5 Things to consider to Run a Successful Video Contest

Updated: May 18, 2019


Did you know that on an average, running an online contest campaign helps you acquire 34% more fans? Another interesting fact is that more people are consuming video content than ever before. In fact, video traffic was 69% of all consumer internet traffic in 2017. Put these two stats together and the one thing seems obvious — online video contests are a great way to build a following for your brand.

While an online contest is a great way to get new fans and engage existing ones, you need to consider key aspects carefully.


Since most of your marketing focus will be on this one contest for at least 2-3 months, it’s important that the planning and execution are just right. In this article, we list out 5 key things you should not ignore if you want your contest to be a success.


Make sure you have clear goals


A sure-fire way to sabotage your video contest is by not outlining your goals clearly enough. It’s not enough to create a contest and give away free stuff. You need to know what the overall purpose of the contest is. It could be anything from building brand awareness to getting more subscribers to increasing your social media followers to gaining exposure for new products.


Your larger goal should determine how you go about planning the contest. For instance, if your aim is to get exposure for new products, the contest should ask for user-generated videos that show the product being used. The good thing about pre-decided goals is that they can be easily tracked and analyzed to make sure you’re the contest is going well. In fact, video competition platforms even allow you to use analytics to track your performance and generate insights. Without outlining your goals, you won’t be in a position to gauge whether the contest was a success or not. This will make it very difficult to convince people to invest time and money in another contest.

Don’t Ignore trends and seasons


One of the worst things you can do while planning a video contest is to completely ignore the latest trends and seasons. Most successful video contests are planned around seasonal occasions or the newest fashion and lifestyle trends. For instance, a sunscreen brand might start a social media video contest at the start of summer where users share their tips on taking care of their skin in the sun. Similarly, a bourbon brand may start a video contest during Christmas, asking users to share their favourite egg nog recipes.


Ignoring trends is another common mistake you need to avoid. Incorporating the latest trends in your video contest can bring in an element of virality that can make it an overnight success. For instance, you could have users doing the latest dance move or singing along to the latest song.

Companies that ignore the opportunities afforded by the latest trends and seasons run the risk of organizing video contests that all seem similar and staid.

Make sure your rules are clear and not ambiguous


A big no-no when it comes to online contests is a lack of clarity about the rules. This is a mistake many rookie marketers end up making. Unless the contest is clear and easy to understand, people will not participate. Ambiguous and unnecessarily complex rules confuse prospective participants. Make sure the basics are mentioned everywhere; from the dates for entry to how the contestants can participate to how the winner will be chosen.


Using a video competition platform to set up the contest will allow you to enter all the rules including your own upload and voting periods, choosing who can enter or access the contest, imposing voting restrictions and internal judging rounds, and customising your engagement scoring. It’s not just enough to have clarity on the rules. It’s also important to explain these rules as clearly as possible on all the platforms where you promote the contest. If your users know the fine print beforehand, they will have greater trust and participate with more enthusiasm.

Don’t limit the scope of your contest


Most often, marketers restrict the scope of their contest to their immediate goals — increasing followers, getting more subscribers, etc. However, to make the most out of your video contest, you need to see beyond the immediate goal. Contests can often be an indirect way of getting into your consumers’ heads. It can become a way for you to understand their tastes and preferences. This is especially important when you’re using a video contest to launch a new product. The consumer insights you gain from the contest can help you market and sell the product on a larger scale.

For instance, if your product is a multi-purpose cooking ingredient you could ask users to send videos of the different ways in which it can be used. This can help you generate invaluable insights for your sales and marketing pitch.

Keep it simple or make it hard — but make a clear choice


There are only two kinds of contests; those that are incredibly hard and have a strong barrier to entry, and those which are ridiculously easy and which anyone can participate in. The former makes the contest aspirational, while the latter encourages widespread participation.


The kind of contest you choose to run will depend on your brand voice and your marketing goals. You need to decide early on which category you want to belong to and stick to it. There’s no middle ground here. For instance, GoPro recently launched a video contest in association with PADI, aimed at capturing the best scuba diving moments. Obviously, this contest has a high barrier to entry and is designed to be aspirational.


A video contest, when done right, can bring you visibility and brand recognition like very few other digital marketing campaigns can. At the same time, a video contest going wrong means a major waste of time and money at best, and damage to your brand’s reputation at worst. That’s why you need to make sure both strategy and execution are as close to flawless as possible. Using a video contest platform can help you automate several parts of the process and make things flow more smoothly.


Thinking about running your own contest? Contact us and we will help you out.

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