I was talking with one of my clients about Facebook contest platforms – applications used to create contests, quizzes, sweepstakes, polls and coupons on Facebook. I explained which applications work best to help move potential customers closer to the point of purchase vs. which applications work best to move existing customers towards becoming brand advocates. I thought it might be helpful to post some information about these different platforms that help companies with Facebook contest set-up and promotion.
Below are the top ten Facebook contest platforms that you should know about when trying to decide on a Facebook contest vendor. Selecting a Facebook contest vendor is not an easy task as many of the companies (during an initial review of their websites) seem to be quite similar. I will delve into more of the individual details of each of the Facebook contest platforms in future posts but as an initial introduction, I have broken the top 10 list down into three, fun categories; 1) Just Do It, 2) The Big Kahunas 3) One of These Kids is doing his Own Thing. Let me explain these categories and platforms further.
Category One: “Just Do It”
The “Just Do It” platforms are good for customers who need to launch a Facebook contest with photos, videos or essays and don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with a more complicated back-end management tool.
These companies offer simple analytics. At this point in time, these companies do not have a publisher to put out scheduled updates and do not moderate or notify clients when certain words (for example, inappropriate language or competitors’ names) are posted on your wall from fans. These companies are cost-effective and a fine choice if you are simply looking to get started with a Facebook contest and are not worried about moderating comments on your wall or dealing with multi-administrator rights.
Wizehive started out as an internal file sharing and collaboration platform. The bulk of their business now focuses on tracking and managing grants and scholarships but has recently broken into the Facebook contest world and allows clients to organize and manage online contests. Their system can also accept paid contest entries, allow public voting, collect videos and online submissions. Wizehive offers varying packages; The Silver Plan includes a customized entry form, and the Platinum Plan includes external APIs.
As they are relatively new to the Facebook contest world, using Wizehive might be a cost effective way to launch a contest, particularly if you do not need post scheduling, moderating, custom analytics, polls, quizzes, coupons or votes to be connected to Facebook accounts. They are easy to reach on the phone and happy to answer any questions.
Silver Plan: $750 – $2,500; Gold Plan: $2,500 – $7,500; Platinum Plan: $7,500 and up
Wildfire is the heavy weight in this category and I suspect that they will soon be moving up in the world of Facebook contests. Wildfire lets you run social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook. Unlike many other companies, you can easily log on and start to build a contest or giveaway with little to no technology skills and before you even purchase the product. The word on the street is that Wildfire will soon be launching a publisher with scheduling and may break into moderating as well.
Wildfire offers several different package options; Basic, Standard, Premium and White Label. The Basic and Standard options offer website widgets, integration and unlimited participants. The Premium package offers the options mentioned above plus design. The White Label offers the most options, which includes everything in the Premium package plus custom CSS, complete data ownership and no Wildfire branding.
Basic: $5 per campaign + $.99 per day; Standard: $25 per campaign + $2.99 per day; Premium: $250 per campaign + $4.99 per day; White Label: Starting at $5,000 for self-service, Starting at $15,000 and up for full-service
Votigo does a lot of micro site contests as well as Facebook contests. They also seem to be doing well with their contest widgets and mobile apps. They are not easy to reach on the phone and their “Contact Us” page says in bold “We offer social media promotions starting at $5,000.” – which I assume to mean “we work with companies who have money so small fish need not apply.” None the less, they have done some very cool work with some very big brands such as Ford, Coca-Cola and AOL.
Price: Starting at $5,000 and up
Like all the other companies mentioned in this category, Strutta offers contests in which users participate by uploading content such as photo, video, audio or text. They also offer sweepstakes. Their design work and front-end usability is well done. You can use their existing design templates or tap into their API for more customized design. They also offer analytics to measure shares.
Price: $1999 + $199 per month
Category Two: “The Big Kahunas”
These “Big Kahuna” platforms are for good customers who need multiple Facebook pages, multiple languages, multiple administrators, wall monitoring and/or in-depth analytics.
This category includes companies which might be right for customers who need complete back-end dashboards that can manage multiple Facebook contests, in different languages, with specific permission rights for multiple administrators. These companies also have publishers which offer clients scheduled updates live on their Facebook wall. Also, their analytics are custom built, flexible and exportable.
Buddy Media focuses exclusively on Facebook which is a strategic move and differs from other companies which are being pulled in multiple directions. Buddy Media allows you to carefully manage your corporate Facebook presence. It offers extensive traffic analytics and engagement tools or, as they say, “Not just tools, but power tools for Facebook.” Buddy Media has helped a number of large organizations support a successful social media presence, including Southwest, T.J. Maxx and the Dallas Cowboys.
PRICE: $3,000 – $15,000 per contest
Involver works with clients to engage across the web. They work on maintaining a consistent voice and branding across social media platforms, generating earned media and engaging customers, prospects, employees and other influencers on social media. Involver is a technology provider for Facebook’s internal marketing team and they claim that their Social Markup Language (SML) makes it easier for front-end developers to create, optimize and scale applications on Facebook and the web. Involver is currently supporting over 250,000 brands and agencies who manage audiences of more than 500,000,000 fans.
PRICE: $2,749 + per month
Like Involver, Context Optional works on building brand presence via social media. Tools for multi-site publishing, management of multiple Facebook campaign accounts and analytics are available. They offer custom social strategies, training, design and community management. Context Optional was recently acquired by Efficient Frontier, the display ad company. I assume this will bring extra benefits to its clients with additional advertising options to activate their contests. Context Optional works with many Fortune 500 brands ranging from retail to finance to automotive to entertainment and more.
PRICE: $2,500 and up per month and per contest. Custom contests for $15,000 – $20,000
Vitrue has been around awhile and has worked with many of the leading brands, publishers, and agencies in the world, helping them reach and connect with consumers using contests, sweepstakes, etc. They have analytics and publishing capabilities but are going to need to keep up with better usability for their customers if they want to continue to hold on to their giant market share. I was not able to reach Vitrue to discuss pricing but I can only assume that they are comparable to Context Optional and Buddy Media.
Webtrends, with a strong background in the web analytics industry has moved toward a focus on social media measurement, digital marketing consulting, paid-search optimization and Facebook applications. They have a great list of Facebook apps including the traditional Facebook contests. With over 15 offices in the US, Europe and Asia, Webtrends has in-depth experience working with companies around the world. Webtrends works with companies such as Ticketmaster, match.com, Reuters, General Mills and US Bank
Price: Self-service starting at $2,000 per year per app , Full-service package starting at $10,000 year
“One of These Kids is doing His Own Thing”
With its reward-based referral marketing on Facebook, I wasn’t sure which category to slot this company into – so I created its own. I am sure there will soon be more companies like this to follow and I will add them to this category as they scale.
This category is for companies that stand apart from the other classic Facebook contest companies. The one company currently in this category is leveraging the power of friend recommendations and should be seriously considered if you are promoting a product that can be tied to free giveaways
Why there are not more companies copying the Extole “Refer-a-Friend” module is beyond me. Extole has taken a unique approach to social referral marketing. They do the classic sweepstakes and contests but the difference is that a user can also recommend a product or a sweepstake to their own contacts (via Facebook, Twitter, Email, etc) and then receive rewards if their friends join. Everything is tracked through unique ID’s and individual users can view their own “score board” of link visits and credits earned.
Other good Facebook companies can be found on Facebook’s Preferred Developer Consultant (PDC) program
There it is – the top ten list of Facebook contest platforms as I see it today. I would be happy to hear from any readers who have used one or more of the above platforms. Who likes what – and why? Please share your thoughts.