The Most Flexible Prize Everyone Wants To Win

So you want to give away gift cards as a prize for your sweepstakes or contest - that’s a great idea! Gift cards are a user friendly, flexible way to reward users and winners of digital promotions. With thousands of gift card options across retailers and denominations, they can easily fit into your prize strategy plan for your promotion.

Not only are they a flexible option for winners, they allow for a quick and streamlined prize fulfillment process from start to finish. Available in both physical and digital form, card fulfillment can fit into almost any prize pool as a way to enable your brand to award more prizes and attract more users.

Consider Your Target Audience

The biggest consideration when it comes to prize strategy is “what prize is going to create the largest incentive for my target audience.” Even the biggest, most expensive prizes will fail to bring in genuine engagement if it is not the right prize for a target audience.

With gift cards, there are a few broad categories containing gift card options:

  • Retailer-Specific Gift Cards - these refer to cards from specific retailers that can only be used at those specific retailers. For example, a GAP gift card would have to be used at a GAP online or in-store location. These are best used when you know your winners will have an interest in shopping at select retailers.
  • “Box Store” Gift Cards - Similar to retailer-specific, these cards can only be used at a single retailer. However, the appeal of these options (like Amazon gift cards) is that the retailer end-point offers a wide variety of products. These are best used as a reward for awareness campaigns targeted at a wide audience of users within and outside of your core demograpic.
  • Pre-Paid Debit Cards - Most commonly in the form of a Visa card, pre-paid debit cards give winners the most flexibility on where they use their prize. These are best used for high-value prizes to allow winners the most freedom in spending.

Digital vs. Physical Gift Cards - Know the Difference

When your campaign promotes winning a gift card, selected winners have expectations when it comes to receiving their prize. There are two options - physical and digital prize fulfillment. At their core, they serve the same function - to award a flexible cash-alternative prize, but here are a few key considerations for sending winners their gift card prize.

[caption id="attachment_20404" align="alignright" width="300"] Know the difference and benefits between digital and physical gift card options.[/caption]

The biggest difference between digital and physical cards are the associated costs to complete the fulfillment of physical prizes. Not only do physical gift cards have to be shipped to winners, they often have a slightly higher purchasing fee associated with the printing and issuance of the physical card.

On the flip-side, while physical gift cards will incur incremental fees, they have a flexible advantage over digital cards as they can be used both in-store and online. Most retailers allow you to redeem your physical gift card in addition to payments made with a debit or credit card. Digital card redemption is typically limited to online spending only.

Other “Cash Back” Prize Options

It is true that gift cards are a historically great prize for promotions, but there are other great alternatives for “cash back” type prizes.

For high-value prizes, checks are a tried and true fulfillment method. We can author and issue checks directly to your prize winners and send them out at the conclusion of the promotion. Considered the most flexible option for fulfillment, checks directly award prize money, allowing the funds to be used in any way the winner desires.

Digital payment of prize money via Venmo and/or PayPal is becoming an increasingly popular prize fulfillment method. With a quick and simple set up, Venmo and PayPal Payouts are a seamless way to deliver prize cash of any denomination to winners - large or small.


To wrap things up, gift cards make a great prize for almost every digital promotion. Award hundreds of low-value gift cards as a part of a program that incentivizes completing surveys, or as a part of a rewards program that can be claimed as users earn points.

At Realtime Media, we offer more than just prize fulfillment services. Our experienced team of promotions experts provide flexible, full-service support for digital promotions across development, project management, legal administration & compliance, and fulfillment management.

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