“Sweepstakes Games” are a type of game where a prize or prizes may be awarded to a winner or winners. Sweepstakes began as a form of lottery game that was tied to products sold. In response, the FCC and FTC refined U.S. broadcasting laws (creating the anti-lottery laws). Under these laws sweepstakes became strictly “No purchase necessary to enter or win” and “A purchase will not increase your chances of winning”, especially since many sweepstakes companies skirted the law by stating only “no purchase necessary to enter”, removing the consideration (one of the three legally required elements of gambling) to stop the abuse of sweepstakes. Today, Sweepstakes games in the USA are used as marketing promotions to reward existing consumers and to draw attention to a product. By definition, the winner is determined by luck rather than skill.
Because of their potential for abuse, sweepstakes are heavily regulated in many countries. The US, Canada, and individual US states all have laws covering sweepstakes, so there are special rules depending on where the entrant lives. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission exercises some authority over sweepstakes promotion and sweepstakes scams in the United States. Notably, sweepstakes in Canada, Australia, and several European countries require entrants to solve an elementary-school-level mathematical puzzle or answer a fairly simple knowledge question or solve a trivial fill-in-the-blanks guessing competition, making it (in theory, at least) a contest of skill in order to overcome requirements that would classify sweepstakes as a form of gambling under their country’s legal definition. There are similar laws in Brazil, usually requiring an answer to an easy “giveaway” question.
It is extremely important that mobile app sweepstakes game publishers determine all key aspects of the contest or promotion (duration, prize amounts, number of prizes, etc.) ahead of time, because once a promotion commences, and the rules are published, it is next to impossible to legally alter material terms. As such, it is highly recommended for publishers to retain qualified legal counsel to ensure contest rules are right in advance, as well as to avoid the numerous potential legal pitfalls that loom if the contest is not operated in compliance with applicable law.
In the games industry, acquiring players will depend largely on platform distribution. For mobile games, distribution is typically in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, with other app stores like Amazon available as well. For PC, a publisher may distribute on Steam or other publishing networks found on the Web. As a result, marketing is tailored to driving potential buyers to the stores or sites where games can be purchased.
For many advertisers, Facebook offers the highest volume and quality source of advertising traffic through Mobile App Install Campaigns. Fully capitalizing on the potential of the Facebook platform requires heavy creative testing and, more importantly, continually adapting to changes in Facebook’s advertising strategies and algorithms. Over the past few years, Facebook has ramped up the frequency of advertising product changes, and top mobile app advertisers have followed suit by ramping up the frequency of strategy changes. Looking back historically, the strategy we deploy today is very different than the strategy we deployed six months ago. Interestingly, this statement would hold true for any backward-looking period of time over the past five years. Put simply, our strategy is always changing to keep up with Facebook’s best practices for Mobile App Install Campaigns.
Alongside Facebook’s ad solutions are Google App Campaigns, which let advertisers create ads where people can download an app directly from an ad. App Campaign ads – and all the settings available for Google App Campaigns – are designed expressly to generate app installs, such as for sweepstakes games.
You can use other campaign types, like display ads and even text ads, to advertise apps. But, the conversion rates for those campaigns are terrible comparable to App Campaigns. You’re just way more likely to get people to install an app if they only have to make a couple of clicks.
For sweepstakes games, Facebook Mobile App Install Campaigns and Google App Campaigns are the best tools to acquire valuable players. If you aren’t squeezing every drop of opportunity out of Facebook and Google ads, it’s time to up your game.