Every affiliate marketer is faced with many choices before launching each campaign. Those who are only just starting are probably faced with the most difficult decisions. Having no previous experience in choosing the right source, offer, GEOs, or any other component of a campaign can be really stressful. Even though you might find some conflicting information every once in a while, there is one thing that almost everyone in the industry will agree on: sweepstakes are never a bad choice.

What are sweepstakes?
Sweepstakes is an umbrella term for a particular type of offers in which the users are given a chance to win something. The products that can be won range from brand new phones or electronics to shopping or travel vouchers. Sweepstakes can be found under different names due to network-specific naming conventions. The most commonly found names would be surveys and sweeps, leadgen and vouchers.

The offers are characterized by either a single opt-in conversion process (SOI) and rather low payouts or by double opt-in conversion (DOI) process and slightly higher payouts. SOI offers require minimum effort to count as conversion - quite often all the user needs to do is just submit their email and you’ve got yourself a conversion. DOI offers additionally require email confirmation so they are a bit harder to convert as not everyone who starts the registration process is willing to complete it.

As a complete beginner we highly recommend that you stick with single opt-ins.

Why are sweepstakes always working?
Sweepstakes are, without a doubt, the most universal vertical. They’re not dependent on the economic situation and never get affected by the ongoing world-scale events. People always want free stuff if you ask them, especially if there’s no entrance fee and the only thing they have to do is to provide an email and some additional information.

Sweepstakes are also the vertical most commonly recommended to newbies as they have a low cost of entry and tend to convert very well. As the click flow for that kind of offer is very simple and straightforward the conversions are easy to get, i.e. they don’t cost a lot of money and don’t require the highest quality of traffic.

Sweepstakes work on both mobile and desktop traffic and practically in any GEO. They require minimum budget and landing pages are usually provided with the offer which makes them perfect for those who are just starting. If you choose to run them with pop traffic, you won’t have to think about creatives at all.

What do Sweepstakes look like?
The landing pages might come in many forms but most of them will have one simple purpose - to collect some information. Among the most popular formats are quizzes and spin wheels, but you can find simpler landers almost just as often. Here are some classic examples:


(click to enlarge)​

Where to run Sweeps?
Sweepstakes work best in tier 2 & 3 GEOs. Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia countries are particularly recommended when starting out. It’s not quite possible to single out the best performing countries because that is a variable that changes significantly on a weekly or even daily basis.

In order to get the freshest data message your traffic source reps and ask for the best performing GEOs for sweeps. You can also look for some tips in the community (hint: Zeropark’s Top Verticals and Geos for Push / Pop & Redirect Right Now).

If you’re wondering what are the best ad formats for this vertical then you might be happy to hear that sweepstakes work almost equally well with all types of traffic. Push seems to have a slight advantage, however.

There are no bad choices here, but we can tell you from experience that Android and iPhone on mobile push have been slightly but surely leading the way for quite a while now.

Bidding and Optimization Strategies
Since surveys and sweeps are an extremely saturated vertical, it’s highly recommended that you bid slightly above the suggested bid, e.g.: if the recommended bid is $0,002 you should set a bid of $0,0025.

Additionally, you should pay close attention to your win ratio - if you’re winning below 70%-90% of traffic then it means you are not getting the optimal volume. Increase the amount of traffic by upping the bids and access better-converting placements.

The best way to optimize your sweepstakes campaigns is to focus on browsers and OS versions. This is where the difference in performance should start to be visible the soonest after launching your campaign.

Cut the browsers and OS versions that don’t bring any conversions within 2-3 days after launching the campaign. Keep monitoring the rest and as a next step cut also those that bring few conversions but have the highest spend.

What you should not do while beginning the optimization process is cutting hours or days (day-parting). This is only advisable once you’ve run your campaign for at least a month. Making that choice too soon can result in unnecessarily limiting the volume of traffic without increasing the potential for profits.

Also, please keep in mind that it’s generally recommended to let the campaign run for 3-4 day before starting any optimization.

Tips & Recommendations
  • Start with a RON campaign. Traffic sources offer various targeting options such as Source/Target, Multi-Geo, Keyword and RON. Run-of-network (RON) campaigns allow you to get all traffic coming from a selected GEO. Such broad targeting gives you the possibility to check the most traffic. That way you can identify the placements that work perfectly for your campaign. When you’re starting with a ready made whitelist you might spend a little less money testing but you might miss out on sources that would otherwise significantly raise your profits. Also, there is no better way of learning affiliate marketing than by running and optimizing RON campaigns.

  • Make sure the lander matches the offer. If you have your lander from the affiliate network then most likely it was chosen specifically for the offer. However, if you took the lander from the community or a spytool then you should check whether it actually fits your offer. Don’t make the mistake of combining a sweepstake iPhone 11 lander with a Walmart voucher offer. Also, if your offer page is white and blue with big black letters it would be quite unwise to choose a colorful lander with yellow letters and elaborate patterns. Matching style across the whole funnel makes your offer look more professional.

  • Choose the right offers. If your campaign seems to be getting suspiciously little conversions and you think you’ve done everything you could to keep it afloat, maybe it’s time to look at the offer. Is the prize something that you’d like to win? Because if you’re sceptical about it then so will be the internet users looking at your ad. Classic prizes such as newest smartphones or vouchers to popular shops should be your go to choice. If the prize is really bizarre it might only appeal to a very small group of people so running toilet paper sweepstakes in the times of a world pandemic might not bring you as many conversions as you would hope for…

  • Make sure to follow campaign guidelines. Watch out for the offer and traffic source restrictions! Using the logos of popular brands is not often allowed. Disobeying the campaign guidelines is one of the most common reasons for campaign rejections. Don’t forget to make sure that your choice of GEO and device targeting is allowed for the offer you chose. If you overlook that detail you might not be eligible for a payout.
We hope the information we provided can help you decide what will be the vertical of your first campaign. As you can see sweepstakes are not that complicated. If you have any questions we’d be happy to help you out so ask away whenever you need to!