TGN Focus: What do YOU Get Out of YouTube Channel Giveaways?


Giveaways are a big yet fuzzy topic among gaming channels and YouTubers, with questions often coming my way about how and when to run them to get the maximum reward.  It’s a more touchy subject than you might think, so let’s discuss the ins and outs of these misunderstood beasts…

So what’s your real benefit?  This question is a doozy, and it’s not one that’s easy to answer. Many of us assume that giveaways offer people a reason or reward to watch your content, and that this kind of promotion will result in more viewers as word spreads.  While it’s true in some cases that viewership numbers rise, there are a few realities to think about before you start shoving golden tickets into your chocolate bars.

 “If your audience is there just to win free schwag, are they really the audience that you’re looking for to build your business?”

Is Your YouTube Audience Growth Authentic?

This is a big debate among many marketers, and there are some mixed opinions.  It’s not obvious at first, but the basic argument asks: if your audience is there just to win free schwag, are they really the audience that you’re looking for to build your business?

The answer has pretty much boiled down to: “it depends”.  What a cop-out, right?  It ultimately depends on how connected your promotion is to your product – in this case, how connected it is to your content.  It would be really dumb for Wal-Mart to give away McDonald’s burger coupons as part of their strategy, right?  Does that make people want to buy more from Wal-Mart?  Not really.  Does it connect to their brand?  Not at all.  So it’s a pretty dumb promotion.

So, let’s bring it down to a more relevant example.  Let’s say you are an up and coming League of Legends caster, trying to incentivize your viewers to share your videos.  What’s a better promotion – a chance to win a new mouse from Razer for tweeting your custom hashtag, or a chance to win a Kobo gift card for anyone who answers a skill testing question at the end of your video?

If you said the mouse, you’re probably right.  Why?  Because your promotion is fulfilling two basic principles of authentic engagement:

1.  An incentive that’s relevant to your desired audience

2.  An entrance condition that’s relevant to your goal

League of Legends players don’t really care about gift cards for ebooks, and you aren’t looking to see how good you viewers are at trivia.  On the other hand, all gamers could use a good gaming mouse and you definitely want your viewers to share your channel with their friends on social media.  Win-win is a big win for you and will help you pay off the cost of your promotion.

 “Do you want to have a high-risk promotion that’s

really expensive to draw in more people?” 

Will your promotion pay for itself?

This is another spot where a dilemma can happen.  Do you want to have a high-risk promotion that’s really expensive to draw in more people?  Do you want a low risk promotion that’s inexpensive and will likely draw in fewer people?  This is up to you and your personal budget, but our general opinion here at TGN is generally the slow-and-steady route.

When it comes to your personal budget, you want to always stay within your means and err on the side of caution.  As a golden rule, we recommend that most creators should try not to offer anything that costs more than 15% of their YouTube channel’s monthly earnings.  This should keep your promotions at level that’s appropriate to your viewer base, and ensure that you don’t overspend at a high risk.  The bigger you get, the more you can offer!

Ultimately, you want to have the best ROI (Return On Investment) possible.  This doesn’t need to result in big money right away, but the reward should be equal to, or greater than what you gave away.  It’s a pretty easy formula once you get the hang of it, and promotions can really go a long way in connecting with your viewers.

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