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Though it’s rare, there are times you may wish to make changes to your competition once it’s launched and live. It could be that your competition is going so well that you want to make the most of it and extend it to run longer, it could be that you’ve realised you do need to collect entrants’ phone numbers after all, or it could be that your competition is not going quite as well as you’d hoped and you’d rather cut your losses and close your competition, giveaway or contest early.

We’ll walk you through the dos and don’ts of changing your competition whilst it’s live.

Can I extend my competition?

We have already covered this question at length in our blog post conveniently called “Can I extend my competition?”, so I won’t go into great detail here except to say that as a general rule, extending your competition is perfectly acceptable as long as you announce publicly that the competition has been extended and you take into account any licence amendments that may apply when extending your competition.

Can I close my competition if it’s not going well?

Short answer? No.

By running a competition which clearly states the open and close dates (the competition period), usually in your terms and conditions, which you all have after heeding our warnings of course; you’re agreeing to keep the competition open for that entire competition period.

If your competition isn’t going as well as you’d hoped, the answer isn’t to just close the competition and forget about it.

For every competition problem, I guarantee you, there’s a fix:

What about technical difficulties?

Technical difficulties do happen – forms break, sites get hacked and servers crash.

Whilst we’ve been fortunate enough never to have seen this happen to one of our clients (phew); we know that it can and does happen to some competitions.

There are clauses you can add to your competition terms and conditions, for example, that cover you for unexpected technical difficulties your competition may face and explain what may happen to the competition in that eventuality.

If you’re concerned about technical hiccups and want to make sure you’re covered, get in touch with us and we can customise your terms and conditions template to include this.

Can I change my competition’s entry method once it’s live?

It depends.

Essentially, what it comes down to when considering changes to your competition, is ensuring you’re not unfairly altering the chances of those who have already entered the competition.

If, for example, you originally run a purchase to enter style competition, but find that only a handful of people have entered; you can’t simply remove the requirement for purchase and make it an email to enter competition. Those who have already handed over their money are unfairly disadvantaged in the fact they’ve paid when others no longer have to in order to gain the same entry.

If, for example, you want to add a field to your entry form halfway through your competition to collect telephone numbers; this doesn’t unfairly disadvantage existing entrants (as long as they still have an equal chance of winning and won’t be disqualified for not providing their phone number) so it’s less likely to be an issue.

That said, we don’t recommend changing your entry method at all, if you’ve been deliberate and thoughtful in choosing your entry method, there should be no reason to change it.

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Ask yourself: do you really need to change your competition now?

Changing your competition, giveaway or contest once it’s live and published in the public domain is always a risky move.

Changes to your competition could affect your terms and conditions, your permits or licences – or worse – really upset your audience depending on what you’re changing.

Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide if you really need to change your competition now that it’s live:

  • Is this change absolutely necessary? Can I see the competition out and incorporate the changes next time?
  • Is this change worth upsetting or alienating some of my customers?
  • What would the change achieve? Is it greater than the possible damage?
  • Will I need to amend my licences or permits and therefore pay an amendment fee?
  • Will I need to change my terms and conditions? Am I permitted to do so?
  • What additional financial costs will there be? Are these costs worth it to make the changes?

If you’re really honest with yourself when answering these questions, you’ll most likely realise that the proposed benefits of making the changes, won’t outweigh the downsides and you’re better off saving the changes for your next competition and seeing this competition through to the end.

If you’re considering making changes to your competition, giveaway or contest and it’s already live, it’s always worth seeking professional advice first to ensure you’re not breaking any rules or laws when it comes to running a competition. Our advice would be not to make the change, wait until your competition is over and incorporate the changes next time.

If you need a hand planning your next competition or your current competition isn’t quite going to plan – don’t panic! We’re here to help. Book in a free strategy session with us, shoot us a message via our contact page or give us a call or send us an email.