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Almost every growth-oriented YouTuber knows the story of Lew Later. 

In December 2020, he ran one of the most sensational contests of our time: a live-streamed YouTube giveaway of one hundred iPhones. 

Within two hours, he accrued more than 400,000 new followers on Twitter, hit over 100,000 YouTube subscribers and had his giveaway hashtag trending #1 worldwide. His live-streamed video has 4.6 million views and 8,700 comments.

Those are the kind of numbers so many YouTubers dream of. 

But let’s be honest, not everyone can afford to be a Lew. Budget limitations exist, and if you’re still actively trying to grow your channel from scratch, running a giveaway of that magnitude is most likely to attract subscribers who are seat fillers. They only create the illusion of a full house, but never actually interact and will probably leave once the giveaway is over. 

In this article, we’ll show you—with examples—how to do a YouTube giveaway that drives visibility and growth for your YouTube channel while attracting legitimate subscribers. 

Know the rules: YouTube’s Contest Policies & Guidelines

Running a YouTube giveaway can be tricky because there are strict rules you must adhere to.  

For example, YouTube’s policies state that you cannot run contests through ad units

Lior Leser, a tech lawyer specializing in advertising law, clarifies that this means “you cannot tell people to click on an advertisement in order to enter your giveaway, but you are allowed to promote it.”

A few other rules to note are: 

  • Your contest must be free to enter. Don’t charge people for their participation. 
  • You must have a set of “official rules” that includes a link to YouTube’s community guidelines and indicate that any entry which doesn’t comply will be disqualified. 
  • You must conduct your giveaway according to your official rules and award the prizes outlined therein. 
  • You cannot state or insinuate that YouTube (the company) is affiliated with or a sponsor of your giveaway, except with YouTube’s prior written consent.
  • You must include and adhere to a legally compliant privacy notice that explains how you use the data collected for your giveaway.

To ensure that your giveaway is perceived as genuine and doesn’t get flagged as a scam, we suggest you read through and comply with all the requirements, restrictions, and official contest rules. 

Choose your allies: Partners and collaborators

Doing your giveaway in partnership with another creator or brand is a great way to ensure a successful giveaway that will generate lots of engagement and subscribers for you. 

When choosing your allies, look for “someone who has something complimentary to offer and has a decent following.  This way your audiences get exposed to one another and there’s more of a chance for distribution and growth,” says Daniel Kosmala, a video marketing expert.

Do a joint giveaway with another YouTube Creator

A collaborative giveaway with another creator helps you kill two birds with one stone. You get to build relationships with creators within your niche and also get access to a wider audience. 

Video screenshot of fitness trainer, Keaira LaShae

See how the professional fitness trainer, Keaira LaShae  collaborated with The Fitness Marshall to giveaway a 7-day free trial for her workout program. There were several excited subscribers dropping comments like “Omg this collab just gave me life. Love both of your channels.” and “OH MY GOD! My 2 favourite instructors together!”

This shows that collaborating with another creator is a fantastic idea. However, if your ideal collaborator doesn’t live in the same city as you,  here’s a good recommendation on how to reach and plan a giveaway with them regardless of distance.

Partner with a niche brand

Another great way to increase the chances of success for your giveaway is to partner with a brand you know your audience will love. If you’re still a small or mid-sized YouTuber,  you can start by reaching out to local small businesses in your niche. 

Send a pitch and share how partnering with you can be beneficial to them. Most brands already know that partnering with YouTube creators can help them tap into loyal audiences, so you simply need to position yourself as a creator with an engaged audience and you can land that partnership deal.

Create a Plan: What to do Before Launching your Giveaway 

Even if you decide that you’re not yet ready to do a giveaway with another creator or brand, you can still run a successful giveaway by having a solid plan, choosing a great prize and actively promoting on other channels besides YouTube. 

Here’s how to get it done:

Define your goals

What are you trying to achieve with this giveaway? Do you want to reward existing subscribers and attract new ones? Or are you looking for a boost in visibility and engagement?

Defining your short and long term goals will help you plan and launch an effective giveaway because you will be able to identify your priorities and set giveaway entry 

requirements that support your objectives.

  • Increase visibility: this means you want more people to discover your channel. You can achieve this by asking participants to share your giveaway to increase their chances of winning the prize. You’ll also need to promote it on other channels. 
  • Get more subscribers: If your goal is to get subscribers, then encourage viewers to subscribe and ensure your prize will attract the right type of subscribers who will love your content and stick around after the giveaway ends.
  • Build loyalty: doing a giveaway to appreciate existing subscribers is a great way to nurture your relationship with them. This will promote loyalty and show new subscribers that supporting you comes with its own perks.  
  • Promote a brand: if you’re doing a giveaway in partnership with a brand, then you need to keep the brand’s priorities top of mind. Whether they want to build buzz around their brand or get new customers, you need to figure out how your giveaway can help them achieve that.  

After listing your goals, determine how you will measure the results. For visibility, check views and impressions. For subscriber growth, calculate how many new subscribers you gained after your giveaway ends. Loyalty can be difficult to measure, but if you don’t lose a ton of subscribers after your giveaway and your engagement rate increases, those serve as a good sign. 

Use a YouTube analytics report to accurately track and measure the KPIs for your giveaway.

Choose a prize that appeals to your target audience

Choose a prize that will appeal strongly to your target audience and attract high-quality subscribers who will stick around after the giveaway is over.

For example, 

  • If you’re a personal finance coach, you can offer free consultations to five lucky winners. 
  • If you share beauty content, you can offer a makeup set from your favorite brand. 
  • If your content is all about fitness, then you can offer a box of fitness gear.
Justin Tse video screenshot of giveaway

Justin Tse is a YouTube creator who frequently posts about consumer technology, so it made perfect sense when he decided to giveaway an Ergonofis Sway desk. People who don’t care about his content might not value a prize like that, but his target audience definitely will.

Remember that your audience will have to compete for your prize, so you need them to feel like it’s worth it. However, if this is your first giveaway, it would be best if the prize is something that doesn’t cost you a lot of money and can be delivered virtually, like a consultation, an ebook, or a ticket to an event. 

Consider third-party giveaway tools

There are third-party giveaway tools and platforms that make it frictionless to run and manage your giveaway. 

  • WooRise is a drag-and-drop giveaway builder that lets you create engaging forms and run viral giveaways. It also offers mobile-responsive templates for YouTube and provides analytics to track the performance of your campaign.  
  • Wishpond offers tools for automating your giveaway process. You can build a landing page, customize your entry form, track entries, award bonus entries to participants, and autogenerate a winner.
  • Giveaway Picker for YouTube is another tool that creators use to spice up their giveaways. With this, you can handle comment picking, receive notifications on entries and manage your giveaway directly on your mobile phone.
  • SocialMan is a platform for setting up entertaining YouTube giveaways. With the basic plan, you can host unlimited giveaways, accommodate an unlimited number of participants and do random draws to select winners.

When using third-party platforms, make sure that everything you do is in compliance with YouTube’s contest policies we mentioned earlier. Read the guidelines carefully and do a bit more research before you start working with any of these platforms.

Explore giveaway ideas 

If you’re still struggling to come up with a great giveaway idea, then this is the perfect time to get inspiration from what others have done. 

Screenshot of video from Rima Zahran giveaway of unique and designer fashion items

Rima Zahran, a lifestyle YouTube creator did a giveaway of unique and designer fashion items from her wardrobe. She had previously shared videos about her outfits, becoming a mom, and being sensitive. This means her subscribers connect with her on an emotional level and also like her style, which makes this a perfect giveaway idea. 

Screenshot of video of This Is Salvation giveaway for his Christian clothing brand

Giving away customized branded merch is also a lovely idea. To celebrate his 1000th subscriber, the creator behind This Is Salvation did a giveaway for his Christian clothing brand. His grand prize was a t-shirt and the winner could pick anyone they wanted. 

A live-streamed giveaway for small items like card games, board games, or self-care gift sets can be a lot of fun. This is great for special holidays like Father’s Day, Memorial Day or Christmas. Alternatively, if you run an educational channel for students, a live-streamed trivia contest with prizes will be a great activity to engage them in.

You can also pull ideas from giveaways hosted on other social media platforms. For example, on Instagram, two beauty brands, Glow Recipe, and Olaplex hosted a giveaway to celebrate their brand partnership. If your giveaway involves promoting a brand, doing something like this will be a great idea. 

Looking for even more ideas? We’ve got you! Check out: 

How to do a YouTube Giveaway in 5 steps 

So far, we’ve given you a rundown of everything you need to do to plan a successful YouTube giveaway. But how do you actually run the giveaway on YouTube? 

  1. Create a compelling video with details of your giveaway

One of the best ways to increase interest and engagement in your giveaway is to create a compelling video. Keep it short and highlight the key details of your giveaway so that viewers can understand what they need to do to enter and win. 

Use this as a mini video checklist:

  • Clearly state the rules and eligibility requirements 
  • Mention when your giveaway starts and ends
  • Talk about the prize you’re giving away
  • Mention the number of winners 
  • Mention how winners will be selected 
  • If there is an option for getting bonus entries, mention that
  • Add your unique hashtag
  • Create a thumbnail that shows the prize and boldly includes a “giveaway” text
  • Prioritize YouTube SEO when writing your video title and description

Ideally, your video should be no longer than 5 minutes and straight to the point, but it’s also possible to create your regular engaging content and include the giveaway details at the end of that video. Doing this can feel a lot more natural and authentic especially if you’re targeting existing subscribers. 

Manny Mua’s Fenty Beauty review + giveaway video screenshot

Manny Mua’s Fenty Beauty review + giveaway video is a good example of how to embed your giveaway within an already engaging video.

  1. Outline entry requirements that are easy to follow

Unless you’re giving away an island like Mr. Beast, there’s no reason why your entry requirements should be complicated. Keep it simple and easy to follow so people aren’t discouraged from participating. 

A few common requirements from popular giveaways are: 

  • Like, subscribe, and share
  • Tag 3 friends in the comments
  • Provide a valid email address
  • Eligibility – participants must be 18 years of age or older
  • Location – participants must be legal residents of the United States
  1. Use a landing page to automate the giveaway process

Using a platform like Wishpond, you can create a landing page that includes all the details about your giveaway and makes it easy for people to participate. This works best if you’re doing a giveaway in collaboration with a brand or you anticipate getting thousands of entries.

Kadee Botanicals landing page

Kadee Botanicals set up a landing page with an entry form that asks for a name and email. After entering, participants get the option to earn bonus points by following the brand on other social channels. 

  1. Promote your giveaway on YouTube and other channels

How do you create buzz for your giveaway and get more people within your target audience to participate?  

 Here are good suggestions:

  • Share giveaway-related interactive posts on other social media channels to increase awareness and drive traffic back to your YouTube giveaway video. Use these social media content generators to simplify the process.
  • Host a livestream. YouTube’s algorithm favors “livestreaming” channels, so you stand a good chance of reaching a wider audience if you livestream your giveaway.  Consider using tools like Vimeo or PepoCloud for this.
  • Publish subsequent videos on your channel throughout the duration of your giveaway that specifically mentions your giveaway video. Tell viewers what they stand to win and encourage them to go enter and participate.  
  • Make your giveaway video a custom channel trailer, so anyone who lands on your channel sees that first.
  • Add your giveaway video to your end screens and info cards for the duration of your contest. While doing this, make sure that the info cards are linked in a relevant way, otherwise, you risk violating YouTube’s fake engagement policy.
  • Create a hashtag to increase visibility. Remember Lew Later’s story and how his giveaway hashtag trended at #1 worldwide? A hashtag can help you keep track of entries outside YouTube, draw attention to your giveaway and inspire other people to participate. 
  • Ask participants to share your giveaway video. Encourage them to invite and tag their friends in the comments for a bonus entry. This will bring more visibility to your giveaway and your channel 
  • If you have a website with an SEO setup, share your giveaway. You can use a transcription tool to convert your video into a blog post if you don’t have time to write the post from scratch. 
  1. Choose your winner and ship the prize

Using the third-party platforms we mentioned above can make it easier to pick a winner if you decide to select one randomly. 

After making your decision, you can share a video announcing the winner or ask the winner to record a video you can post on your channel. Publicly showing the winner of your giveaway can boost credibility and prove that your giveaway was legitimate. 

Also, make sure to let the winner (or winners) know when and how they’ll receive their prize.

Final Tips

  • Start small. Target a niche audience, give back to subscribers, and offer prizes you can easily afford. 
  • Don’t do giveaways too often. You’re not trying to buy attention. Your main focus should be sharing content that is of value to your current subscribers. This will keep them engaged and whenever you decide to do a giveaway, they will appreciate it.
  • Be honest. Don’t chase virality or pull publicity stunts by creating fake giveaways with prizes you have no intention of actually giving. Eventually, people will notice and your channel could get banned.
  • Measure the success of your giveaway. Did you meet the objectives and goals you set at the beginning? 

Build loyalty and earn more subscribers with giveaways

A well-executed giveaway can generate a lot of buzz for your channel and help you create a sense of community for existing subscribers. 

We advise that you build some credibility first and wait to hit the 1000-subscriber mark so you have people who are excited to participate in your giveaway.

You also have to be okay with the fact that some people will subscribe only for the giveaway, but ultimately if you’re already creating valuable content, those who appreciate it will always stick around.

Cass Rosas

Cass is a content creator at DemandPlaybook, she is passionate about creating human-centric SEO content, she also covers topics such as search engine optimization, content operations, e-commerce, and social media marketing. In her spare time she likes listening to music, doing oil painting and watching SciFi movies.