Giveaways? More like give me metrics 🙄

Published 4 months ago • 5 min read

Last week, I talked about content and how it could be killing your brand. Let’s talk about another thing that’s not doing anything for your brand – giveaways.

Admit it, we’ve all hosted giveaways to make the monthly report look better.

Giveaways are self-serving tactics for brands to gain more followers and increase reach, or so they think. I’ve worked on countless giveaways for brands, most against my better judgment, but it was one of those “shut up and make the client happy” moments. Trust your subject matter expert – they know best.

All of this is not to say don’t run giveaways, but they need to have a planned strategy, proper execution, and a purpose.

The purpose needs to be for the community, not your silly little vanity metrics.

I do not enter giveaways because I know what really goes on. When we say “winners selected at random,” we mean “winners strategically picked.” If brands didn’t strategically pick their winners, every bot or spammy giveaway entry account will win.

What’s that going to do for your brand? They’re not going to post that they won or become a brand advocate, they’re out to win every giveaway on the internet. Seriously, it’s a thing.

🚫 Don’t require excessive actions for entry

Take a look at the example from last week’s issue: Scrub Daddy x R+Co. I love both brands, I would never think about them together, ever. Sure, scrub your kitchen, scrub your scalp, but come on – this is Stretch Armstrong.

These are two VERY different audiences that have no business blending. Sure, maybe R+Co ladies clean, I do. But Scrub Daddy followers…not R+Co’s target audience.

Can we take a second to mention that both brands have production teams and we really threw Spongey in a sink with a Lowe’s background? That’s all we are capable of? Why isn’t the giant sponge introducing this random ashell giveaway in a fun video?

• Like this post – AKA we need engagement

• Comment something frivolous – AKA, we need more engagement

• Bonus – whatever the bonus is, it’s fake, and it’s for engagement

In this case, sharing your story is the bonus entry, and you need to know:

• NO ONE tracks this

• You CAN NOT see shares or posts from PRIVATE ACCOUNTS

It’s all for ~*EnGagEmENt*~

Most giveaways will say something along the lines of “tag a friend, friends, 3 accounts, 10 accounts, every account is an additional entry.”

No, every comment is “additional engagement” for the brand, NO ONE is counting how many times you commented. This isn’t engagement at all. it’s Your friend doesn’t want to be tagged, and they’re not going to enter the giveaway because you tagged them. You’re bugging them.

This giveaway received 2,558 comments (their other posts average less than 50) and yielded only ONE WINNER. ONE?! That’s all two major brands can afford to give away?

Is this starting to make sense yet?

To summarize, giveaways really mean: boosting our numbers so the C-suite is happy and the monthly report looks good, but don’t expect us to reply to a single entrant in the comments because who cares about the community?

If the sponge has hair, we have product issues. This makes no sense.

👎The Downside of Giveaways for Brands:

Metrics: Eventually, you will lose followers, and your reports will show that. You’ll lose followers because the people who entered to win aren’t your audience, they just want free stuff. Now you have to explain the constant decline in followers and whatever other vanity metric you’ve deemed important to report on.

Don’t you even dare turn into the person who uses “the algorithm” or “because of the giveaway” for every declining month following.

Fake accounts: Almost the SECOND after you create a giveaway, fake accounts with handles very similar to yours are created, and they’re DMing everyone who has entered that they’ve won or need to DM their credit card info to claim the prize, etc. Happens every single time. The client freaks out every single time. “Call Instagram! Tell them it’s fake and get it taken down.” Lol, no, not possible, I told you this was going to happen.

And honestly, people fall for it. People also DM your account 100,000 times a day, letting you know there are fakes out there. Did you want engagement? There you go – your DMs are now blowing up with things you already know about.

Do you know how many times I’ve told a friend or acquaintance to enter a giveaway because I know they could use whatever it was in their life, or all of my entrants sucked because they’re spam, private, or irrelevant accounts that I know won’t publicly be excited about winning (word of mouth)?


Think about your user behavior on Instagram. Do you enter giveaways? Have you ever won? (If you say yes, I know who you are, and I know what you “won” 😂) Do you EVER comment on a brand’s Instagram? No, you might like it and keep scrolling without reading the caption, but the real winner for brands is when you screenshot, save, or share – yet no one wants to measure those metrics. Social media isn’t social.

I didn’t see R+Co or Scrub Daddy comment on a single post. Also, sorry, Scrub Daddy and R+Co, I truly love both of you, but you’re top of mind because this is obnoxious. I can’t think of a single giveaway from any brand that made me say, “damn, that’s good, I should replicate that.”

Remember when I talked about surprise and delight? What brands should be doing after a giveaway is posting a promo code or something that is exciting for the community – to everyone. If you host a contest, DM the runners-up with a special promo code just for them or even better, send a big box of product and swag to their door – THEY WILL BE SO EXCITED!

To truly resonate with your audience, prioritize meaningful interactions and value-driven content that cultivates a community that transcends traditional metrics. Certainly, I could tell you step by step how to host a meaningful giveaway, but I have to earn a living too, and I get paid to strategically craft giveaways and partnerships for brands.

You’ve been given what not to do and why – take that and go do something great – or skip giveaways altogether!

See you next Wednesday – and let me know if you see a great giveaway in the wild!



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