Archive for February, 2009
The Web 2.0 explosion in media options has created unprecedented opportunities for brands to engage consumers in the digital spaces where they work and play. Brand marketing budgets increasingly reflect this trend as dollars continue to shift away from ‘traditional’ advertising into new media.
Web-based interactive promotions- particularly contests, games, and sweepstakes -are a key component of this movement because they can target broad-ranging demographic segments, cross diverse brand categories easily, and – most importantly- provide a measurable return on investment while opening up an ongoing dialogue with consumers.
There are, however, subtle differences between online “Sweepstakes” and “Contests” so care must be taken by Marketers to ensure that their online promotion is structured properly to comply with various laws surrounding games of chance and to ensure that it meets the programs objectives.
Online Sweepstakes- These programs generally have two principal components: (1) a registration component and (2) a drawing element for prizes (daily, weekly, monthly or at the end of the program). Interactive elements can be incorporated into the Sweepstakes to create rich user experiences with branded elements but no skill is required by the Entrant
Online Games- Online games are generally a variation of a sweepstakes; however, require a perceived element of skill to engage participants at a deeper level. Viral elements are often integrated to spread the reach of the promotion. They are sometimes referred to by Marketers as “Instant Win Games”.
Online Contests - Contests are not games of chance. Unlike a Sweepstakes or a Game, they require entrants to exhibit a degree of skill (make a video, submit a photo, write an essay, etc.) that must be graded by a panel of judges using an established criteria set forth in the Official Rules. Contests typically require a deep level of brand engagement.
When developing an online promotion make sure your promotional objectives are clear! A promotion designed to generate trial of a new product, for instance, is not necessarily the right promotion for long term loyalty, while a program to drive opt-in email registrations may require yet a different set of parameters. Regardless of the method chosen, baseline metrics should be established so that performance can be quantified.
Online promotions should always attract and engage visitors with content that immerses participants in branded experiences that resonate and should be more than just a blatant prize pitch. While prizes are an important component of any online promotion, they should be incorporated in a way that supports the overarching brand objective while appealing to the target demographic and involving visitors. Whether it is user generated content, an interactive game mechanic, or even just the ability to select from among available prizes, always make visitors part of the experience when structuring your program. Don’t forget to make it viral by leveraging the power of the internet to exponentially grow the reach of your promotion. Whether it is a tell-a-friend email component or a social networking application, online promotions are natural lead generators.
Make sure the logistics are covered. Online games, contests, and sweepstakes programs require careful attention to detail. From web design and development to official rules, privacy policies, prize sourcing/fulfillment, consumer affairs, winner handling/notification, and more- there are a host of issues that must be carefully managed. There are also a number of legal considerations to consider so engage a professional firm with proven experience in online games, contests, and sweepstakes to help you structure an online promotion that is in compliance with federal and state regulations. Some areas to be mindful of include:
• Laws surrounding Games of Chance
• State requirements for bonding and registration of Games of Chance
• Judging criteria for contests
• Children’s Online Privacy Protection (COPPA) -for Under 13’s
• Intellectual property rights and patents
• Regulated industries
• International laws for programs that cross national borders
There are also a number of technical considerations to keep in mind:
Flash – Remember that all-Flash sites offer greater creativity but can compromise search engine optimization and make your promotion harder to find. Generally speaking, this is not a concern for limited time promotions – particularly if it is a drive to web offer from an in-store or on-pack call to action. If, however, you want search engine spiders to crawl your promotional site consider an HTML mirror site or an all HTML site with limited or no Flash. Keep in mind too that Flash can affect reporting if using a tool such as Google Analytics.
Load Times – Music files, streaming video, and other large files can affect load time and user experience. If your audience is in largely urban areas probably not a concern but if your audience is more rural consider file size to avoid high abandonment rates. Also, if running a program involving large file transfers make sure appropriate bandwidth is allocated on the promotion’s server and that security measures have been taken to safeguard and protect the integrity of your promotion.
QUICK TIPS: About Interactive/Online Promotions:
• Online promotions are flexible. They can exist as stand alone programs or as bolt-on features to wider integrated campaigns.
• They accomplish a wide variety of marketing objectives.
• When compared to other marketing solutions, they are cost effective, can typically be launched at a fraction of other programs, and are natural lead generators.
• Make sure your promotional objectives are clear when considering an online promotion and that metrics for measuring the success of a program are considered prior to execution.
• Engage a Promotion Firm with proven experience developing online games, contests, and sweepstakes to ensure that all technical, logistical, and legal considerations are addressed.
Posted by Brandmovers Inc