This week the super-smart company Amazon.com gave all of us marketing folks another way to spend money on its online store with Amazon Giveaways, an easy, super-fast way to reward your followers and communities with prizes.
Setting Up an Amazon Giveaway
I’m known for being giveaway crazy, so I was quite excited with the new feature, which lets you scroll to the bottom of most of the Amazon-shipped products on the site and push a button at the bottom that says, “Set up a giveaway.”
When you click through, you have a handful of settings to establish, and you’re ready to go. You choose how many products you’re going to giveaway and with what method. You can also choose whether you want to require people to follow you on Twitter to enter. On the next page, you add a headline, text for both winners and losers and a couple other details. You have to pay for all your winning prizes upfront with the maximum price possible for shipping, but you’ll get a refund for the shipping if the winners have Amazon Prime or whatever.
My Amazon Giveaway Experiment
As I mentioned before, I’m all about giveaways, so I thought this might be the answer to my challenge of finding the time to ship prizes to winners. I gave away 6 books total in two rounds to test the functionality. The results? Meh. It’s not a marketers dream. Watch this video for a review, and scroll down for takeaways you need to know.
- People Have Commitment Issues
I required people to follow me on Twitter for my first experiment, and it took more than 1.5 hours to get 21+ clicks. It made me feel like a big loser. :)The second time I dropped the Twitter requirement, and all three books were gone in 10 minutes. Either making the commitment to Twitter was too big a hurdle or perhaps #AmazonGiveaway was much more popular by the time I did the second experiment.
- Quality vs. Quantity?
The people who followed me on Twitter did so just for the prize (I know ‘cuz I asked them). I’m sure they’re nice people, but they’re not what I would consider dedicated fans. I fell into the junk follower trap a lot as I found contests to enter through the Twitter #AmazonGiveaway hashtag… I even followed one guy for a chance to win a roll of Seattle Seahawks Duck Tape. I don’t even like football!
- Where’s the ROI?
If you’re looking for killer exposure for a giveaway with a high ROI, this ain’t a good route. The only thing you can gain is prize-happy followers on Twitter: no emails, engagements or newsletter signups. You can add text when you setup your winning/losing messages that encourages people to check you out, but I don’t think you’ll get many quality leads from this.Also, I regretted how I set up the Nth number of winners and the number of prizes because my total possible click count was 21. You’ll get more life out of your giveaway if you give something away every 100th or more entry.
- Watch Your Links and Posts
The links can cause problems. During the first experiment, I posted to my Facebook page, which automatically posts to Twitter, but the Twitter post didn’t happen until I tweeted it manually. The second time, the post on Facebook did push through to Twitter, but when I tried to post an additional follow-up manually on Twitter, Twitter said my tweet was spam and wouldn’t let it go through.In addition, soon after my contests ended, hopeful contest clickers were greeted with a 404 error instead of a “Contest Ended” page. I’ve seen this with other contests as well.
- Minutes to Set Up, Hours to Approve
One really annoying thing… Filling out the contest form takes less than five minutes, but waiting on approval from Amazon can take hours. The second experiment took more than three hours to get approval.
- Bottom Line
If you want to reward your followers without a hassle, Amazon Giveaways might be great for a private contest where you send the link directly to your audience. But if you’re looking to create a buzz in an open forum, your best hope is to require people follow you on Twitter and then set the levels high to get lots of followers.