How to Design a Tempting Facebook Contest in the World of Distraction?

Have you tried a contest before, but it didn’t meet your expectations?

What was the problem?

The design? The copy? Or the call-to-actions?

To help you we’ve collected the best examples from our customers from the last week.

See what they are good at, and well, borrow!


Steal how these marketers find a theme that makes their audience spellbound. And understand how they make it visually appealing.

The answers are easier than you think. For example an arrow pointing to a button you want visitors to click is a no-brainer, right?

Let’s dive in.

A Quick Recap on Why You Do This in the First Place

When I ask our customers why they run a Facebook contest, they usually have two reasons: capturing email addresses and attracting more fans.

You know what?

The “attracting more fans” part will change soon.

Because Facebook has become an advertising platform, and having “more” fans won’t be important anymore.

As Jonathan Rose, Product Evangelist at Idio predicted in this post in December.

Because the content in News Feed is always changing, and we’re seeing more people sharing more content, Pages will likely see changes in distribution that will lead to a rapid decline in organic reach. (…)

Simply put, Facebook will be downgrading the visibility of organic brand content and starting to ruthlessly prioritise paid-for brand content in user’s News Feeds.

Putting simply: Facebook users have many friends but spend limited time on the site. You need to pay to get in front of their eyes.

Since then, the knowledge circulating on the Internet has been centered around how to beat the dropping organic reach.

One of posts is this great one from Kevin Shively of Simply Measured. This is where I found this horrific graph.

Ugly. Source: social@Ogilvy

Ugly. Source: social@Ogilvy

No Free Lunch

This is it, you need to pay to reach fans.

And contests shouldn’t be for pumping up your page, as if your fan base is diluted with irrelevant fans, it makes advertising even more expensive.

Contests should be run consciously to reach the right people AND to capture their email addresses.

As Andrea Vahl, the founder of the Social Media Manager School said at the Social Media Marketing World conference (where she met Antavo’s CMO Zsuzsi Szabo):

 “Facebook is not free any more. Build your list to reach fans in email. Contests are great to build this list.”

#1. If You Want More Likes, Do It Nicely

If your contest attracts the right customers as you offer the right grand prize, and you advertise to the right people, then you should want them as fans.

Use a „like-gate” to make them like your Facebook Page.

A like-gate is a landing page that hides the content of your contest from non-fans. These people can’t enter your contest till they become fans.

Here is a nice example.

Waypoint Homes is a home rental company. They hosted an essay contest to find a community center or a park, which they could give a complete makeover. (Very nice cause!)


On their like-gate there are both a call-to-action („Like us to enter!” with a bubble pointing to the „Like” button) and the benefit you get after liking their page.

It’s quite straightforward, as you know at first glance what you have to do.

Here is another example.

Marine Deals is an online shop for fishing tools. They put the photo of their grand prize to their like-gate image, so their target customers can see it right away. Tempting!


Also, there is a big arrow that leads the visitors’ gaze to the „Like” button.

Yes, sometimes you need a good, old-fashioned arrow. People like clear call-to-actions.

Both of these like-gates have clear wording, strong incentives to click the Like button, and beautiful designs.

Want to see some ugly designs just to compare? Only if you can spare 5 minutes. Matthew Shuey did a great job with gathering the most hideous ones.

#2. Catching Their Attention with the Right Topic

We have seen many successful contests from our customers.

And success depends on multiple factors like the right grand prize, campaign mechanics, or a topic that fits.

If you find the right topic, it can attract the right audience, just like this company did.

The Entertainer is a toyshop that frequently runs sweepstakes and contests on its Facebook Page.


In April they wanted to create a special contest and chose April Fool’s Day as their main topic. (They must have been inspired by this infographic.)

Kids like to play pranks on others and their parents are also affected by this fun day of practical joking, so it makes a suitable topic.

Let’s see another example.

Sarolta Ban is an artist who wanted to help homeless dogs to find their new home. This photo contest went and is still going extremely viral.


You upload a photo of an abandoned dog (mainly animal shelters do this) then the artist creates a unique image with digital photo editing. If the dog finds a new owner, then the artist gives the picture to the owner as a present.

Her touching initiative was featured in the Huffington Post and Yahoo Shine.

Her efforts paid off, and got in front of many new eyes of many new people. In two short months she gathered 100.000 new fans.

#3. Post so You Can Promote

As discussed earlier there is no more free lunch, you need to pay Facebook to spread your message.

You will need an eye-catching image, some clues so people can recognize that the offer is for them, and a clear call-to-action.

There is a whole science of advertising to the right people. Jon Loomer does a very good job explaining it. His latest video is about how you can reach people who are similar to your best customers.

Marine Deals shared the contest’s link (that works on mobile too) with a great copy. They included how and what you can win – the target customers were easily able to recognize the grand prize.


ShakeAway gave away a month’s supply of milkshakes to 10 winners. You needed to upload a picture of your pet pretending to drink from a ShakeAway cup.


They promoted this post to drive traffic to the photo contest in order to encourage voters after the uploading period closed.

Both of these posts have a clear benefit (“Win something”) and they are informative enough to be attractive for new people when advertising to non-fans.

In both cases they show the grand prize and include the direct (and mobile compatible) link to the contest.

#4. Consistency and Style

A contest’s front page should have a single reason: to make people give their contact details.

No frills. is a fashion retailer that shows a great example of how to create a sweepstakes with style.

There are no unnecessary details, the page is to-the-point and drives you to click “Enter”.


Feria Central is like Etsy in Argentina. They set the background image of their website to the background image of the app, so the contest is recognizable right away.


Did you get that you need to click the big orange button even though you don’t speak Espagnol?

Great, I thought so.

Conclusion? Be Clear.

See, being straightforward is not super hard.

Your contest can attract thousands of the right people. And you and your boss will be happy.

Take your time to find a theme that fits your audience. Once done, tell people what and how they can win, and put there a big button to make it a no brainer to enter. (Here at Antavo’s platform we give guidance how to do that.)

Make it simple.

Make it a success.

How to Design a Tempting Facebook Contest in the World of Distraction? by
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Timi is a Customer Success Manager at Antavo, a marketing tool to create loyalty programs and contest apps to Facebook, mobile and web. She is also an expert of the manga and anime subculture!
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