Video Monetization

5 Creative YouTube Giveaway Ideas To Boost Engagement

By Irene Chan
10 Min Read

Learn More about Video Monetization

An image of a woman recording herself while testing creative YouTube giveaway ideas.

Engagement is incredibly important for any YouTuber. It basically dictates the overall performance of any channel. If you’re looking for a way to give your YouTube channel a quick engagement boost, YouTube giveaways are a fun and sure way to achieve that. 

Now, there are tons of giveaway contest ideas out there, but in this article, we’re going to focus on new creative YouTube giveaway ideas that we don’t see many content creators doing yet. 

Why Should You Run a YouTube Giveaway?

[I know why. Skip to the good part!]

Now, if you’re still on the fence about running a giveaway because it sounds like a lot of work and money, here are a few reasons why you should give YouTube giveaways a go:

  • Brand awareness: using YouTube as a giveaway tool is a fantastic way to reach new audiences because people will often share with their friends and followers to win the giveaway prize.
  • Get more views and subscribers: if people have to subscribe to your channel or watch one of your videos to enter the giveaway, you will naturally get more views and subscribers.
  • Get more engagement: people will be commenting, liking, and sharing your contest videos more if they are entered into a giveaway.
  • Promote loyalty: you can win more loyal fans willing to support you even after the giveaway, especially if they have a smooth and fun experience. 
  • Generate leads: if you have something to sell (like an exclusive video membership) you can funnel your YouTube viewers to your membership site, where they can get a free piece of content in exchange for their email address.

Hosting giveaways is a creative and quick way to get the initial boost of subscribers and engagement if you’re just starting. And if you’re already an established YouTuber, it’s an excellent way to increase your YouTube presence, reward loyal fans and reach new subscribers.

Now, let’s talk about 5 fun, creative ideas for your next YouTube giveaway.

Fun and Creative YouTube Contest Ideas

The good news is that being creative means taking old ideas and adding your own twist to them. These ideas also leverage the existing resources you have, so these contest ideas are all within reach.

1. Take the Time to Treat Lucky Subscribers

Giving away your time and talent is special and unique. Your viewers will appreciate it, especially if it’s something that could change their lives.

Imagine how thrilled a viewer would be to win a lunch date with you. It’s a win-win too. You get to spend time with a true fan, make their day, and develop a closer bond with a subscriber.

While this isn’t something you can do every week or month, it is a fantastic way to connect with your audience on a deeper level and show how much you appreciate them.

To hold this special and creative YouTube giveaway, you should:

  • Create a special yet realistic prize: should you do a one-hour coaching call on Zoom or a coffee meetup with a few winners? An in-person meetup works great if you have many subscribers in your local area. 
  • Have clear contest rules: describe who’s eligible to win and what you’re covering. For example, if it’s an in-person meetup, you’ll only cover expenses during the meetup, not airfare and accommodation. Add any disclaimer if needed.
  • The best answer wins: the best and easiest way to choose the winner is to ask why they want to meet you. Explain that you’ll choose the winner with the most creative answers or those who truly need help. 

You want to avoid choosing the winner randomly because subscribers will be less motivated to provide creative answers. Answers could also be used for future content and YouTube giveaway brainstorming sessions, so the more creative, the better! 

The Omaze contest is one of the most creative and grandest examples I’ve ever seen. In 2018, Omaze ran a contest where one lucky winner could meet Benedict Cumberbatch and the entire cast of Sherlock in London. 

To win, fans had to send a short video explaining why they wanted to meet Benedict.

An image of Benedict Cumberbatch advertising a YouTube contest.

Omaze, is, of course, a grand example. What’s something simple you can offer for your YouTube giveaway? 

Putting together custom and unique templates and tutorials is a good starting point. For example, if you’re a travel vlogger, you can create a special and custom travel itinerary for a lucky winner who’s going on their first trip.

2. Celebrate a Huge Creator Milestone with Special Swag

It’s common to give away branded merch. But you can take it to the next level and add their names. It’s truly a unique and special merch because they’ll be the ones that have it!

This type of giveaway contest is perfect for you if: 

  • You already have merch items that your subscribers love. 
  • You are celebrating a huge creator milestone or anniversary soon (like reaching 100,000 subscribers). 
  • You want to choose multiple winners, so more fans could get a chance to win. 

The theme for this giveaway contest is celebrating your milestone with your fans. It’s a great way to thank them and make them feel special. After all, you achieved it because of them!

Here’s how to organize this YouTube contest with that theme in mind: 

  1. Choose the most special and expensive merchandise in your store to give away or create a new product.
  2. Create a special design for the milestone or anniversary and add it to the mockup. 
  3. To win, subscribers need to share how they first discovered your YouTube channel. 

In choosing the winners for this kind of YouTube contest, you want to prioritize subscribers who have supported you from the early days of your channel. 

For example, I organized a giveaway for BeLive, a cloud-based live-streaming platform, for its anniversary. Winners got special anniversary pillows and mugs with their names on them.

An image of BeLive's givewaway.

We used to create the merch and asked each winner what they wanted to put on their pillows and mugs. Some chose their names, while others chose their live stream show. 

You can even feature the winner’s photo or video with the merch on your next video.

3. Host a Live Stream to Give Away Gag Gifts

One thing that may keep you from hosting a proper giveaway is the budget. After all, it seems that everyone is giving away an iPhone! But giving away an expensive phone or laptop–is, to be honest–uninspired.

Worse, some may think that your giveaway is a scam.

If you have a quirky brand and your target audience loves you for it, you can always give away something cheap, funny, and meaningful.

Funny and quirky items you can give away:

  • Funny board games like Exploding Kittens
  • Neckties with weird prints
  • Candles with “realistic” smells
  • Classic cat inspirational poster

This is perfect during holidays and events like Halloween, Christmas, and April Fools’.

To take engagement to the next level, you can host a live stream on your YouTube channel during the holiday. For example, you can show up in a live stream dressed up as a new superhero you made up. 

As part of the mechanics, you can ask viewers to choose your superhero name and your superpowers. The winners can get funny superhero-related merch. You know your audience best, so pick the ones they’ll find amusing!

4. Use Fun Puzzle Games to Get More Comments

Everyone loves games! You can inject some fun into your YouTube challenge contest by adding games on top of it.

Commenting to join a contest is the easiest way to get engagement. But if your audience loves a good brain teaser, they’ll most likely take the time to figure out the answer (even if they lose!).

Here’s how to get started: 

  1. Pick an old but popular game: this establishes the context and it will be easy to explain the mechanics.
  2. Simplify the mechanics: for example, you can add a modified crossword game to one of your YouTube videos. Show several letters on the screen, and the viewers must put the letters together to form words.
  3. Provide clear rules: does the winner need to form the most number of words? Or the longest word? How many winners are you choosing?

What are other classic games that you can incorporate in your giveaway? 

The possibilities are endless! Just think about what your target audience likes most, and start adding new clever ways to the mechanics.

5. Take Inspiration from Reality Shows

Nothing beats reality shows for the ultimate giveaway. So, how do you actually translate YouTube contest ideas like that into a creative YouTube channel giveaway? 

The main thing is to choose the format of the reality show: 

  • Game show: create a bunch of obstacles that players have to conquer. 
  • Family show: a camera crew follows a family or individual around.
  • Dating shows: a person hopes to find love among potential candidates. 

Your format depends on your branding, target audience, and resources. 

When it comes to giveaways, Mr. Beast is the best! His giveaways are so action-packed and filled with twists and turns. The most glorious one was when he bought a subscriber an island!

This video has more than 67 million views and 200K+ comments!

Of course, you may have fewer resources than Mr. Beast, but it’s the best example of a creative and successful giveaway. 

You can make it simple and use what you’re already familiar with. 

For example, you can have a live day-in-the-life video where you showcase the challenges you encounter on a given day. Ask your viewers to help you figure out the various solutions to your challenges. 

Can you ask viewers to pick the best outfit for you (or your baby)? Pick the most creative answers in the comment! 

Now that we’ve gone over some fun and creative ideas for YouTube contests, it’s time to discuss the rules and guidelines.

How to Do a YouTube Giveaway That Gets Results (Step-By-Step)

You’ve got the inspiration and the information; now, it’s time to take action. To have a successful giveaway, you must be clear about your goals.

Step 1: Set Giveaway Goals

What do you want your YouTube giveaway to achieve? Do you want more subscribers? More views on your videos? More engagement on your YouTube channel?

Your goals will determine everything you need to do, from what kind of contest prize to the contest’s mechanics. For example, if you need to get more subscribers, the first entry to enter the contest is to subscribe to your channel.

Step 2: Learn YouTube’s Giveaway Rules

With all those ideas, you may get excited to start buying prizes for your giveaway. But before you do that, make sure to familiarize yourself with YouTube’s guidelines when it comes to contests and giveaways, and here’s a look at what those are:

General Restrictions and Requirements:

  1. You’re solely responsible for your contest.
  2. Your contest on YouTube must comply with all relevant federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations, including U.S. sanctions.
  3. Your contest cannot infringe upon or encourage the infringement of any third-party rights or the participation in any unlawful activity.
  4. You cannot ask the viewer to give all rights for, or transfer the ownership of, their entry to you.
  5. Your contest must be free of charge to enter (don’t forget to check your local lottery laws!).
  6. You and any third-party may not manipulate metrics on the YouTube service to misrepresent genuine viewer engagement with the YouTube service. These metrics include numbers of views, likes, dislikes, or subscribers.
  7. You cannot associate or affiliate YouTube with your contest without YouTube’s prior written consent. This rule prohibits, among other examples, expressly stating or doing anything that suggests that YouTube is involved with or has endorsed your contest in any way.

Your Official Contest Rules:

  1. You must have a set of “Official Rules” which:
    a. include links to the YouTube Community Guidelines and indicate entries that don’t comply will be disqualified.
    b. state all disclosures required by all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, including U.S. sanctions.
    c. are wholly compliant and consistent with the YouTube Terms of Service.
  2. Your contest must be conducted, and all prizes awarded as outlined in your Official Rules.
  3. You’re responsible for your rules and all aspects of your contest administration.
  4. Your rules must clearly state that YouTube is not a sponsor of your contest and require viewers to release YouTube from any liability related to your contest.
  5. You must include a legally compliant privacy notice in your Official Rules. This notice explains how you’ll use any personal data you collect for the contest and adhere to that use.

Make sure your contest:

  • Follows all relevant federal, state, and local laws.
  • Must be free to enter.
  • Must not manipulate metrics on YouTube to misrepresent genuine viewer engagement.

And remember, YouTube always changes its rules, so always check the most updated rules and guidelines about holding contests and giveaways.

Step 3: Set Your Contest Rules

Knowing the goals and the prizes lets you establish the contest rules.

In general, regardless of the type of contest, you need to:

  • Establish a start date and end date.
  • Share who’s eligible to enter. Is the giveaway contest open to international viewers or only to people in your country? Can a person enter more than once and is the a limit to how many entries they can submit?
  • Detail entry and submission requirements.
  • Identify and explain the system you’ll use to validate entries and pick a winner.
  • Disclose how winners will be announced and when they will be notified.

Disclaimers are part of every legal transaction and it’s a smart idea to have one for your giveaway. Please seek legal counsel for a complete and comprehensive disclaimer aligned with your business.

Step 4: Choose Your Reward System and Prize

Decide how you’re going to choose the winners. Do you want to choose the winners at random? Or do you need to set some criteria, such as the most creative answer?

Pick a way that you’ll choose winners and be sure to include the specifics about your process in your giveaway rules.

The next step is to pick the best prize to give away within your budget. The bulk of your budget should go to the prizes but think about other things like…

  • The tools you’re going to use to manage the giveaway
  • Shipping costs if items need to be delivered outside your country
  • Budget for ads and influencers for promoting the giveaway

…and other costs associated with running the contest and awarding the prizes to the winner. Knowing all the costs associated with your giveaway also helps you calculate your ROI (return on investment).

Let’s say you spend $500 to host your contest. After the contest ended, you got a total of 500 comments. That means that you paid $1 per comment.

An image of a ROI, return-on-investment, mathematical formula.
An image of a ROI, return-on-investment, mathematical formula.

Did the comments directly affect your ad revenue? Knowing these numbers can help you improve on your next giveaway video.

What if you’re starting out or can’t afford to spend money on a prize? No sweat. You can still make your YouTube giveaway special and here are 5 options you have:

  • Use Shoutouts: create a YouTube video announcing the winner and share that across your social accounts
  • Send a freebie: courier them a free version of a product or merchandise you have.
  • Offer your time: give the winner a free call and offer to share insights and advice where you can.
  • Leverage your network: collaborate with other creators willing to support you by sharing their time.
  • Get sponsored: find a brand that’s aligned with your channel’s audience and get them to sponsor your prize. Offering to create a YouTube product review contest is a great angle.

Step 5: Choose the Best Tools

The good thing is there are plenty of tools to choose from when it comes to hosting a YouTube giveaway.

Here are the most common ones:

Decide on the mechanics of your giveaway, then look for a tool that offers those features. For example, if you want a referral system, you need to find a tool that offers an easy way to earn entries from referrals. Rafflecopter and Gleam provide an excellent referral system.

If you have an independent video membership site like Uscreen, you’ll get the built-in Giveaway Funnels feature.

With Giveaway Funnels, you can:

  • Give away free access to your paid video offerings.
  • Send automated emails to those who entered the funnel and add them to an email list. 
  • Convert leads into paying subscribers.

Here’s an example of how Uscreen customer, Practice with Clara, uses the Giveaway Funnel feature for her yoga membership.

A simple white and purple webpage for a yoga membership showing an example of a giveaway funnels offer. 8 videos are available to watch for free, in exchange for the user's email address.

She has a dedicated landing page that hosts 8 different videos that she offers viewers to watch in exchange for their email addresses. 

A simple form on a webpage, offering free access to an instructional yoga video in exchange for the user's email address.

Viewers can freely watch any – or all – of the videos that are most exciting for them, and Clara generates relevant leads for her membership.

You and your viewers will have a great experience if you choose the right tools. You can learn more from this video:

Step 6: Create a Kickass Landing Page for Your Giveaway

Your YouTube contest needs a landing page. A separate landing page helps you track the performance of your contest because it’s not buried under all your other content.

An image of BeLive's giveaway campaign and its prizes.

When creating the landing page for your giveaway contest, make sure to:

  • Include an attention-grabbing headline and image.
  • Describe what the prize is and how much it’s worth.
  • Make the entry form easy to fill out.
  • Include widgets of your favorite social media channels for easy sharing.

Anyone who ends up on the page needs to understand immediately what they’ll be getting and how to join. If it’s too complicated, they will leave without taking any action. 

Step 7: Promote Your YouTube Contest

The final step is to promote your YouTube giveaway. Ideally, you want to create a marketing strategy. You spent all that time creating a creative giveaway, so your promotion needs to be just as creative.

You can use email marketing or social media marketing as long as you’ll be able to reach the right target audience for your contest. 

Here’s an example to-do list that you can use as a guide:

Before the Contest:

  • Prepare the landing page.
  • Create promotional graphics for social media platforms.
  • Use hashtags to keep track of the entries outside of YouTube.
  • Put together a list of influencers to reach out to.

During the Contest:

  • Reach out to the influencers on your list.
  • Start Facebook or Google ads.
  • Host a live stream to promote the giveaway.

Step 8: Announce Your Winners

This is the final stretch where all of your hard work pays off. All you need to do next is:

  • Pick the winner.
  • Announce the winner in one of your videos.
  • Or create a special video where the winner makes an appearance.
  • Send a follow-up email to everyone who joined thanking them for participating.

Hosting a YouTube contest or giveaway can sneak up on you with tiny, unexpected tasks. Plot everything in your calendar and to-do list so you’re on top of everything. It’s better to be prepared, so you can focus on the fun!

Wrapping the Giveaway Up

Now, it’s time to wrap this article up, so you can start wrapping the gifts to your lucky YouTube subscribers.

We’ve shared 5 creative YouTube giveaway ideas, but we hope it inspired more! You can always take a popular idea and just add your own special twist to it. More importantly, focus on the experience of the contest entrants!