Using the Prizing Triangle to Drive Contest Usage

At SQWAD we run a ton of mobile contests for our teams and organizations, so we’ve seen what works and doesn’t when driving people to play.

As we looked at our results we began to see a huge pattern that I’m excited to share with you all today. It mainly revolves around a triangle we’ve created we call the Prizing Triangle.

But first, our biggest insight…

Fans play to win AMAZING prizes

You can try and create the most engaging game or greatest experience (which is all massively important). But what we’ve found is fans play to win things over almost all other motivations.

We’ve seen this through different teams and the prizes they offer. Without fail when a BIG AMAZING prize is offered…more fans play.

This big amazing prize doesn’t have to cost you a lot. It could be field access or watching warm-ups from the bench, but you want to offer a HUGE prize if you want fans to play.

Fans don’t play for your 20% off sponsor coupons

As much as you would like to believe that the free oil change will drive users…it won’t.

I use Lottery scratch cards as an example here. On the lottery scratch card, they don’t say “You could win $1 or $2!” because the investment of your money is not worth it.

The lottery card has plastered in HUGE font “YOU COULD WIN $10,000”. Because even though it is unlikely…it is worth the money to try and win.

The same goes for your contests, but the investment is the fan’s time.

Is an oil change worth the fan’s time to pull out their phone & play? Maybe, if you need they need an oil change.

But an oil change today is about $15…is that necessary worth the fans time to play? Most likely not.

But does that mean I can’t give away my sponsor prizes?

No, you just have to be strategic about it. Which is why we created the Prizing Triangle.

This is the Prizing Triangle

The Prizing Triangle is the idea that 99% of your fans win the awesome sponsor prizes, but less than 1% win the HUGE AMAZING PRIZE.

It seems simple, but it is powerful because it adds depth to your contest. It gives you the $1 prize to give you feel that you’ve won like the lottery ticket, but still the dream of winning the $10,000

When creating your contests you should tier the prizes to give them depth. You could even have everyone win a GIF as an easy prize…but you want to create a sense of winning

Based on the Prizing Triangle, how should I market the contest?

You should market the huge amazing prize…and I’ll bring back up the lottery scratcher example.

You don’t buy a scratcher to win the $1, you play to win the $10,000. Same with casino slots.

So when marketing the contest, focus solely on the HUGE AMAZING PRIZE. You only have seconds to convince your fans to pull out their phones and play…don’t waste it on the smaller prizes.

Remember, you are marketing to the fan to take the TIME (Which is more valuable today than ever) to play. You have to make the payoff of that worth the time.


The Magic on this that we at SQWAD have found with our contests is that although you are not marketing the sponsor prize…fans will redeem them at a higher rate (in fact much higher).

WHY? Because they are winning that prize. They have earned it with their time.

We’ve found that this is a key piece to why digital prizing works over your typical “Score 4 goals & win” or “Lucky row wins” contests. Let me explain.

Although you didn’t win the big prize, you’ve earned a prize with your hard taken time. You have EARNED that free oil change.

And because you have earned it…you don’t want to waste it.

This is why the Prizing Triangle works…you win the Sponsor prize and feel like you’ve earned it, so you want to redeem it.

This strategy works, and we have some numbers to back it

When our teams employed the Prizing Triangle VS. just offering the sponsor coupon, not only did it drive users at a rate of 2X…the amount that used the coupon or reward at the sponsor’s location rose by 3X.

I want to take a second here and stop on the power of this. Just by employing the prizing triangle (which is really simple), you can 3X the number of people spending dollars at your sponsor location.

If that isn’t incentive enough…I’m not sure what is.

This is probably the most powerful thing you can show a sponsor. That you are actually driving dollars to their brand that is trackable.

All this is just from switching up your prizing strategy.

The Takeaway

First, if you are still running Lucky Row contests…I would toss them. They are paper-based, old school, and a one-shot at connecting them to your sponsor. You will have much more success in participation.

Second, if you are running digital contests…use the Prizing Triangle. You will see higher usage..and more importantly, drive more dollars to your sponsors…which allows you to increase your package revenue.

Make the change today and test it out. If you have any questions comment on this article and I’d be happy to connect and answer them.



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