Hosting a giveaway: Here’s the right way to pick your winner

Hosting a giveaway: Here's the right way to pick your winner

In this blog, we’ll explore what a giveaway is and how to pick your winner the right way to ensure your giveaway complies with regulations and runs smoothly and successfully.

What is a giveaway?

A giveaway is an online promotion where users perform specific tasks for the chance to win a prize. Digital marketers use giveaways as a tool to achieve their online marketing goals.

In this blog, we’ll explore what a giveaway is and how to pick your winner the right way.

Setting out rules for participation

Firstly, when you decide to do a giveaway, you need to set out clear rules for participation. Before you start, it’s important to ensure compliance with the current promotional marketing legislation.

You will also need to set up some guidelines for each entry. For example, you may decide that each person must have a certain number of followers before they can enter. You may also choose how many entries you will accept per person and what happens if someone tries to enter more than once. Finally, you should review how long the giveaway will run and what happens when it ends.

Deciding on the selection criteria

Selection criteria is an important part of a giveaway because they help to ensure the right winner is selected. Here are some examples of different selection methods that can help select the right winner:

Random Selection

You can do this by using a Random Number Generator or a lottery system to select winners from the eligible entries.


This method encourages participants to submit creative entries, such as photos, videos or essays and the winner is selected based on the creativity of their entry.


This selection is based on the engagement of the participants, such as liking, commenting and sharing social media posts related to the giveaway. The more active and engaged participants have more chance of winning.


Participants are encouraged to refer friends to the giveaway, and the person who refers the most friends is selected as the winner.


This selection method is aimed at individuals with a particular need for the prize on offer – such as low-income families, students and individuals who have been through times of hardship.  

How to pick a winner fairly

If your selection criteria allow the winner to be chosen at random, you can use the below method.

Using a random number generator

A random number generator (RNG) is a computer program or a hardware device that generates a sequence of numbers or values that have no predictable pattern. 

Using a random number generator is a quick, easy and effective method to ensure fairness for all participants.

You will need to determine the number of entries or participants that are eligible to win the prize on offer in the giveaway. Once you have done this, assign each entry or participant a unique number, such as a numerical ID, a ticket number or a name. 

You will then be able to decide on the range of numbers that the random number generator should generate. For example, if you have 100 entries, your number range would be 1 to 100. You can then use a random online generator or a software program, to generate a random number within the range you decided on. When you have imputed your range and you’re ready to go, hit the go button and match the generated number to the corresponding entry or participant to determine the winner.

If your selection criteria are creativity or engagement, you could consider the below.

Judging Panel Or Evaluation

An RNG wouldn’t work for this selection criteria as these rely on reviewing images, videos and essays that may have been submitted or the amount of engagement from participants. Before the giveaway begins, clearly define the criteria that will be used to judge the entries. This could include factors such as originality, creativity, and adherence to the theme. Choose a panel of judges who are knowledgeable about the brand and the promotion, and who can evaluate the entries based on the defined criteria. The number of judges can vary depending on the size and scope of the giveaway.

Verify the winner

Verifying the winner of your giveaway is key to ensuring you choose the right winner. You should check that they meet all the criteria and the rules of the giveaway that you initially set. You should contact the winner via the contact information provided such as their email address, phone number or their social media account.

Unfortunately, it does happen that the winner of the giveaway is not eligible. If you have reviewed the rules and eligibility criteria of the giveaway and the winner is ineligible, they will be classed as disqualified. If the winner is disqualified, you can proceed by selecting a new winner from the pool of eligible entries.

If your winner is eligible, however, you cannot reach them, you need to ensure that you have tried all available means of communication such as phone, email or social media. 

If the contact information provided is incorrect or there is insufficient information, attempt to locate them using all means possible. This could be reaching out to any known associates or family members. If the winner does not respond within a reasonable time, you may need to select a new winner.

Announce the winner and distribute the prize

You would be amazed at how many people and companies run giveaways and competitions and never actually announce a winner. Not only is that damaging your brand’s reputation by making your audience believe that your competitions aren’t legitimate, but it also can be breaking the law.  

It’s important to announce the winner and to distribute the prize promptly. Depending on where you ran your giveaway and the contact information you have, there are several ways that you could announce the winner. You could:

  • Notify the winner via email
  • Create a winner announcement post on Facebook
  • Announce the contest winner on Twitter
  • Create A giveaway winner announcement post
  • Announce the giveaway winner on Instagram – (posts/stories) 

Ensure that once you have contacted and spoken with the winner, you have the correct shipping address from them so they can receive their prize.

So let’s quickly recap. Running a giveaway is a great way to achieve your online marketing goals. You have to get clear with the rules for participating, you need to decide on your selection criteria, you will need to familiarise yourself with the method you will use to ensure fairness when selecting the winner, verify the winner, announce the winner and finally, distribute the prize.  

So there you go! Just make sure that your winner is selected fairly through the methods above and that every participant has a fair chance of winning.