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March 10, 2014

Posted by: Kevin Homer


Contest vs. Sweepstakes - What's the Difference?

This post was updated November 18, 2019

Many years ago, we developed a self-managed Facebook sweepstakes application called Fans With Benefits. In talking with Fans With Benefits customers, users, and friends, one pattern I’ve seen is that everyone uses the terms “sweepstakes” and “contest” interchangeably.


This frequently leads to the question: What IS the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes?


A sweepstakes is when a winner is selected randomly by chance. Nothing is required when entering a sweepstakes – there’s no entry fee (that would be a lottery), no purchase required, you’re not answering a question, sending in a picture, writing an essay, etc. It’s really that simple.


A contest has a level of skill or requirement associated with it. Send us a picture, sing us a song, give us the best joke, provide the best answer. Contests may require a purchase prior to entering, or there may be an entry fee required to participate. While there is a level of effort required to enter a contest, you typically have more control of the final outcome.


Shameless plug: While Fans With Benefits is no longer being offered, we are still able to use that core programming to develop custom contests, sweepstakes, and polls.. With incentivized share tools, entrants will share your sweepstakes with their networks and help exponentially grow our online audience. It provides a back-end data analytics dashboard that provides some great statistical analysis that can be integrated with your marketing strategy


Has your business found success running a sweepstakes or contest on its Facebook page? We'd love to hear your story. 

Tell us what you think!