How Contests Can Create Engagement for Magazines

Samantha Eng
Thursday, Nov 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Publishers are capitalizing on new opportunities by going mobile and offering the reader another level of accessibility. In a recent survey from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive, 85% of respondents said they currently have mobile content for smartphones so it’s good business sense to target these readers with contests and interactive sweepstakes that engage audiences and create publication loyalty.

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Publications such as Allure, Women’s Day and Martha Stewart Weddings all found success when creating contests and/or sweepstakes with Microsoft Tag.

Award Winning Interactive Contest Integration

There’s a reason why Min’s Integrated Marketing Awards recognized Tag and Martha Stewart Weddings this past September. The four-month program, which featured customized Tags in the Fall 2010 issue, racked up 38,000 scans–surpassing the predicted amount. The contest was such a success, a repeat contest was held this fall.

Tag helped Martha Stewart Weddings create a new playing field – literally. Through the interactive contest, Martha Stewart Weddings engaged readers and created brand loyalty by offering giveaways and satiating everyone’s desire to win free stuff.

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After all, who doesn’t want to win free stuff?

Martha Stewart Weddings worked with Tag to place 17 ads in the Fall 2011 issue. Once scanned, readers were redirected to a mobile web page of participating sponsors and were entered to win various prizes, including a $1,000 grand prize. Since each entry increased their chance of winning, the reader was continuously engaged over a period of time and encouraged to revisit the issue and the sponsor page.

Traditional Sweepstakes Get a Make Over

Similarly, Tag made over the traditional sweepstakes with fashion and beauty magazines that caught on to the allure of a great mobile campaign (pun totally intended).

Allure’s Free Stuff Giveaway issue in August featured glossy pages filled with bountiful giveaways ranging from clothing and accessories to make-up and body goodies. Last year, Allure incorporated Tag into the August goodie giveaway and increased the publication’s entries by 38 percent with more than 444,500 Tag scans.

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Allure readers were entered into the giveaways in three ways:

First, they would scan the August issue Tag, which prompted a text message 15 minutes prior to a giveaway for a call to action to enter. Secondly, the reader could peruse the magazine and scan the Tag of the sponsored goodie they wanted. The scan would enter them to win that particular item. Third, the Free Calendar on the back of the August issue is a one-sheet wonder. A condensed cheat sheet that allowed the reader to pull out the page and scan Tags on the go.

In total, Allure awarded 25,403 goodies to their dedicated readers.

A Prize a Day Makes Readers Stay

Proving brand loyalty comes from rewards and creating an interactive environment, Self found success with its annual Prize-a-Day sweepstakes in their March issue.

With 3,815 prizes from fashion, beauty, home, and health categories to be given away, using Tag to help readers enter the contest made Self’s sweepstakes a no brainer!

Publication Scavenger Hunt Gets Big Rewards

The possibility Tag presents publishers is not limited to single scans with sponsors.

Women’s Day, which incorporated Tag’s innovative interactive contest platform into its publication in a similar way to Allure, further generated audience engagement by creating a scavenger hunt within the pages of the September issue. In addition to the individual scans that entered readers to win a free giveaway from sponsors, readers who scanned three tags in the issue were entered to win a $1,000 grand prize.

Sponsor visibility, reader engagement and publication loyalty, Tag contests are beneficial to not only the reader, but also to the publisher as well.

What do you think about magazines using Tags to make contests in publications more engaging? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.


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