Sweepstakes And Contests In 2013 And Beyond

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Sweepstakes and contests have always evolved. With the popularity of the Internet these changes seem to be happening much quicker. If you should stop entering giveaways for a few weeks or more, and then return to it, you’d likely see subtle changes to the hobby in the interim.

With this in mind, here are my predictions for sweepstakes in the near future:

Since the explosion of social media sites, sweepstakes has reflected the move to social. You see a growing number of daily, weekly and one-time only sweepstakes now being offered at Facebook. I have personally won lots of Facebook sweepstakes. I won only once at Twitter, which was a washout (details in a later post). It’s nearly impossible now to find a giveaway at a regular entry page without social share buttons. The trend will accelerate, and almost all sweepstakes will be “social” in some way.

Smart phone sales show no sign of slowing down, and sweepstakes are keeping up with the trend. In 2013 and beyond, sweepstakes will become more mobile, meaning you’ll be able to enter to win from your smart phone. We are already seeing mobile-only sweepstakes that require a text message to enter. Sweepstakes sponsors will continue shrinking their pages and/or creating mobile entry options that include the iPad and other tablets. This, of course, means the numbr of desktop only sweepstakes will decline. However, I don’t see them every going away completely. IMHO, desktop will always be the majority of sweepstakes and contests.

Less flash. I have been seeing fewer giveaways with flash-based pages, a positive trend. Flash is slow and a resource hog that requires heavy computing power and memory (RAM). Also, you may already be aware that Flash doesn’t work on iPads. This is good news for us all that use Roboform. As Robo users know, Robo cannot complete Flash-based fields. Roboform functionality is limited to HTML and AJAX websites only. Many-a sweepstaker in the past grumbled at Roboform being crippled at Flash pages. Fortunately, this is becoming a thing of the past.

More captchas. Unfortunately, captchas are a fact of life if you are a sweeper. For the uninitiated, captchas are those graphics you have to interpret to get your entry in. They’re meant to foil bots and spammers (cheaters) from entering giveaways without real user input. In a way it’s good for you that captchas exist. People like yourself, who are trying to win something by sitting in front of the computer, are not being disadvantaged by cheaters.

Mail-in sweepstakes will continue their decline. This has been the trend for at least a decade, and I see the move of sweepstakes toward the desktop (and smartphones/tables in particular) only accelerating. As postage rates go up and up, many people become discouraged at the cost of entry and decide not to participate. Small participation means better odds for entrants, but sponsors don’t want to run giveaways that people aren’t particularly interested in entering. The point of running giveaways is to engage consumers and spread the word about their brand. I feel that sponsoring mail-in giveaways is a dead end for them.

This hobby is constantly evolving and changing, and there’s no way I could ever predict everything that’s in the future. Do you have ideas on how things will play out this year and beyond? Feel free to weigh in.

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