply having an image, no matter how poor or irrelevant, leads to higher conversions. The contest widget that had the fuzzy image collected 22% more email subscribers than the widget that had big text and no image.

When making snap judgements about “facts,” researchers have found that photos (even irrelevant photos) increase our likelihood to accept them as true. This study was featured in an Unbounce blog post teaching you how to use images to increase your conversions.

Incentivibe Image Effect

Fuzzy images gets 22% more contest conversions than big font text.
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Test 7: The branding effect

Should you have your business name on a widget that has limited space for marketing copy? In our research, when the contest widget stated the name of the contest holder in the header, the conversion rate increased by 28%.

Incentivibe Branding Effect

Including a company name increases contest conversions by 28%.
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Test 8: The not-so-dominant lightbox effect

Is a lightbox as almighty as everyone claims it to be?

The answer is yes, but with one key exception. Yes, the lightbox increased conversions by 62% overall, but it actually led to a decrease of 20% in businesses that were in the fashion/indie clothing industry. Again, many factors are at play here, but I think businesses in this industry tend to have more design-focused websites and a lightbox was probably unsettling to their design-centric audience.

Incentivibe Lightbox Effect

Lightbox decreases conversions by 20% in fashion industry.
» Tweet This «


What’s next?

If your marketing team has not utilized the giveaway-as-a-conversion strategy, I strongly recommend that you try it out to see how it impacts your conversions.

I hope this research benefits your online marketing goals. If you have any other questions or feedback, I am only a tweet away at @adeelv. Also, feel free to reach out to me at adeel [at] incentivibe.com

I’d also love to hear your thoughts about the results in the comments section!

— Adeel Vanthaliwala


About Adeel Vanthaliwala
Adeel Vanthaliwala is the Co-founder of Incentivibe, a service that helps businesses offer big contest prizes for a fraction of the prize cost via Incentivibe’s business-to-business cost-sharing program.
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Comments:

  1. Denyse Drummond-Dunn (@Denysech)

    Thanks Adeel for some amazing facts and clear explanations of why things worked.
    I’m off to sign up for Incentivibe to check out my own possibilities, I could do with a bigger email list, couldn’t we all?!

    Reply
  2. Steve eMailSmith

    Hi Adeel!

    I truly liked #5 – makes a lot of sense when you come to think of it. I’m going to test on one of my own subscription forms right away and compare the results.

    Thanks, you gave me a lot of new ideas for split-testing (which I am guilty of overdoing sometimes, but heh…)

    Cheers!
    ~ Steve

    Reply
    • Adeel Vanthaliwala

      Cool – do share the results if you can. You can email me at adeel at incentivibe … I’d love to see how this test holds up in different settings.

      Reply
  3. J. M. White

    Awesome A/B testing! Thanks for sharing the results. You’ve saved me a TON of time (not that I wouldn’t still test but the insights you’ve shared are great)!

    Beyond the points you’ve shared however, I’m rather interested in the shared contest idea. What a great way to increase awareness, social engagement and add subscribers. I’ve been trying to come up with a handful of contests we could run, but this is great! We might just have to sign up and give it a shot!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Kory Prince

    Great article as per usual from Unbounce. You really do an excellent job at content marketing.

    Reply
  5. Will Mitchell

    Awesome company, I’m setting up a contest to test as we speak!

    Reply
    • Adeel Vanthaliwala

      Thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to hearing your feedback. Lots of new features are being added to increase email subscribers for our clients.

      Reply
  6. John

    Another great post, so much awesome content coming out of this blog. Hope the investment is paying off :)

    Reply
  7. Marketing Day: June 5, 2013

    […] How We Increased Conversions by 700% Using Giveaways to Capture Leads, Unbounce […]

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  10. Ben Jeffery

    Really useful to see this used in a real situation, thanks. Will definitely be trying this for our clients.

    Reply
    • Adeel Vanthaliwala

      Thanks Ben,

      We have a special service for people like you to make sure your clients get a very seamless on-boarding experience. We can also talk about rev-share if you like. Feel free to contact me on adeel at incentivibe.com

      Thanks

      Reply
  11. Friday Catch-up! Most Important News and Posts about SEO and Online Marketing this Week - Promodo Blog

    […] Internet marketing experts say that giveaways are effective when you want to grab leads. These leads automatically mean more conversions, and so they claim that giveaways result in an increase in conversions. Customers still find giveaways appealing, which is a positive sign. It tells us that people are using the internet and internet marketers are not wasting their time. You can read more about this at Unbounce. […]

    Reply
  12. Omar Martin

    Hi Adeel – I’m curious to know what contest software you were using?

    Reply
    • Adeel Vanthaliwala

      We used our own tool.

      Our service provides prizes, contest tool, contest terms, prize distribution and winner announcement service in one plan.

      Feel free to to email me at adeel at incentivibe.com

      Reply
  13. Rhode Island Web Design

    One excellent (and practical) way to increase your website conversion rate is to add consumer reviews to your store

    Reply
  14. Asad Zaman Khan

    Thanks Dear for publishing and sharing this. I am going to start very soon giveaways serious on my blogs. I am sure, these tricks and tips will really help me to get more visitors.
    Thanks.
    Regards!

    Reply
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  18. Kristian

    Nice article. Will definitely try out some of the tips.

    Reply
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  21. Bradders

    What a terrfic round up of conversion increasing facts. I will certainly be able to use these tweaks to help my conversions. Thanks!

    Reply
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  23. Atiq Chaudhry

    I am happy to found this helpful article. Nice work keep it up bro

    Reply
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  31. richard

    its quite useful for our website http://www.completegate.com/?ref=ishan

    Reply
  32. Randall Magwood

    “Contests that specify a month receive 40% more email subscribers.”

    Didn’t know that the addition of 1 little word could boost response. I’m coming up with ways to implement this in my lead generation efforts too.

    Reply
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  35. hiren

    Hi Adeel
    very nice article very helpful with me. i really want to try one time for my website. thanks for sharing.

    Reply
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  41. Opinión de Borja

    Great tests. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  42. jennybruger

    Thanks for your post which is truly informative for us and we will surely keep visiting this website. We are also in same industry and welcome you to visit our website

    Reply
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  45. Malik

    useful to see this used in a real situation, thanks. Will definitely be trying this for our clients.

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  46. shoukath

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