Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Energize Their Customers

Nate Elliott[Posted by Nate Elliott]

Chances are you've seen an online video contest lately. In fact,
you've probably seen a lot of them: more than 20% of interactive
marketers -- including category leaders like P&G, Nike, Coca-Cola
and Sony -- tell Forrester they've run campaigns asking users to submit
online content in the past year. I've been collecting a list of dozens
of great video contests, and one contest clearinghouse site says there are 115 user-generated video contests accepting submissions right now, across a huge range of categories.

Videocontest-mktrcategory

Some of these contests -- like Tourism Queensland's Cannes-Lion-winning "The Best Job in the World" contest, or Doritos' "Crash the Super Bowl" contest -- generate a lot of media coverage. But there are many hundreds more each year, promoting everything from steak sauce to psoriasis research, that don't get as much notoriety.

Why
are so many marketers running online video contests? Because users love
online contests almost as much as they love online video -- and because
user-generated video contests can help marketers achieve a huge range
of marketing objectives.

Video contests let marketers listen to their customers and learn about their needs -- like student loan provider Access Group,
which asked law students to enter videos about their concerns and then
used insights from those videos to create its "Student Loans, No
Worries" ad campaign. Contests can help marketers energize users an
drive a viral marketing effect -- like Servus Credit Union,
which encouraged entrants to develop their own marketing campaigns to
drum up votes, and found the three finalists generated as much
publicity as the credit union's PR firm did. And they can give
marketers access to cheap, original online video content -- like ski
resort Sunshine Village, which used its contest to generate a video library of its mountain's trails and terrain.

Of course, not every video contest succeeds. They often take months to plan, they can cost anywhere from $10,000 to
$250,000 or more, and they usually require the coordinated efforts of
several internal departments and external vendors. And if you don't
get the "three Ps" right (choosing the right premise, offering the right prize, and picking the right
promotional strategy) you could fall flat on your face.

I've spent the last two months studying hundreds of contests,
and have just published two new reports on the
topic. User-Generated Video Contests: Best Practices For Driving More Entries And Creating Viral Impact
is designed to help marketers understand which users they should target
with video contests, what goals they can achieve, and how to get the
most value from their contests. Video Contest Checklist: How To Choose The Right Premise, Prize, And Promotion For Your Contest
contains a checklist that guides marketers through every single step in
the contest process -- including choosing a contest premise, selecting
a prize, planning a promotional strategy, choosing a voting structure,
picking a vendor, setting a schedule, establishing a budget, getting
internal buy-in, and measuring the results.

Over the next few
days, I'll be publishing some of the most important lessons I've
learned in my research -- including the best promotional strategies
I've seen, and mini-case studies on what makes contests successful -- on my personal blog.

In the meantime, if you've been thinking of
running a user-generated video contest -- or if I've convinced you it's
a good idea -- drop me a line (nelliott at forrester dot com). I'd be
happy to work with you on making your video contest a success.

Comments

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

Great idea. I would consider something like this, because I already use video in my marketing system. This sounds a like a fun twist. I create short videos designed to catch attention. Then I lead these viewers back to a Free offer on my site. My traffic is targeted because I post videos free to http://www.Adwido.com and they help target specific keywords. From this video I am open to creating some type of contest using video.

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

I just wanted to let you know about an awesome opportunity. We just launched our "EL-Contest". www.el-contest.com. The lucky winner would win a trip for two to Paris or NYC! (Includes 2 tickets and a Luxury Hotel. You can live anywhere in the world..)The contest is risk free and a lot of fun, so you do not have to worry about anything. So sit back and relax, It’ll be worth it.Each week, you post a funny picture. Invite as many friends as possible to vote for your pictures, and tell them to leave comments to help qualify you. Than every Sunday, we at EL-Talent pick a winner. The weekly winner will qualify for the finals during the week of December 14th through the 20th. In addition, you’ll also receive a number of cool prizes! Even if you aren’t a Weekly Winner, you can still enter as many times as you want until you become one!Click here to become a fan. The next step is getting your friends to join! Feel free to leave comments and ask questions.Good luck and have a great day!

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

This is a great post. I was just about to blog about this topic and you beat me to it, so I quoted you and added some of our experience from Shopatron clients here: http://blog.shopatron.com/2009/07/online-video-contests-can-help-energiz... forward to seeing your advice on successful contests and comparing that to our experience.

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

Great post Nate. I've seen several of these video contests out there and I think they are an excellent way to get good online content created for your company. Plus it has lasting effects because the videos are all still on the web even after the contest has ended.

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

I think you've got this stuff right on all fronts. Especially the three P's. There are plenty of contests I've entered because the premise was funny and fun and plenty that offered big prizes that I haven't entered because they weren't at all inspiring.And speaking of video contests, if you or your readers want to see what one looks like, I happen to be a finalist in the Quizno's $10,000 contest and I could really use your votes.Vote for "Skyscraper of Sandwiches" - dinky registration required :(http://promo.toastytorpedo.com//videos.aspx?ucid=3481a711-fb40-4288-b46e-e6ca9635fb89I'm proud to say that I think it's a really solid example of the kind of work you can get just offering $10,000 as a prize on a website that's easy to navigate.And if you're willing, you can vote once a day till July 31st (it only requires a simple email address after the first day and takes 3-5 seconds to vote)

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

Great post, Nate. We've seen a number of our clients' video contests succeed. I like the 3Ps concept a lot. We had a client giveaway a house once (yes, you read that correctly). Needless to say that contest was very popular.One thing you might want to think about is what you do after the contest. Most brands kill contests off once they're done and think of them as a one off campaigns. Clearly there's tremendous value from the engagement data, social graph, emails, etc. that come out of it. What then? How do you keep people engaged? How do you turn that into a perpetual campaign now that you've aggregated an audience?A great example of this is VIBE Verses, a hip hop/rap contest produced by VIBE magazine. They rolled through 4 standalone contests during the life of the website (unfortunately VIBE magazine no longer exists).Finally, don't underestimate the potential role of making these contests as viral as possible in these contests. If it's a 'fan' voted contest, your contestants become the best 'virtual street teams' around to drive traffic to your website/contest. They're the most motivated people around to share videos with their friends & family. Make it easy for them to do so.Anyway, great post.- Michael ChinSVP, MarketingKickApps

re: Online Video Contests Can Help Marketers Listen To And Ener

Loved the article Nate. I was one of the finalists in the Doritos contest in 2007 and have won my share of contests in the interim. You are dead on about the three P's and none more important than the 'PRIZE' structuring. I posted a blog this evening entitled, "Why I turned down $3,034.00 from a video contest". I think you would find the information useful in light of the data you regularly assemble and organize for your clients. Keep up the great research. I will be back to check out more of your postings and will check out your personal blog as well.