Here at Qualifio’s, we see hundreds of contests of various sorts being created each day. And we know what can happen when your contest has a loophole: you are invaded with bots and automation tricks, or people are cheating in a number of different ways. For example, if you’re running a contest that involves votes, a mass voting exchange can occur through dedicated online groups. Basically, someone offers to vote for someone else in a contest in exchange for a vote for themselves in another contest.

Now you may be wondering, what’s the harm? Is cheating really that bad? After all, cheaters are participants too. They bring traffic to your contest, increase the number of pageviews on your website etc.

Why you should care

Unsurprisingly, people want to win prizes and stuff. Somehow that’s okay: entrants exchange their contact details and other quality information for the possibility of winning. However, they can also be tempted to cheat. And some of them have found methods for that. But the truth is, it can hurt your business. Here’s how cheaters can potentially have a negative impact on your campaigns:

1. They clog your CRM

You can get a larger database, but a big part of it is going to be meaningless. The point is not so much to increase the size of your database, but rather to collect profiles that you will eventually be able to turn into leads and clients. Quality over quantity, in short. Yet those who are not real persons (or at least, those who are not really interested in the ambit of your contest) are of no benefit to you.

Furthermore, cheaters can also ruin your retargeting strategy with useless data. Even worse, it can interfere with the creation of Facebook Lookalike Audiences based on these collected profiles. You will be targeting people who are not interested in your products or your brand. Bottom line: you will be wasting your money.

2. They don’t help you go viral

So yes, cheaters help you grow your audience. That sounds like a good thing but in reality, all new members are not genuine. That can be a problem for you, especially on platforms such as Facebook, where recent algorithm changes made it harder to get a consistent organic reach. Cheaters actually pollute your fan base, so your audience gets bigger, but less qualitative. Plus, cheaters are less likely to interact with your content and often won’t share your campaign with their friends because well, they don’t care.

3. They distort your statistics

The same way cheaters ruin your CRM, they skew your statistics. “Fake” entries mess with your stats on multiple levels, such as:

  • Internet behaviour: cheaters don’t browse through other pages of your website because they are not interested in what you have to say, so that your conversion rates will be distorted too;
  • Demographics: let’s say you are targeting men between 25 and 35, but cheaters in your campaign are mostly women between 40 and 50… That would ruin the statistics on your target audience. Yet you might make strategic decisions based on these, so it might have long-term negative consequences.

The good news is…

You can protect your campaign from cheaters

Make no mistake, cheaters know what they’re doing. Over the years, we have developed countermeasures and strategies to help you prevent cheating in your online contests.

Contest rules are your number one tool if you are to avoid cheaters in your competitions. First and foremost, it must be clearly stated that you can ban any participants as of right if you have the slightest suspicion of cheating. Then, it must allow the organisers to ask for the winner’s ID in order to prove that it matches the data provided during participation.

Contest rules are an important element of your campaigns, and we often get questions from our users on the topic. Need advice or recommendations? Contact our friends at Lex4U!