Reader's Digest looks to improve online sweepstakes ROI

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Reader's Digest looks to improve online sweepstakes ROI
Reader's Digest looks to improve online sweepstakes ROI

To clean up the online sweepstakes space by streamlining out clutter and scammers, the Reader's Digest Association (RDA) will launch a website to serve as a one-stop sweepstakes shop. The Prize Digest website has been in beta since May 7, but its official launch in early July will be the opening salvo in the company's bid to stir up an online sweepstakes frenzy.

"We want to make new sweepstakes players. People who never thought of themselves as sweepers, we want them to come to this [website] and to make that type of experience fun for them," says Renee Jordan, VP of RDA International Digital.

She says that while RDA is not the first company to digitally curate a longtime offline marketing method, it hopes to seed similar success on the web.

"People who have never clipped a coupon now are members of Groupon or LivingSocial," says Jordan. "This [digital] experience has brought a different demographic and different fun level to the marketing tactic, and that's what we see for sweepstakes with Prize Digest."

She adds that consumers can be suspicious of online sweepstakes, often fearing the incentivized information-collection tool to be a scam (and sometimes rightfully so). Jordan adds that aligning the Reader's Digest brand with sweepstakes will serve as a seal of approval.

Howard Tiersky, CEO of digital agency Moving Interactive, which partnered with RDA on the site, echoes Jordan's assertion.

"It's a certain brand trust," he says.

What RDA looks to deliver sweepstakes marketers is the measurable quality of those consumers.

"Online sweepstakes marketing is much more engaging than the direct mail pieces that we would give or an email blast, because it's one-to-one versus one-to-many. I think 25% of people send the sweepstakes notices along, so the viral component in the online world is not even possible [with direct mail sweepstakes]," says Jordan.

With the official launch of Prize Digest next month, RDA will add a new member profile form that will solicit consumers' interests to personalize the experience.

"We'll be able to ask more questions about what kind of sweepstakes do [consumers] want and we can make inferences," says Jordan. "If someone says, 'a year's worth of baby clothes,' then we know it's a parent household and we can target marketers' efforts and sweeps to them."

The company will also roll out a one-click Express Entry process. Unlike the current entry method, which takes consumers to the sweepstakes marketers' site, this quicker process will keep consumers within the site and allow advertisers to serve post-entry promotions, as well as enable RDA to better track behavior.

“We're sitting on a wealth of information about how marketers are using sweepstakes: what kind of offers, what kind of prizing, how they structure them, whether there's one grand prize or multiple grand prizes, odds of winning, how many emails are sent as follow-ups," says Jordan. "It's really an analytical study of sweepstakes marketing online.”

Asked if RDA will share that market research with participating marketers, Jordan says the company will.

"It would help other marketers do better," she says. One other gem of insight Jordan offered: Consumers who enter sweepstakes prefer cash prizes.

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