7 Ways to Choose a Contest Winner

A contest isn’t over when the countdown timer ends.

It ends when you choose a winner.

In this article I’ll show you a number of different methods to choose a winner and a few best practices to follow.





Winner Selection Methods


In this section I’ll show you how to use the most popular winner selection methods:


#1. Random Selection

The easiest way to choose a winner is to use a simple random selection tool. You can do this automatically using a contest app like Wishpond: You collect entries on the contest entry page, and then when the contest is over you click the ‘Select Winner Randomly’ button and one entrant is chosen at random by the system.


#2. Most Votes

This method is the best for generating engagement: Entrants are much more likely to share with their friends, because it will get them more votes, than with any other method.

Most contest apps come with built-in voting buttons and counters that automate the process of finding the entries with the most votes, making this a very easy and straightforward winner selection method.


#3. Most Likes on a Comment on a Facebook Post

Facebook now allows you to run contests in Posts on your Page’s Timeline. The easiest way to do this is to ask people to write a comment on the post to enter, and then Like the comments that they think are the best.

Just make sure that you take a screenshot of the comment thread at the end of the contest. Otherwise people will continue to Like comments after the end time of the contest, leading to disputes.


#4. A Panel of Judges

This method has the potential to create a much more engaging experience between your company and contest entrants.

The best way to do this is to get contestants to enter some user-generated content that your team has a high level of expertise with. Then, record a round-table judging process in which the panel gives their feedback and arguments to decide which entry should be the winner.

This is a great way to create engaging, entertaining and educational content that your Fans will love to share, especially if they are mentioned in the recording in a positive light.


#5. Combination

A combination of entry methods can also be good, especially to hedge against some entrants winning simply because they have more friends.

The best way to do this is to have one public voting round, and a second judging round.

In the first round, the public votes on their favorite entries.

Then the top ten entries, with the most votes, move onto the second round where the panel of judges chooses the winner, based on which one best meets the contest’s entry requirements.


More Winner Selection Options


#6. Daily winner selection

Daily winner selection is the best way to have people coming back every single day to engage with and share your contest. While you don’t want to do this forever, having a week-long daily winner contest will help your contest’s engagement snowball as people come back again and again.


#7. Multiple Winners

Having multiple prizes can have a huge impact on the percentage of people who enter your contest after hearing about it.

If they see that there are multiple prizes, they will see that they have a much higher chance of winning something than if there was only one prize. And they’ll be much more likely to enter.




Bonus Section: Rooting out and Disqualifying Cheaters


It doesn’t happen very often, but there is a slight chance that an entrant may commit some kind of fraud in order to increase their chance of winning.

The type of fraud we see most often is vote buying: This is when people pay others to vote for their entry when a contest winner is decided by number of votes.
Now, it can be almost impossible to prove 100% that a person has bought votes, but it’s easy to see when someone is doing it. Here are a few warning signs that a person is buying votes:

One entry has far more votes than any other
One entry is getting a large number of votes from people who live in different countries.


Here are two ways to squash fraudulent voting:

CAPTCHA: Require voters to solve a CAPTCHA before their vote will be counted Email Confirmation: Send an email to voters after they vote with a confirmation link inside it that they need to click to make their vote count


Right to Disqualify: One thing you always want to include, no matter which type of winner selection method you choose, is a caveat that you have the right to disqualify any entry. This is important if you need to disqualify an inappropriate or fraudulent entry.

Let your entrants know how you deal with fraud by posting this in your contest rules:

“We reserve the right to disqualify any entrant that we suspect of vote rigging or vote buying.”

Thanks for reading! Now that you’ve checked out all of these awesome techniques, let me make one request:

Use them in your next contest and then let me know how successful they were by leaving a comment down below. I’d love to hear how well they worked for you.


Related resources:

Wishpond's Facebook Contest Apps make it easy to create sweepstakes, photo contests, Instagram hashtag contests & more.