As a brand, you’re always looking for more data. Information on your target audience’s demographics, habits and preferences informs everything from product design to marketing strategy and sales structure. But the richest, most useful data is customized to your company and not easily obtained. That’s where sweepstakes come in.

Digital marketing promotions like sweepstakes and instant win games offer a mutually beneficial exchange. Customers receive the opportunity to win an exciting, relevant prize in exchange for their time and information. Companies gain actionable first party data and the chance to build brand engagement and loyalty for the price of a promotion.

This exchange is especially important as consumers show a greater hesitancy to share their data. Recent research by KPMG found that 86 percent of respondents felt a growing concern about their data privacy, and 68 percent expressed fears about the amount of data being collected. Given this caution, and the move away from buying and selling third party data, it’s increasingly up to brands to collect first party data and make it worthwhile for their consumers.


Basic demographic information is useful, but the best — and most unique — data relates directly to your products without becoming too personal. Think menu preferences for a restaurant, hair type and texture for a hair products company or information on vacation styles for a cruise line. 

You’ll want the questions to be relatively short and easy to answer. For example, an eyewear company might ask how often customers purchase new glasses, what color their glasses are, and if they wear sunglasses. This simple quiz could generate segmented marketing lists on which customers are wearing expired lenses, the style of products they might like and if they need sunglasses.


There’s a difference between contests and sweepstakes, and you’ll want to choose a sweepstakes promotion if your goal is first party data collection. Contests are based on skill and create deep engagement by asking users to create a specific work, such as a photo, to enter. Because contests already require extra effort, consumers are less interested in answering additional profiling questions.

To maximize the number of entrants — and the data you can gain — we recommend creating as many opportunities to win as possible through an instant win game or a sweepstakes with a wide variety of prizes. The more chances to win, the more entrants you’ll receive.

Similarly, we counsel clients to select prizes that feel attainable. A million-dollar check or trip around the world may generate a lot of buzz but it will also create a barrier to entry as users assume they’ll never win. But offering several hundred prizes, even as simple as low-value gift cards, make winning — and, therefore, entering — more likely.


You should be prepared for legal compliance with the data requirements for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and similar bills that are currently being considered by nearly 15 other states. Through the CCPA protections, users can contact a company directly and ask for their data to be deleted.

As part of Realtime Media’s sweepstakes legal administration services, we handle these requests while the promotion is live and then set up a system for clients to easily remove the requested data on their own after it ends.

As a sweepstakes management company, we’ll also help you navigate the varying sweepstakes and contest laws by state and ensure the promotion is GDPR-compliant for international registrants.

Users are well aware of the information they’re giving brands when they check out, sign up for a discount code or enter a sweepstakes. While they’re increasingly cautious about their data privacy, they are also incentivized to offer a few pieces of information in exchange for that product, discount or prize.

The excitement of a sweepstakes and the types of prizes offered allow brands to gather more — and better — types of data than usual. With a strategically designed promotion, users will take a few seconds to give you rich, customized first-party data in exchange for the chance to win.