How mobile, social, and LBS technologies are transforming sweepstakes promotions.

By: Jack Winston
The “Sweepstakes” marketing promotion has evolved over the past few decades to become a very popular tool for a range of consumer product categories, retail and service businesses, quick service food establishments, magazine publishing, and even in some B2B applications.   If you are not an active sweeper and are not aware of the popularity of this marketing promotion, do a quick Google search for “sweepstakes” and check out a few of the sweeps directories to get a feel. The internet and email began to transform the format and reach of sweepstakes marketing over the past 10 years.  Mobile phones have also influenced sweepstakes with “text to win” promotions becoming popular.  The rapid rise of “so-lo-mo” technologies (i.e. social networking platforms, location based services, and mobile web enabled smart phones) is revolutionizing sweepstakes marketing. Bozuko is a platform that lets businesses leverage so-lo-mo technologies to maximize the reach and impact of simple sweepstakes-style marketing campaigns.
While sweepstakes are heavily regulated in order to maintain legal differentiation from lotteries and gambling, they can vary significantly in structure and format. has a nice overview of the different ways to segment sweepstakes.  Sweepstakes can vary in ways including:

Award mechanism: Classic Sweepstakes v. Instant win

A classic sweepstakes chooses winners from a qualified entrant pool at random at the end of the contest period.  A restaurant asking customers to leave a business card in a bowl for a chance to win a free lunch is a classic sweepstakes award mechanism.   Instant win promotions assign awards to qualified entrants at random moments in time or via fixed pre-determined odds.  The Bozuko Approach: Bozuko enables instant win sweepstakes in familiar game formats like scratch tickets and slot machines.

Means of entry

Someone enters a sweepstakes when they indicate their acceptance of contest terms and, typically, submit their contact information to the contest organizers.  The 10 most common means of entry include 1) completing a form on a website; 2) sending an email; 3) mailing in an entry form; 4) calling in; 5) leaving info in a drop box; 6) SMS texting; 7) posting a twitter message with a particular tag (e.g. #bigprizesweeps) ; 8) facebook using a contest app like Wildfire; 9) calling in response to a radio ad; 10) leaving a comment on a blog.  The Bozuko Approach: Bozuko integrates directly with Facebook.  This allows users to enter instant win games with the contact information associated with their Facebook account.

Entry Frequency

A sweepstakes may be structured to allow people to enter at different frequencies – hourly, daily, monthly, yearly, or a set number of times.  The Bozuko Approach: Bozuko allows businesses to set the entry frequency for every campaign they launch.


Sweepstakes prizes can vary widely, including cash, free merchandise, promotional items, discounts, or coupons. The Bozuko Approach: Bozuko lets businesses give away whatever prizes they want, within the bounds of state and federal law and Facebook promotional guidelines.  When building a Bozuko campaign, marketers set the total number of each prize they want to give away, thereby setting the total cost of the marketing campaign.


Eligibility requirements for a sweepstakes are designed to limit contests to a specific audience.  Businesses can use eligibility to target their marketing promotion at engaging a specific set of buyers.  Rapidly developing so-lo-mo technologies are expanding what types of eligibility requirements are practical for sweepstakes campaigns.  There are 3 categories of eligibility requirements that can be thought of as “Gates” that help screen for the relevant target audience.

    1. Information Gates require submission of sufficient information to screen out ineligible entrants such as minors, employees, or prior winners.  Typically, sweepstakes are designed to gather contact information to allow businesses to send promotional material via mail, phone, or email.  An increasingly common variant of this is a Facebook “Fan-gate” that requires entrants to “Like” a brand or business in order to enter.  Likes can be very valuable to businesses as a channel for followup communications.  The Bozuko approach lets customers submit their Facebook contact information based on the submission action set by the business.  Submission could include Liking or checking-in to the business on Facebook.
    2. Location Gates limit eligibility to a specific geographic region.  The classic sweepstakes would determine geographic eligibility based on the address of the entrant (e.g. open to residents of Massachusetts).  Smartphones equipped with GPS enable location-aware contests that are available to entrants only in a defined region.  The Bozuko Approach: Businesses using the Bozuko app can set a geographic radius around their business where their promotion is visible.  Emerging technologies like QR codes and NFC will let businesses further target contest availability to specific points in space.  This allows hyper-local sweepstakes that target a very specific demographic (e.g. customers currently in your store).
    3. Activity-gating can further limit eligibility to entrants who have performed a specific action.  The classic sweepstakes may require entrants to mail in UPC codes for the sponsoring product.  Radio contests may screen for eligibility by limiting to entrants who call in when a specific song is played.  There are many exciting technologies on the horizon that could automatically screen for eligibility based on what song you are listening to, what television show you are watching or even what video game you are playing.

Alternate means of entry (AMoE) is often required when running a sweepstakes.  This allows individuals to enter even though they can’t (or don’t want) to satisfy the other eligibility requirements for one reason or another.  Many times, AMoE can be done online via web page or email.  The Bozuko Engine can automatically facilitate a variety of AMoE for Bozuko games, when applicable.

Sweepstakes are a tried and tested form of promotional marketing that are becoming even more effective and flexible thanks to so-lo-mo technologies.  Bozuko makes it easy for brands and businesses to build promotional instant win games that customers can play on their smart phones.

See how Bozuko can work for your brand or business immediately by logging in and building a promotion in minutes.  Click here to give it a try.
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