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How We Turn Under-$200 Giveaways into $5,000+ in Sales (and Combat Rising CPMs While We’re At It)

Last Updated April 28, 2021

We’ve all heard that just two things in life are certain: death and taxes. We’d like to add a couple more:

1. Facebook CPMs will rise, and 2. People like free stuff.

While we haven’t the secret to eternal life nor are we in the business of tax evasion, we can help you fight the surge in Facebook Ads cost while giving people what they want: something for nothing.

And you’ll be surprised how many people scrap that nothing part:


In this post, we’ll give you our best tips for running giveaway contests via Facebook that generate sales and grow your Messenger list – and trust us, that list will come in handy when your retargeting CPMs climb north of $50 (shoutout to the women’s clothing boutiques during peak Holiday!)

Meet Your New Best Friend, the Messenger Opt-In Giveaway

Here’s how it works, in a nutshell:

1. You decide on a package of items to give away, 100% free.

2. In order to enter said giveaway, people join your Messenger List.

3. You choose a length of time to allow people to enter your giveaway.

4. You announce your winner via Messenger after whatever time you’ve defined, and you announce the runner-up prize the same day.

… And you walk away with boosted sales and a healthy list of people you can contact for free via Facebook Messenger (where the open rate about triples that of the average email list).

Sounds easy, right? Well, there are about twenty ways to get it wrong, so …

How to Run a Giveaway the Right Way

We’ll take these point by point.

  • How do I decide what to give away?

This one’s easy: The more value you can afford to offer as a prize, the better. In fact, we won’t run a giveaway with less than $100 … you won’t get enough attention for that low a value.

At the same time, there’s no need to go bankrupt here … you won’t score high-quality Messenger subscribers for your men’s grooming supply store by giving away a car. You’ll get a bunch of people that want a car, not necessarily beard oil.

Instead, fuse the best of all worlds: Bundle a package of items that would give the winner the best impression of your store – a wide selection of items, if you have them, that a) photograph well, b) last awhile and c) combine for value over $100. Then, you can prompt the winner to share an unboxing video, a review of each item, and social shares of their use with the items over time.


Each social post and piece of user-generated imagery will be the icing on your giveaway cake.


  • How long should I give people to enter?

Give people enough time to see the promotion more than once and decide to enter it … but not so much time that they get annoyed by your follow-up Messenger pings, or forget they even entered by the time you announce a winner.

IRL, this is seven to ten days on less than a $200 value. The higher the value you’re offering, the longer you can extend the promotion, but we’d be wary (even on a $1,000+ prize) to go over two months. Where this longer timeline can work is on something like a conference ticket giveaway … the value is high and there’s an obvious, finite end to the promotion.


  • How do I get people to enter?

Advertise! We suggest a series of ads aimed at your most successful Top of Funnel audiences (strangers to your site), at your older Middle of Funnel audiences (say, site visitors last 30-90 days) and a little budget dedicated to your Bottom of Funnel, as well. Include styled pictures of the items you’re giving away in your ads, with clear calls to action to enter.

Depending on the sizes of the audiences you’re trying to reach, $500-$1000 should do the trick.

Sound like a lot to spend on a giveaway? Well, it’s not just going to bring you subscribers …


Here, we used Manychat to develop low-friction landing pages for our Promotion ads, where email addresses were pre-filled to opt-in with a single click. Another great option? Comments as opt-in (PS: These are all beyond simple to set up in Manychat’s backend – and free!).

Then, we sent pretty much immediate follow-up pings to those who entered the giveaway/signed up for Messenger, with direct button links to shop during a sale the store was currently having.

And shop they did.

** Best practices reminder here to add UTM parameters to any shopping links your put into Messenger campaigns so you can more accurately track the traffic and revenue they generate.


  • You said something about a runner-up prize?

Yes, but before we address it, we need to address the Number On Rule of Runner-Up Prizes, and it is: You Do Not Talk About the Runner-Up Prizes.

See, you’re not going to be giving away a conventional runner-up prize, where folks could get excited about maybe winning a trip to Arizona as a runner-up winner to the Grand Prize trip to Egypt.

You’re going to be giving away Store Cash.

Not a coupon discount. Not a Buy One Get One.

Store Cash.

Because just like people love free stuff, they really love free cash. And they super extra mega really love it when they weren’t expecting any.

We suggest adding a minimum order value and time constraint to your free cash giveaway, too – think, $25 store cash with a minimum order value of $50 this weekend only.

Take it From the Big Boys

How magic is the free cash phrase? Think about some of the best-known retailers during holiday weekends: When you shop and save at, say, Kohl’s during their Fourth of July Sale, what happens? Along with your receipt, you’ll get $X in Kohl’s Cash to spend two weeks later.

And that’s exactly what you’ll do, too! Here’s our scheduling suggestion:

- Run promo to enter: 7-10 days, ending on a Tues/Weds.
- Announce Winner: Day 11
- Announce Store cash Upcoming for the following weekend on Day 11.
- Allow Store Cash use for Friday - Monday.
- Happy Dance.

Thinking about how much cash to give away? We’re partial to half your Average Order Value. So if you’re AOV is $53, try $25 in Store Cash.

** Note that this calculation isn’t as magic as the phrase. What we aim to do is raise your AOV with this store cash promo. You want people to need to substantially spend more than that amount in order to spend it at all (so if you offer lots of low-ticket items? Consider excluding those from your Store Cash promo).


  • I’m on board. When should I run a giveaway?

We’re going to circle back to CPM costs for a second to answer this one, and force you to remember that every holiday = CPM rise on Facebook. Doesn’t even have to be a big holiday! We see jumps on Presidents’ Day and … c’mon, that’s not exactly Black Friday, people.

Taking that into account, we suggest you gather your giveaway opt-ins/Messenger subscribers before the next holiday. There’s less noise on the platform, and your promo ad will have a chance to stand out when it’s not surrounded by hundreds of giant, flashy sales.

Need a little extra motivation? Run your giveaway pre-holiday and you’ll be able to pocket some extra cash by targeting your new, mega-active subscriber list for free while everyone else is out there paying through the nose for every click they can.

How’s that for cost efficiency?

Ready to scale your profits sustainably?

TJ Jones -  CoFounder EmberTribe (1)

T.J. Jones

CoFounder EmberTribe

TJ will help you uncover some of the best growth opportunities for your brand in the First Call.


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