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How to Create

an Online Competition or Awards 



Learn how to create an online contest or competition, for photo competitions, video competitions, awards, events, talent scouting and much more.



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Online competition Lifecycle

Online competitions have grown significantly in popularity over the past couple of years particularly due to COVID19.

While online competitions have always been used heavily by marketing teams to help increase brand awareness and source contacts, it is the skills based competitions which have increased in numbers significantly. These involve participants submitting content that voters or adjudicators score based on the skill demonstrated in the participants submission.


Skills based competitions can be used to replace or augment physical events. Examples include arts competitions, sporting competitions, pitch and entrepreneur competitions, speech competitions, talent shows, auditioning and more.


When setting up a skills-based competition there are multiple steps and phases in the process you need to consider and manage.

Steps for how to create an online competition



Submission information

The first thing to consider when collecting submissions is what information you want to collect. You need to strike the right balance between the information required to identify and assess the participants submission and ensuring that not too much information is requested so it does not create a barrier to entry.


As a rule of thumb, we recommend requesting only essential personally identifiable information e.g. Email and name.

The remaining submission information should be focused on the content that demonstrates the skill of the entrant.


This would typically include:

  • Video(s) or Photo(s) (depending on the type of event)

  • Entry title to summarise the submission

  • Description to describe in more detail the submission

  • Other information that is critical for voters or judges to assess the submission


While it is tempting to ask for lots of information, the more you ask for the more likely people will not enter the contest. This not only goes for the manually typed information but also in relation to the files requested.


For example, if you are asking for videos, ensure they are short and engaging and that you stress that professionally mastered videos are not required (unless the quality of the video is a key assessment criteria).


Categories are a great way to split up your submissions. This can help on multiple fronts. Firstly, it will make it easier to filter and view submissions for both voters and judges.


Secondly it can also provide you with an opportunity to implement different skills based assessments based on the category of the submissions and then providing different prizes based on category. Great examples are splitting entries based on either age, grade or experience.

Submission categories



Submission approval

It goes without saying that if you are presenting submissions in a public gallery then we would always recommend including an approval step before accepting each entry into your gallery.

This is critical for removing inappropriate submissions.

It can also be a good first step to weed out any submissions that do not fit the minimum criteria of the competition.

When an entry is approved or rejected an email should also be sent stating the next steps for the contest. You can also use this an opportunity to provide brand or promotional type messaging.

Group 5.png

When submissions are received you then need to decide whether you want to display them in a gallery. A gallery could be made public or to a private group. When publishing a gallery you need to decide:


  • What information do you want displayed in the gallery?

  • What order do I want the entries to appear in?

  • What type of gallery do I want to display?


The information to display is extremely important as this will be used to help viewers and voters identify and engage with the submission. The information could include submission title, name, description, category, etc. as well as which videos, photos and other files you want displayed with each submission. You also need to be careful to not expose information that may be deemed personal or private unless the intent is for that information to be exposed as part of the contest. This includes potentially private files such as consent form, proof of identity files, etc.


The order of the gallery can also be important. Do you want entries ordered by receive date, votes, engagement or do you want it randomized?  The style of gallery should also match the type of content you are collecting. If you are collecting images then a mosaic style gallery will be best suited as it will allow photos taken in different aspect ratios to be displayed beautifully. Whereas if you are collecting videos a more uniform 16:9 aspect ratio gallery such as seen on YouTube may be more desirable.


You should also define whether the gallery is to be presented as a leader board or just a standard browsing gallery. Leader boards are fantastic particularly for showing the top 6 or 10 submissions based on votes to encourage entrants to garner more votes.

Submission gallery



People's choice voting

Next is to decide whether you want winners to be determined by the public (or broader private group). Many contests will use this as an element for selecting winning entries such as a people’s choice award. Voting differs to judging in that voting has strict rules around how many votes can be submitted to entries via configured rules.


This is because typically voters will select a single or small subset of entries that they are interested in voting for. On the contrary Judging entries involves a panel of adjudicators who are focused on providing an assessment across all submissions assigned to them.

Group 6.png

If you have determined that you want people to vote for submissions you need to decide whether you want to run one or more rounds of voting.


A common scenario is to run multiple rounds where the top voted submissions from the preceding round are progressed to the next round. This allows you to create an open round for all submissions and then finalist rounds for highest scored submissions. The number of rounds largely depends on the number of submissions you expect to receive, however using multiple rounds is a great way to re-engage voters over a longer period.

Voting periods



Identifying voters

Once you understand the period and number of vote rounds you want to run, the second step to running a fair voting process is to determine how you want to identify voters. There are different options available such as by IP address, email address, social account authentication or platform authentication (ContestPad supports the abilily for users to create an account).


We find that email validation is the most cost effective and sure way of authenticating voters. This involves requesting an email address when someone votes and then providing a unique link to the voter’s inbox that they must select in order to validate the voters identity



Voting rules

The last step is to managing vote fairness is to determine how often someone can vote for the same submission and how many submissions a voter can vote for. You may also decide to limit the number of votes per voting round or per category if you are wanting a people’s choice winner per category.


Voter Information

It goes without saying that if you are presenting submissions in a public gallery then we would always recommend including an approval step before accepting each entry into your gallery.

This is critical for removing inappropriate submissions.

It can also be a good first step to weed out any submissions that do not fit the minimum criteria of the competition.

When an entry is approved or rejected an email should also be sent stating the next steps for the contest. You can also use this an opportunity to provide brand or promotional type messaging.

Group 2.jpg


Judging Panels

Many competitions require that the skill of the entrant be evaluated either in part or wholly based on the assessment from a skilled judge. Using well respected or celebrity-based judges in the field that the competition is focused is also a great way to boost submissions. To setup judging you need to determine some key aspects.


Firstly who are going to be your judges and how and what submissions are going to be allocated to judges.

You may want multiple judges assessing the same entries or you may want to distribute submissions to separate individuals or groups of judges. You could even decide to distribute submissions of specific categories to judges who may be more specialised in that category of submission.


Secondly you need to determine how you want your entries to be assessed. Typically, there are two main methods.


Assessment rating: This includes either a single rating or multiple assessment criteria (e.g. a RUBRIC) ratings. The number of criteria you choose greatly depends on the depth of assessment you want to conduct per submission. This may be influenced also by the volume of submissions each judge needs to assess. Rating based assessments are normally conducted earlier in the judging process particularly if there are multiple rounds of judging.


Ranking: This involves judges making a comparison assessment between multiple submissions that have been presented to each judge and allowing them to rank the submissions from favourite to least favourite.

This type of assessment is more commonly used for later rounds when the number of submissions progressed from previous rounds have been reduced to a more manageable number of submissions. This allows judges to compare submissions more easily between each other.


Once your rounds have been scored by all judges the scores should be tallied for each submission and then ordered to determine winners or submissions that will progress to the next round.

Group 11.jpg


Announcing winners

Now that your submissions have been scored by either voting and/or judging it is time to select your winners.

Winners are obviously aligned to your awards. Awards can be a combination of either votes or judges score. If an award is solely based on the voting then this would be typically be something like a people’s choice award of some type. If you voting involves some kind of fundraising then the entry with the most votes may be based on the submission that raised to most donations.

Judged award winners are typically more aligned to the quality and skill of the submission.


Regardless how you are determining your winning submissions we would always recommend thinking about rewarding participants based on the key objectives you are trying to achieve. For example if list building is a key goal then reward entrants that received the vote unique votes. If it is about the capture of reusable content for your own purposes e.g. educational or marketing purposes then a judged submission may carry more weigth in the selection of winners.


It is also important to ensure you have enough rewards to encourage participation particularly when there will be a large number of submissions. The more participants feel there is a good chance of winning the competition the more likely they are to enter the contest.

Find out how it works!


Accept payments for entry

Accept payment for votes

Secure payment gateway integration

Receipt emails

Transaction management

Sponsor options



Facebook, Twitter, Google+ sharing

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Google+

Capture entrant social details

Custom social share messages 

Social voting gateway


Moderate registration, entries and comments

Automated moderation notifications


Judging round periods

Rating, ranking or assessment criteria

Judging groups

Dedicated judge scoring site

Judge progress indicators


Public voting with fraud detection

Limit number of voting entries and votes

Defined voting period

Social and email voting gateways

Use all sorts of metrics to score entries

Export, analyze and remove suspected fraudulent votes


Beautiful pre-made templates

Support multiple languages

Change colours, images and copy

Include explainer videos and counters

Social sharing widgets

Custom entry and registration fields

Full customization using the code editor

Capture multiple files per entry

     Email Notifications

Notifications for contest events

Customize all messages

Enable or disable any messages

Integrate with Mailgun or own mailserver

     YouTube Integration

Save videos into your designated channel

Replicated status control

Automated links back to your contest

Retrieve YouTube analytics


Users, groups and group security

Limit access to contest and entrants 

Full user registration process

Import users from other systems

IP Whitelisting


Full site analytics


Video engagements

Device type detection

Social analytics

Link to other analytics such as Google


Full mobile responsive 

Direct integration with mobile camera

Capture entries from mobile library


Capture entrant and voter details

Export data to CSV 

Download all entries and entry data

Understand user behaviour


Supports all video and image formats

Streamed encoding

Adaptive streaming 

Multiple bitrates optimized per device

Original format also stored 

Check out our features

You are in good company

Whether you are planning an internal staff, a public branding or social awareness contest or application review process we have all the tools you’ll need, all in one place.

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Our simple ContestPad plans are made for everyone

It is the ultimate online video contest application

Launchpad6 makes it easier than ever to create and share video content and online competitions with our unique, easy-to-use software.

Sign up for a FREE trial today to see why so many brands use our app to further their success.





All ENTRY options plus

No LP6 branding

Notifications editor

Theme code editor

Custom URL

Custom watermarks

50GB storage

...and more





All STANDARD options plus

Users and Groups

Advanced scoring

Judging panels

Customisation services

100GB Storage

1080p video quality

...and more





All ADVANCED options plus

Payment Gateway

API integration

200GB Storage

360 Video

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