How to do a YouTube giveaway — step-by-step guide [2024]

If you're a business, influencer or community, hosting a YouTube giveaway is an excellent way of bringing awareness to your channel; whilst simultaneously giving back to your loyal supporters.

However, like most marketing activities, knowing how to best conduct a giveaway on YouTube requires a certain level of understanding, and failure to put in the required amount of time and research can significantly impact the outcome. For this reason, understanding why YouTube giveaways are worth pursuing, and how to best leverage the platform is crucial for ensuring that you get the most out of this marketing pursuit.

This article will therefore seek to save you a great deal of time by acting as your step-by-step guide on how to best go about a YouTube giveaway. By the time you are done reading, you'll have all the necessary insight and tools in which to conduct your giveaway with confidence.

Let's get right to it!

What is a YouTube giveaway?

YouTube giveaway

Put simply, a YouTube giveaway can be seen as a multipurpose marketing tool that can be used to both engage with an existing community, attract others into subscribing to a YouTube channel, or doing something on its behalf. 

Thanks to the platform's massive reach and highly engaging user-experience (UX), YouTube giveaways have become a popular marketing activity over the past few years, with businesses and creators from various industries and niches using them to engage with their audience in a more personal way.

These giveaways (or contests) can range from small prizes like branded merchandise or gift cards, to more significant rewards like high-end gadgets or holidays; to name a few. While prizes are often related to the business or creator's niche, this isn't a rule of thumb, and can include other material or non-material prizes that have a high-level of appeal. 

For more insight on some creative contest prize ideas, we have compiled a great list of 15 creative contest prize ideas.

Why host a giveaway on YouTube?

Giveaway for youtube

Now you know what a YouTube giveaway is and what it entails, you may already see the value in hosting a giveaway on the platform. But in case you are still in two minds, or need further insight, below are a few reasons why you might want to consider throwing one:

Audience size

YouTube is the world's second largest search engine, with billions of users using the platform for entertainment or research purposes. If your value-proposition or niche appeals to a wide range of people, then there is a lot of potential for growing a large and vibrant community, especially given YouTube's powerful algorithm.

The platform's algorithm is designed to bring attention to engaging and popular content, so depending upon the appeal and engagement of your giveaway, your video is more likely to be recommended to users who are interested in similar content. This in turn leads to more visibility for your channel.

Highly engaging

In addition to YouTube's large user base, the platform allows businesses and creators to hold viewers' attention more effectively than any other type of media. 

According to a study by HubSpot, 96% of marketers see video as an important part of their marketing strategy, with 61% saying audience engagement matters most to them. For this reason, hosting a giveaway on YouTube allows you to leverage the full power of video.

So when you create a video announcement for your giveaway, you can explain the rules of the contest, showcase your prizes, and generate anticipation that no other media type can do to the same degree. It is this added visual aspect that adds an additional layer of excitement, and makes your giveaway more memorable.

Collaboration potential

Another advantage of hosting a giveaway using a YouTube video is collaboration opportunities that it creates.

Due to YouTube having millions of unique channels that tap into different niches, the platform thrives on collaboration and community building. So by partnering with other businesses or influencers for your giveaway, you can tap into a unique audience in order to expand your reach further. Moreover, collaborations not only expose your channel to new viewers, but also add credibility and authenticity to your giveaway. 

Easy to digest

Last but not least, YouTube giveaways are highly recommended for how easy to digest they are. 

When a business giveaway (for example) is conducted on a less visual social media platform, although a good level of buzz can still be created, a giveaway may be harder to digest for some people; especially if the rules are lengthy. But with video on the other hand, you have the ability to make instructions more concise and self-explanatory. Given the superior engagement of a YouTube video, audience attention also becomes much greater, meaning that any information presented is more likely to be consumed.

Now you know what a YouTube giveaway is, and why you can benefit from hosting one on the platform, you may be in a position to start one of your own. If so, below is a list of the steps you should take in order to maximize your giveaway.

Step 1: Setting YouTube giveaway goals

YouTube giveaway goals

Before launching your YouTube giveaway, it is fundamental to clearly define your objectives. Setting clear goals will ensure that your giveaway strategy aligns with your overall YouTube marketing strategy, and that the time and investment you put into this marketing activity yields the desired results.

Here are a few things to consider:

Defining clear objectives

When defining your objectives, it helps to ask yourself some important questions like, what is your main objective for conducting a YouTube giveaway? Are you aiming to grow your subscriber base, enhance engagement, or raise awareness? By defining your goals, you can structure your giveaway in a way that aligns with your objectives; therefore improving the likelihood of success. 

For example, if your goal is to increase subscribers, it may be effective to focus on encouraging participants to subscribe to your channel as an entry requirement. In doing so, you can attract subscribers who have a genuine interest in your content, which will boost the potential for building a loyal audience. 

Alternatively, if boosting engagement is what you're after you could consider incorporating actions like liking, commenting on or sharing your videos as prerequisites for entry. This approach not only increases engagement on your channel, but also generates excitement and visibility for your content.

Aligning giveaway goals with channel strategy

Make sure that the objectives of your YouTube giveaway align with the strategy of your channel. For instance, if you create beauty content, offering makeup products as prizes can be a great way to attract your intended audience whilst maintaining a consistent brand. The same could be said for a channel that is centered around gaming, and which is offering gaming accessories or in game currency as prizes can be a way to capture the attention of your viewers. 

By aligning the theme and prizes of your giveaway with the focus of your channel, you increase the chances of getting participants who are genuinely interested in your content; whilst also catering for your existing subscribers. 

Step 2: Navigating YouTube rules and regulations

YouTube contest policies

The second step that is needed to ensure your giveaway is a success is to get properly acquainted with the contest policies and guidelines set by YouTube. Failure to do so can lead to penalties, or even the suspension of your account. 

Here are a few important factors to take into account:

YouTube contest policies and compliance

YouTube has guidelines in place to ensure fair and transparent contests on its platform. Familiarize yourself with these policies and make sure your giveaway adheres to them.

Here are some of the main considerations to be aware of:

  • Ensure your giveaway complies with YouTube's guidelines, which include stating that YouTube does not sponsor your giveaway and releasing YouTube from any liability associated with your contest​​.
  • Avoid practices that may be considered as fake engagement, such as requiring excessive likes, comments, or subscriptions, which can damage your channel's reputation and breach YouTube's policies​​.
  • Make sure that your giveaway is free to enter. Do not ask participants to make a purchase or pay any form of entry fee as this could categorize your giveaway as a lottery, which is illegal in some jurisdictions​​.

For the complete policy and guideline list, click here

Step 3: Selecting the perfect prize

Best giveaway prizes

Choosing the perfect prize can make all the difference when it comes to generating excitement for your giveaway, which in turn can attract participants to join in. It can therefore be argued that this is one of the most important aspects of a successful giveaway, as put simply, there is no contest without motivating people to take part.

So when you are thinking on what to choose as a prize, you should keep the following things in mind:

Prize ideas for different audiences

The first thing you should acknowledge is that your audience will most likely be made up of different demographics. For this reason, you may find that some people will be more excited about certain prizes compared to others, and this includes things like tech appliances, fashion accessories, or even skills mentorship? Therefore, you should find ways in which to determine what demographic most of your audience falls into, or if there is a prize idea that will resonate with more than one subsection. 

Balancing appeal and practicality

While offering highly valuable prizes is sure to attract a lot of attention, it's still important to strike a balance between appeal and practicality. What this means is that a prize not only should be in line with your channel's brand, but it should also be something that can realistically be delivered to a winner in a reasonable amount of time.

For example, using an expensive car as a contest prize will of course turn many heads, but due to it being a large object, this may cause a lot of inconveniences if the dealership was in say the US, and the giveaway winner lived in Saudi Arabia.

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Step 4: Choosing the right type of YouTube giveaway

Talent contest

The next step requires careful attention as there are countless YouTube giveaway formats and variations, and not everyone is suitable for your needs. Deliberating which one to choose can at times be a bit overwhelming, so below are a few format ideas to help: 

Subscriber-based giveaways

This format is simple yet effective as it focuses on just one target demographic — your subscribers. To participate, people must be subscribed to your channel, which can lead to an increase in your subscriber count and enhance the sense of community among your audience.

But however you do this, be sure to keep it in line with YouTube's contest policies that were highlighted earlier in the article. 

Comment-to-win and other formats

Another popular giveaway format is ensuring that participants leave a comment under a specified video in order to be eligible for your giveaway. What this does is it encourages engagement and interaction, as more often than now, people commenting will often voice their thoughts and opinions, or suggestions related to the video's content. 

To ensure that your giveaway is fair and transparent, utilizing tools like a YouTube comment picker for random selections is recommended. This approach not only maintains the integrity of the giveaway, but also simplifies the process of choosing a winner among potentially thousands of participants. 

Talent contest

Lastly, hosting a talent contest is one of the most engaging formats for doing a giveaway. The reason why is because it taps into people's innate thirst for attention and admiration. By hosting a competition where viewers are invited to showcase their skills (whether it be making a video, creating a piece of art, or doing a physical activity), you are giving a platform for community members to shine.

This type of giveaway format achieves one of two things (or both):

  • Ensures that your community feels respected and valued, as you are giving up what would normally be your screen time so they can express themselves.
  • Generates a lot of communal buzz due to fellow community members competing against one another for a sought after prize. 

Step 5: Crafting your giveaway rules and guidelines

YouTube giveaway rules

Once you've chosen the type of giveaway and prizes, it's time to craft the rules and guidelines that participants must follow.

Creating clear and fair guidelines

When you draft the rules for your giveaway, you should keep clarity and fairness in mind. This means you should never hide anything, and should instead clearly state how a person can become eligible for the giveaway, entry methods, the duration of the event, and how winners get selected. In doing so, you will ensure the likelihood of having a smooth and transparent event. 

If you are still not so sure, feel free to review YouTube's guidelines (further above) to ensure compliance.

Step 6: Streamlining & promoting your giveaway

Promote giveaway

Now that you've done most of the groundwork, it's almost time to execute your YouTube giveaway! But before you do, it's important to know how to best streamline your contest operations, and promote it just before. 

Choosing a giveaway software

Traditionally, running YouTube giveaways has been a manual process, where an employee (usually a marketing or social media manager) would have to do everything from start to finish; including having to check whether participants did everything required to be eligible for the giveaway. This, however, would take a significant amount of time, and inaccuracies would often happen due to the sheer amount of participants.

The good news is that there are now giveaway and contest platforms that can seamlessly allow participants to enter; whether through comments, subscribing, or other methods. So not only do these tools make the process much more manageable and easy to track for those hosting the giveaway,  but they also make the selection process fair and randomized. So if your giveaway requires subscribers to comment, for example, then most of these contest platforms will have a YouTube random comment picker embedded which you can easily use. 

If you see the appeal in using one for your own giveaway, feel free to check out Tropee

Promoting your giveaway in advance

Last but not least, if you want to ensure that you get a sizable turnout, then it is fundamental that you promote your giveaway, days or weeks in advance. This is to ensure that willing participants not only know about the giveaway, but are available to partake by setting time aside.

There are two ways to go about this, and it is strongly advised to employ both approaches.

Firstly, be sure to make a promotional announcement video on your YouTube channel, which clearly states what the giveaway is, when it is happening, and how to enter. This is primarily so your existing YouTube subscribers (your foundation) can be made aware through a notification indicating that your channel has released a new video.

The second recommended step is to promote your giveaway (days or weeks in advance) by posting a promotional post or video on all your social media channels, and which advertises your giveaway in a highly engaging manner. Regardless of what social media platforms you use, all of your posts should clearly state the guidelines for eligibility, the activity rules, and the start and finish date. What's more, you can kill two birds with one stone by using the video you made to get the attention of your existing YouTube subscribers, and simply pasting the video URL onto your other social media platforms. But make sure you have accompanying instructional text alongside your video.  


And there you have it! You've successfully gone through all the required steps needed to run a YouTube giveaway. But remember, although this step-by-step guide has provided you with invaluable information, the outcome of your giveaway still relies upon how you execute these steps. So be sure to go above and beyond when it comes to engaging with participants, announcing winners promptly, and delivering the prizes as advertised. 

If you do this right, not only will you gain your existing community's appreciation, but you will also be able to significantly grow your channel with new subscribers, and foster a real sense of community. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Best of luck with your giveaway!