5 Tips for Running Successful Agency-Model Contests

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Shweiki Media teams up with Matt Coen, president and co-founder of Second Street Promotions Lab, to present must-know tips for running successful agency-model Facebook contests. Administering contests for one’s advertisers is a great way to help them achieve their marketing goals, while simultaneously generating revenue for one’s own company, and here the printer and publisher partners with the online promotions guru to explain how to do it best.

An agency-model Facebook contest is one that, as a media company, one would administer for an advertiser on their Facebook Page with their branding, operating almost as an advertising agency.

While some media companies have been embracing the agency-model to the extent that they are creating their own in-house agencies, one option is can selling agency-model Facebook contests to advertisers as a service.

Agency-model promotional packages typically include contest design, set-up and promotion, as well as an opt-in on the registration page to help the advertiser grow their email database. In return, the advertiser provides a relevant prize and pays the media company for their services and promotion.

Here’s an example of an agency-model Facebook contest administered by a media company on the advertiser’s Facebook Page…

Facebook Page:


Contest Entry Form:


There are many benefits to agency-model Facebook contesting. First of all, contests work. This is especially true on social media, where viral sharing has the power to expose a promotion to an audience otherwise out of reach. Furthermore, according to research from eMarketer, the number-one reason that people “like” a company page on Facebook is because they want to participate in a promotion or claim an offer on that page. (This is where like-gating—or making it mandatory for a visitor to “like” one’s page to participate in a contest or promotion—comes in.)

The Wall Street Journal reported that there are 18 million local businesses that now have a Facebook Page, meaning that many advertisers understand the power of social media.

The vast majority of these advertisers (72%) cite “building an audience of new customers and leads” as their primary social media marketing objective, according to data from Manta, and a contest is the perfect way to achieve that. However, many advertisers often do not have the time, the know-how, the design skills, or the promotional resources to succeed with Facebook contesting.

This is where a media company comes in.

As a media company, one has plenty of promotional power—as well as the tools, resources and experience—that it takes to design and administer successful Facebook contests, and offering services to advertisers is an excellent way to generate some extra revenue while helping them achieve their marketing goals.

5 Tips for Running Successful Agency-Model Contests

1. Target the Right Advertisers

The best local advertisers to approach are those who have good reputations in the community, but don’t have the time or resources to run their own promotions.

2. Choose the Right Contest

While one can make any contest type available through an agency model, most advertisers are usually looking to make a big splash and attract hundreds of entries, so a simple enter-to-win sweepstakes is the best contest type to achieve the results they want. The key is knowing what an advertiser’s goals are for the promotion and to keep those in mind while planning.

3. Choose the Perfect Prize

The prize is imperative to the success of the contest. Not only should it match the products and services that the advertiser provides whenever possible, but it should also have enough value that people will want to enter the contest. After all, a prize that no one especially wants to win is not going to drum up a lot of participation. The right prize, however, will not only encourage entries, it will encourage social sharing as well.

4. Create a Killer Advertising Package

In order to get advertisers excited about the possibility of an agency-model Facebook contest, one needs to put together an enticing promotional package, making sure to include a like-gate on the contest, promotion on one’s own website, promotion in print, social media mentions, at least one email to one’s own promotional database, and an email opt-in for the advertiser on the contest registration page. As an added bonus, one should offer survey questions that will help the advertiser identify hot, qualified leads.

5. Price Contests Appropriately

Media companies in small markets have charged anywhere from $300 to $5,000 for an agency-model Facebook contests, those in mid-size markets up to $15,000, and those in large markets up to $20,000. No matter what size market one is in, it’s important to assign a dollar value to every element in the promotional package and charge an amount that correlates to the total value of the contest and promotion the advertiser will be receiving.


When one has an in-house agency, agency-model Facebook contests can be an important core of one’s model. If not, selling agency-model Facebook contests as a service is simply a great way to diversify  revenue. No matter what the approach, the goal is the same: to close the gap between what one currently sells (advertising)and
 what local merchants want: measurable results from a variety of
 digital platforms.



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Matt Coen

Matt Coen is the Co-founder and President of Second Street, the leading provider of online promotions platforms and partner success services for the media industry. Coen also teaches entrepreneurship at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2006, Coen Co-Wrote and Produced the award winning documentary Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? Coen began his career in media technology at Pulitzer Technologies as Director of New Business and Product Development. Coen is a native of Rhode Island who loves spending time with his family, sports, politics, travel, and serving on a number of community boards.
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