||Do's and Don'ts of Photo-Sharing Mobile Contests
Smartphone owners love to take photos, which is why brands are increasingly holding mobile-friendly photo-sharing contests. While a sure way to drive engagement levels, brands need to go the extra mile to make these contests really worth the effort.
Chuck E. Cheese is one of the most recent examples of brands looking to leverage the convergence of mobile and social to drive customer engagement via a photo-sharing contest. However, marketers need to look closely to make sure these campaigns are worth the effort.
"Photo-sharing contests in general are great -- they are fun for customers and provide engagement for brands," said Adam Lavine, cofounder/CEO of Funmobility, Pleasanton, CA. "The issue is what insights are marketers getting from these contests?
"The thing about photo contests is that they tap into creativity and pride of authorship, but that is going to be a certain kind of customer that wants to do that," he said. "Are you hitting your sweet spot with this in terms of the kind of customer you are getting or are you hitting the type of customer that likes to take photos?
"With the inevitable need for curation, which takes resources, will the end result be something that you want to have? Is it worth all the effort?"
Mobile-friendly photo contests enable brands to engage with the growing number of consumers who use their smartphone as their primary photo-capture device. Since many users have photos stored on their phone, they can easily participate in mobile-optimized contests from a single device.
Those who do not upload photos may still want to participate by voting, viewing a photo gallery, or sharing entries.
As a result, photo-sharing contests are a good way for brands to start investigating mobile engagement.
"Photo contests allow consumers to become authentic advocates for your brand by showing what the brand means to them or how the interact with the brand," said Matt Kates, vice president of strategic services for ePrize, Pleasant Ridge, MI. "Additionally, consumers who share photos in a contest share the contest and their submissions with their friends, generating incremental awareness."
Harnessing Live Events
Marketers can also use photo contests as a way to drive traffic to a brand's mobile app and keep users coming back.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make with photo sharing contests is to not optimize it for mobile. This is a sure way to turn away many mobile users.
It is also important to not make the request too specific or hard for consumers to capture as this can result in lower participation and submission levels.
Marketers should also screen their entries to ensure that the eventual winner will be representative of the brand. There have been a few epic failures where consumers voted on a winner that was not in line with what the brand was looking for, per Mr. Kates.
One way to insure the success of a photo-sharing contest for mobile is to harness the power of live events.
"We're seeing a huge lift in people using their mobile phones at live events," Mr. Kates said.
"In fact, 75 percent of concert-goers take photos of their experience, according to Live Nation. Brands are able to engage with consumers in-venue, with any live audience, and invite them to interact with the Jumbotron," he said.
"This includes sending pictures to the screen, voting and polling, and more."
Photo Rating Opportunities
For brands that are moving beyond simply driving engagement and trying to gain insights into mobile users, it will take some more work to craft a campaign that will provide results that are meaningful.
This is why some brands are beginning to shift the focus from photo-sharing to photo rating.
For example, Funmobility is working with a few consumer packaged goods brands, such as Carol's Daughter, on creating photo-rating opportunities for customers.
The idea is that customers love to rate photos. By providing a way for these customers to view several product photos and rate their favorites, brands can ascertain users' taste and how they react to different visuals.
The Platform of Choice
Marketers should also keep in mind potential drawbacks to photo-sharing contests.
In addition to the need to invest in resources for curating the content, brands are holding up their hands to the artistic interpretation of the segment of their audience that likes to take photos so they need to be prepared for what the results will be.
"The brands for which photo contests make the most sense are not limited to retailers or CPG companies," Mr. Kates said. "Any company who can seamlessly tie in consumers to their brand story through photo contests can extend brand engagement or create awareness around their products.
"The key to success is to create a photo contest theme that aligns with the brand, motivates consumers to submit photos, and generates submissions that are interesting for other consumers and/or media to view," he said.
"We are moving toward a society where consumers will simply expect to be part of the mix, and mobile is clearly the platform of choice."
(Source: Chantal Tode, Associate Editor, Mobile Marketer, 05/07/13)
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