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Everyone is familiar with loop giveaways, whether they realise it or not. As a business owner you’ve probably given them a go or seen countless loop giveaways as you scroll through your Instagram feed. They can be an amazing tool for small businesses if done right, but too many participating business, one post at the wrong time or an unlucky position in the loop and suddenly they’re not as effective as they could be and could even be bad for business.

Let’s explore loop competitions and how a simple tactic change could make all the difference to your business and your entrants too.

What is a loop giveaway?

A loop giveaway is where a group of businesses get together to create a competition, most popularly on Instagram. Each business contributes to the prize pot, creating a bigger, more valuable and more attractive prize package for the lucky winner. When the competition launches, each participating business will post an image advertising the giveaway with the entry instructions in the comments. Usually, entrants will have to follow the poster and like the giveaway post then visit the next business in the loop and repeat the process, liking and following and moving on to the next business in the loop.

Annie Spratt shows us an example of a loop prize package via Unsplash.

Why would you run one?

Running a loop competition in conjunction with other businesses gives you several advantages:

  • A bigger prize pool as each business that participates contributes a product, service or money for the prize pot.
  • Partnering up with different businesses means a bigger overall potential pool of entrants as your brand is exposed to the audiences of the other businesses participating in the loop.
  • Sharing the work out amongst many businesses means less stress and organisation for you to take care of.
  • If you get businesses who are well known, with bigger audiences, it can result in hugely valuable exposure for your growing brand.

Loop giveaways sound amazing, right?

So why would we claim that loop giveaways are bad for business?! Well, there are a number of reasons, but in a nutshell: because they simply don’t work like this in practice. Here’s why:

1. They ask too much of entrants

Firstly, the entrants have to complete an insane amount of actions in order to get one entry.

We once saw one loop that had 48 businesses participating. The entrants had to like the competition post on each of the 48 profiles and follow each one of the 48 businesses in order to be in with one chance to win. One single entry for 96 actions! Call me crazy, but that’s a lot of work for one entry. You see, most businesses look at it from their point of view, that entrants only have to like and follow their page, they forget about their poor entrants who have to sit through 96 actions.

That’s approximately 5 clicks per profile to complete the requested actions for an entry, so 480 clicks for one entry!

2. Not all loop competitions are created equal

Secondly, because of the fact that entrants have to complete so many actions in return for an entry, they get bored and wander off. Seriously, don’t underestimate how lazy the human race is. This means some brands get a like and a follow and those further down the pecking order don’t get a look in. You could put $500 worth of prizes into the pool and get 5 likes and follows in return – at $100 a follow that’s a seriously expensive campaign…

3. They’re a nightmare to monitor

Thirdly, it’s bloody hard to actually work out who is an eligible entrant or not. Think about it: to be eligible to win they have to like the post and follow the page, for every one of those 48 businesses. So 48 businesses open up the competition post, click to see the list of post likers and then cross reference it against 47 other lists of post likers. Once you have a shortlist of people who have liked all 48 posts, each business then has to bring up their list of followers and cross reference this shortlist, removing all post lakers who aren’t following them. Rinse and repeat for 48 businesses. The likelihood of these 48 businesses actually sitting down to do this is very slim (don’t get me started on how that means they’d actually pick their winner…) and even slimmer is the likelihood that there will be many, if any, entrants who meet the criteria.

4. What do you get out of it?!

Fourthly (I promise this is the last one) but most importantly – what’s the bloody point?! Followers are lovely, seeing your follower number growing brings everyone joy, including me; but it means absolutely sweet FA in terms of revenue.

Repeat after me: followers are not dollars. If you’re planning to run followup campaigns to try to convert these followers to paying customers then groovy, all power to you. You could potentially turn a percentage of your followers into dollars. If you just love feeling insta-popular then you are throwing money away by paying (in goods, services or money plus time and effort) to be a part of these loop giveaways.

I could go on and on about how ineffective loop competitions are, but instead let’s move on to how we can fix this broken system to serve you better. After all, you’re spending your hard earned cash so you want to make every cent work hard for you!

So what’s the alternative?

What if I told you that you could still have your 48 businesses participating, but your entrant only completed one single action to enter? No, we’re not talking about sneaky, underhanded tactics or using third party apps and programmes that Instagram are slowly but surely shutting down. We’re talking about email addresses. The holy grail of all marketers everywhere, the much coveted email address is permission from your ideal demographic to talk to them one on one in the most sacred of all spaces: their inbox.

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Loop competitions reimagined…

It doesn’t take much effort to make your loop competitions more user friendly, up your entry numbers, gain much more valuable information from your entrants and stop the loop insanity.

Here’s how:

  • Create a central place (like a landing page) that every one of your participating businesses can send their potential entrants to
  • Once they arrive, entrants will simply have to pop in their name and email address and hit ‘Enter’
  • Make sure your landing page contains all the vital information your entrants will need: what they can win, how they can enter, when and where the winner will be announced and of course, your terms and conditions
  • Once the competition is over, share the list of entrants with all participating businesses.

… and voilà you instantly keep all the benefits with none of the downsides – you still get your bigger prize package, your bigger pool of entrants, do less work and get more exposure. Not only that but you collect a vital email address that will have a bigger return on investment for your business than collecting followers will.

Loop giveaways sound amazing in theory, but in practice they’re a pain in the arse to organise and don’t really have a huge benefit for your business. In some cases, asking your beloved customers to complete 96 actions for one entry, these competitions can actually be bad for business! Try the alternative on for size and see the results for yourself.

If you need help reimagining your loop giveaways so they actually work for your business, get in touch with our giveaway geeks for a 15 minute free strategy session!