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The Differences Between Sweepstakes, Contests, Giveaways, Rewards, and Raffles

By Josh Ledgard

Nothing is better than winning a prize. There’s a certain feeling of joy when you enter a sweepstakes, buy a raffle ticket, or join a contest with the hope that you’ll win big.

It’s that excitement that you want to capitalize on when engage your audience with an online giveaway and KickoffLabs can help you run a giveaway with any of these mechanics.

Learning about the different types of giveaways will help you make sure you don’t break any rules or regulations when facilitating a giveaway. In this post, we break down the differences and similarities between contests, sweepstakes, giveaways, and raffles. Keep reading in order to find out why they are all distinctly in their own category!

What is a Sweepstakes?

Sweepstakes involve a promotion with certain rules and requirements that must be followed in order to win. Winners are chosen at random, and there is no purchase required to enter. Usually, if the participant shares the sweepstakes on social media, refers their friends, or visits a promotional site, they obtain extra entries into the sweepstakes. In a sweepstakes, you cannot ask a person to purchase anything or pay a fee for entry. Winning a sweepstakes depends on pure luck, and no additional skills.

Bonus Entry Sweepstakes Example Build a Bonus Entry Sweepstakes like this today!

What is a Contest?

A contest relies on a person’s skills. In a contest, contestants compete by doing better than the others, and the results are based on merit, not luck. The entry that is awarded first place (such as best story using your product, best instagram post that tags you, best YouTube submission, etc.) wins the prize. In some cases, the public is utilized and votes can be placed by the public in order to choose a winner for the contest.

Online contest. Build a contest using this template today!

What is a Raffle?

A raffle involves buying a raffle ticket in exchange for the possibility of winning a prize. A winning ticket is randomly pulled from a container of other raffle tickets, and is based on pure luck. There will always be a winner with a raffle, as everyone who bought a ticket will have a chance to have their raffle ticket pulled (unlike the lottery, where some numbers go unused and there are no winners whatsoever).

This can work well with an online store that’s setup to track and reward purchases.

Online store raffle. Build a raffle for your online store like this today!

What is a Reward Level Giveaway

A reward level giveaway involves allowing people to earn rewards in exchange for points. You are guaranteeing that the first X (or all) people that reach the required point total will receive the prize that that level. Leads typically earn points to unlock rewards unlock rewards by referring friends with unique links or taking actions such as following you online, leaving a review, etc.

Reward Level Giveaway Example Build a Reward Level Giveaway like this today!

What is a Giveaway

A giveaway is a blanket term for sweepstakes, contests, and lotteries, as all three of these categories give participants a chance to win prizes. When saying something is a “giveaway,” it can refer to any of the three types listed.

Table explaining the difference between different types of giveaways.

How Do I Run A Giveaway?

As shown in the examples above you can run a giveaway with any of these mechanics using KickoffLabs. You can run it as a dedicated page on your site or as a pop-up for your visitors. Don’t forget to tell your existing email list so they all have a chance to get in on the fun and refer their friends to your list!

Additional Resources

Learn about the different types of giveaways.

General Contest, Sweepstakes, and Giveaway Laws in the U.S.

Understanding Specific Promotion Laws for your State.

Best Practices for Making Contests Legal and Transparent.

Download our FREE Template for Sweepstakes and Giveaway Rules, Terms, and Conditions.

KickoffLabs Makes Contests Easy

Quickly and easily setup viral giveaways, sweepstakes, and product launches where fans earn points and rewards for referring friends and promoting your brand!

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