Affiliate marketer’s guide to sweepstakes
In this guide, we breakdown everything you need to know to run a successful sweepstakes campaign with push ads. The sweepstakes vertical is a popular favorite among newcomers for its simple conversion flow and relatively cheap testing. Covering everything from getting the offers to running the campaigns, we show you what you need to get started.
The ins and outs of sweepstakes
Sweepstakes is a term used for the various offers that present users with the opportunity to win a prize in return for a desired action i.e. email or contact entry or subscription. The sweepstakes vertical is one of the more popular verticals in push advertising and it refers to a category of offers including sweepstakes, survey, led generation, and voucher offers. A lot of the sweepstake’s popularity comes from its low level of difficulty and budget required to start. The sweepstakes vertical is widely accepted as being the most newbie-friendly vertical for push ad marketing.
Key advantages of Sweepstakes:
- Very beginner-friendly
- Low starting budget required
- Converts easily
- Mass appeal all year
Industry size and Popular Geos
At Pushground, we receive around half a billion bids a day for sweepstakes campaigns making a widely popular vertical. That being said the biggest Geos are the United States, Europe (FR, DE, GB, ES, IT), Southeast Asia (TH, MY, PH), Saudi Arabia, and India.
Side note: The vertical used to be more dominated by the US and European regions but lately 2 tier countries have started to become more popular.
How has it been affected by COVID-19?
The sweepstakes and contest industry saw a slight decline from the coronavirus pandemic in march but since then it has been continuing to grow. In fact, there were a lot of affiliates that incorporated new covid19 angles into their sweepstakes campaigns to benefit from the situation.
The sweepstakes vertical is known as an evergreen vertical because they are profitable at any time of the year. There is no right or wrong season to run these types of offers. That being said, it is also important to keep on top of trends to help leverage your campaign angles. For example, one of the more popular types of offers, the iPhone giveaway, does much better around events like Apple’s most recent release of the latest iPhone. Although the difference isn’t much, we would also like to point out that we normally receive more conversions (~10%) on the weekends than in the middle of the week. You can take advantage of this by bidding more during the weekends.
Types of offers
There are a few types of sweepstakes in the market but all of these follow the same theme with some differences. They all have some forum or subscription that they need to fill out in order to get the reward. Some need the user to subscribe to services or provide credit card details while others just require a simple email signup.
The four main types of sweepstakes offers are as follows:
SOI: Single opt-in (SOI) sweepstakes with the simplest registration process (you only need to specify your data i.e. email or name submission) are the most basic types of offers. SOI sweeps are some of the easiest converting offers in the industry. But while the conversion rate is high, the payouts are typically the lowest among other sweepstakes types.
DOI: Double opt-in sweepstakes are similar but with a two-way authentication requiring you to confirm through your e-mail (follow the link from the letter that arrives after registration). This is a more difficult option to work, hence the conversion rate is lower but the higher payouts make up for it.
CC Submit: CC submission sweepstakes require the users to enter their credit card details for subscription. Generally, users are very reluctant to leave their bank account or card details, so these types of sweepstakes have the lowest conversion rate. These submissions promise the highest payouts among all sweepstakes and require a lot more effort because you have to setup pre-landers, advanced optimization strategies, spot-on funnel, etc.
Mobile Subscriptions: Mobile Subscription Offers have also been used by some affiliates. These are also known as carrier billing offers. The process involves subscribing to some service for which the payment is periodically charged directly to their mobile phone bill. Such offers are characterized by higher payouts and lower conversion rates because of sensitive information sharing.
The average payout of sweepstakes offers can fluctuate between $0.50 to $40. The SOI offers are normally one the lower end of the spectrum with payouts rarely going beyond the $5 mark. On the other side, you have CC submits and mobile subscriptions which can have much higher payouts. Although the payout is higher, they often prove more difficult for new affiliates.
There are a lot of different angles that sweepstakes can have but by far the most popular are giveaways for things like smartphones, high-value goods, and gift cards. For the creative, you normally want the icon to be something simple that brings the attention of the user to your ad. This can be something like an alert notification Icon or a Present.
Then for the big image, you will want to display the prize or reward. You will want to make sure that your creatives are inline with the offer. In other words, you aren’t showing a picture of an iPhone to a grocery store gift card offer.
For the headline and description, it is best to excite the user with what they have won while at the same time projecting a reason for why they were so lucky. Often the most genuine and realistic angles perform the best. Don’t forget to throw in an emoji or macro for extra attention
Landing pages and pre-landers
The most successful pre-landers and landing pages for sweepstakes help prepare the user to leave their information with interactive games, quizzes, and questionnaires. They not only help get the users active on the page but also build seeds of credibility by making them believe they are uniquely qualified for the reward.
Comment/review sections are also great ways to provide social backing to your offer while countdown times can help create a sense of urgency in the users. Showing the full value of the reward on your landing page also helps to urge users to make the most of this opportunity.
Budgets and Bids
One of the great things about sweepstakes offers is that they require a low starting budget. For low payout offers (<$5) with short conversion flows, you can run a proper test starting at $100. You will want to cut sources when spend equals 3 times the payout with no conversions and if you are unable to get it above -25% ROI after 5x payout (at -25% ROI there is a good chance that you can make the campaign positive). Remember, you normally want to test a handful of offers at a time allowing you to find the most profitable ones while piggybacking ideas and optimization across your campaigns to improve the overall performance.
On average, sweepstakes campaigns use slightly below average bids. This is because, with smaller payouts, you can afford to pay high CPCs like you can for other verticals. That being said, you DO NOT want to just be buying the bottom 5-10% of the traffic.