Giveaways: what they are and how to use them to sell online

Giveaways: what they are and how to use them to sell online

Editorial team Published on 9/9/2022

Giveaways: what they are and how to use them to sell online

Brands are increasingly at ease with digital communication and using social networks, and are now starting to transfer various well-established offline marketing strategies to the online world, giving these tools extra creativity and a new lease of life. One such strategy is undoubtedly using giveaways, which are being rolled out increasingly frequently on Instagram and other social networks. But what exactly are they?

In the first part of the article, we’ll begin by explaining what giveaways are. The following sections will be dedicated to a few examples of giveaways on Instagram. Then, finally, we’ll look at how to organise your own giveaway effectively.

What is a giveaway?

A giveaway is a quick-to-enter competition organised by brands that rewards their users, fans and customers with various prizes and gifts.

They are usually free of charge, since if payment is required to enter, legally they then become a lottery, subject to legal regulations.

The prizes or awards on offer in a giveaway can vary enormously: for example, a limited-edition custom t-shirt marking the occasion, a holiday or weekend away, tickets for a concert sponsored by the company, signed works, and so on. In some cases, the rewards can be intangible things, such as attending a broadcast or spending a day with a famous influencer.

Basically, giveaways allow brands to get really creative choosing how to reward their fans!

How giveaways work

And it’s not just the rewards up for grabs that brands get creative with, but also how their giveaways are run, both online and offline. In this article, however, we’ll be focusing mostly on competitions promoted online and on social media.

Giveaway: what it means
A wrapped present: the meaning of giveaway

The aim of giveaways on Instagram and other social networks tends to be increasing engagement, i.e. pushing users to interact with the brand’s posts, to improve the reach and ranking both of the posts themselves and the company profile in general.

Users are therefore often asked to interact with the content by carrying out an action, for example posting a comment – perhaps a hashtag or a personalised answer to a question – or, much more proactively, publishing a photo on their profile while tagging the brand and mentioning other users.

Different types of giveaway

For convenience’s sake, we can divide giveaways up into several different types:

  • Everyone wins. Here there is no single winner, but anyone participating in the contest – for example by interacting with a post or publishing a photo – gets a reward.
  • Fastest wins. Only the first people to take part in the contest receive a prize, rewarding the brand’s most loyal fans.
  • The guesser wins. Usually seen in contests with a quiz element: only the first to give a correct answer receive a reward.
  • The public decides. Here the public chooses who wins the prize via likes on social media or a specially built website.
  • Prize draw. A time limit is given for taking part, after which the winners are drawn randomly from all users who performed the requested action.

In any case, when organising a giveaway and the marketing that goes with it, it is always good to focus on the emotional side, choosing a reward or action that most effectively connects users with the brand narrative.

What do giveaways achieve?

Like other promotional tools, giveaways are useful for increasing brand awareness – how well the public knows your brand. But they can also help with more specific goals:

  • Generating new leads – or collecting contacts to use in future remarketing campaigns
  • Increasing website traffic for giveaways linked to a web platform
  • Increasing the number of fans and followers on the brand’s social media channels, for giveaways carried out exclusively on social networks
  • Increasing sales

In general, giveaways generate excellent engagement rates without needing sponsorships or paid campaigns. In addition, they also produce an emotional narrative framework that provides entertainment for the brand’s audience.

What do giveaways on Instagram achieve?
Instagram notifications: what do giveaways achieve?

For this reason, in terms of cost-benefit analysis, they are often considered extremely useful marketing tools.

Examples of giveaways on Instagram

Taking inspiration from what other brands do is always an excellent starting point if you want to work out the rules of the game and hone your own marketing tools. With this in mind, here are some excellent examples of giveaways on Instagram, organised by a variety of large, medium-sized and small brands.

Major brand giveaways: World Nutella Day

There is no doubt at all that Nutella is a major brand: indeed, it is one of the best-known brands in the world. For World Nutella Day, the brand’s American Instagram channel launched a special giveaway.

Users were asked to post a video showing how they spread the famous chocolate and hazelnut cream. Naturally, the videos had to be posted on Instagram with certain hashtags, with 25 Apple Watches up for grabs.

Mastri Birrai Umbri: a giveaway for everyone, on one condition

During the 2021 football European Championships, the brand Mastri Birrai Umbri launched a giveaway on Instagram linked to Italy’s victories, aiming to generate leads.

Users subscribed to the newsletter were given a €5 coupon every time the Italian national team won. An excellent  emotional framework for the giveaway!

Growold Barcelona: a shop wanting to increase its fan base

Giveaways are not just for major brands – quite the opposite, in fact! Because they are very cheap, they are also accessible for small and medium-sized businesses, who often make very effective use of them.

One example of this is the giveaway organised by Growold Barcelona, a clothing shop in the Spanish city that also specialises in outdoor goods and lifestyle items.

To participate in the giveaway, users were asked to follow the brand’s Instagram profile, like the post and mention three friends, for which they were entered into a prize draw to win Patagonia accessories.

Over to you… have you thought up any creative giveaway ideas for your brand yet?

DISCLAIMER: This article attempts to explain what a giveaway in an informative style and tone; this should in no way be taken as constituting legal advice. We recommend you contact a professional for updated information tailored to your precise circumstances.